The Australian social imaginary, the way that ‘people imagine their social existence … and the deeper normative notions and images that underlie … [their] expectations’, to use Charles Taylor’s definition, might well be in the process of some adjustment. By the time these words are in print, Mary McKillop, born in Fitzroy, Victoria, will have joined the company of those whose virtue has been proved by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. She will then join the litany of those in whose name the church will seek intercession. Sadly, the litany no longer includes St Christopher, who, as it turns out, is an unlucky saint after all: he has been found to be entirely imaginary. In spite of this fall from grace, his statue, bearing the infant Christ on his shoulder, still adorns many a home, and no doubt many churches too. If this all sounds rather medieval, that’s because in many ways it is. In some aspects it is even older.
Details / PDF:
The full-text PDF of this article can be purchased from Informit.