Katharine Massam's A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia (ANU Press, 2020) is the first book detailing the Benedictine women who worked at New Norcia, examining their life in the Western Australian mission town. From the founding of a grand school intended for ‘nativas’, through to their house in the Kimberley-region, and the recruiting via a network of villages near Burgos in the north of Spain, this is a complex international history. A Bridge Between gathers a powerful, fragmented story from the margins of the archive, recalling the Aboriginal women who joined the community in the 1950s and the compelling reunion of missionaries and former students in 2001. By tracing the all-but-forgotten story of the community of Benedictine women who were central to the experience of the mission for many Aboriginal families in the twentieth century, this book lays a foundation for further work.
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