laundrystories 225Down through the centuries the Christian community has always tried to keep the image of Jesus present in the community where it tries to live out the great command to love God and to love the neighbour. There are vastly different times and places where Christians try to follow this command. The basics are always the same. The details differ. But there is always the ongoing effort to make Jesus real in our situation and time.

Laundry Stories does just this, situating the Jesus story in the life and times of two Broome women, Cissy Djiagween and Mary Anne McKenzie. Their retelling of the Gospel is immediate, fresh and relevant.

The reader will be reminded of the work that has been done in South America, where people had read the Gospels and tried to see how Jesus meets them in their own situation. The phenomenon of the Basic Christian Community depends very much on the people’s ownership of the Gospel.

At a time in history when it is a struggle to keep Jesus as the guiding light in our own lives and the lives of the communities in which we live, many people of faith wonder about the most effective way in which we can replicate these endeavours of the Basic Christian Communities of South America. In Broome it was a great thrill to find out that this process had already started in such a small but significant way in the laundry at the John of God convent.

Cover photograph: Laundry, Beagle Bay, 1967, courtesy Australian Pallottine Photo Archives

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1999 Spectrum Publications