The Australian Mother Teresa of Southern India
The late Sister Mary Theodore may not be well known in her home country of Australia but she is considered the Mother Teresa of Southern India by many people in India who witnessed her work with children with disabilities.
Sister Mary Theodore’s inspirational work is the basis of a newly released book, God’s Donkey, Sister Mary Theodore and the story of Mithra, written by Associate Professor Peter Gale, Senior Lecturer at UniSA’s David Unaipon College of Indigenous Education and Research.
Sister Mary Theodore started one of the first homes for children – Mithra – in India in 1977 and was also a founding leader of the Special Olympics in India.
“Sister Mary Theodore was an inspiration to many and I was inspired by her vision and her passion from the first time we met in 1983 and I was so privileged to have been able to become a close friend over the next 30 years,” Assoc Prof Gale says.
“It has been such a joy to have also been able to write a book on such a humble and gracious Australian who has achieved so much through her dedication, love and faith. I hope that many more will be inspired through her story.
“The life of Sister Mary Theodore and the stories throughout this book highlight the special relationship that has developed between India and Australia through her life and her 61 years in India, and through her care of challenged children in Chennai.
“This is a story of connections between Australia and India, and in particular, that of the many thousands of visitors, volunteers and supporters in Australia. Many Australians were inspired by Sister Mary Theodore and came as volunteers or visitors at the Mithra home for children.
“Many young Australians came to stay a week, and stayed for years. Many came and experienced something special, returning again, and again. Many, like myself, have visited Mithra over the years and were profoundly influenced by their experience and in their relationships with Sister Mary Theodore.
“Sister Mary Theodore's vision of hope and independence for children with disabilities will live on as will her legacy through Mithra as it continues to grow and develop Sister Mary Theodore’s vision.”
Sister Mary Theodore helped to set up Mithra, an institution that educates and rehabilitates children with mental and physical disabilities from the poorest families, during her early years as part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary when she was in her early 20s. She eventually left the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary so that she could continue her work with Mithra.
As the head of a non-government organisation, Australind Children’s Fund, Assoc Prof Gale has helped to raise over $1m in funding for Mithra over the past 15 years. In this role, he visited Sister Mary Theodore every year since 1998.
A few years prior to her death in 2012, Assoc Prof Gale had spoken to her about writing a book about Mithra and her life in India. He says that audio recordings taken before she passed away form a very special part of the book.
See the Wakefield Press website for more details about the book.
Skills for Academic and Career Success
A recently released book focuses on the essential skills you need to be successful in your studies and future career.
Skills for Academic and Career Success is a new book by Dr Diana Carroll, who has held several roles with UniSA, most recently as an academic in Hong Kong and workshop facilitator for Global Experience, Experience Plus and the Business Career Mentoring Program.
“The book is aimed primarily at first year tertiary students in business and humanities,” Dr Carroll says.
“The emphasis throughout the book is on practical, applied learning. It has been developed to complement Australian tertiary education curricula in the areas of study skills and professional communication and is designed to enhance learning outcomes for students within the Australian and Pan-Asian context.”
The book is divided into three sections: People Skills, Study Skills, and Work Skills.
Three other UniSA academics also contributed to the book – Associate Professor Stephen Boyle, Sarah Hattam and Jennifer Stokes.
Hattam and Stokes co-authored Chapter 5 Critical Thinking: Argument: Logic and Persuasion while Assoc Prof Boyle contributed Chapter 9 Report and Proposal Writing.
See the Pearson website for further details.
Alternative Interventions in Aboriginal Australia
In his new book, historian and UniSA Adjunct Professor, Dr Alan Mayne, unravels a story of people, place and relationships.
The book, Alternative Interventions - Aboriginal Homelands, Outback Australia and the Centre for Appropriate Technology, is described as being a journey of ideas into action and intervention through innovation.
The book explores the operation of an Aboriginal-owned science and technology organisation, which 30 years after an initial start-up grant of $40,000, was operating with an annual turnover of more than $20 million with 130 staff providing technical services to more than 500 remote Aboriginal communities spread across the northern half of Australia.
It is described as an institution that links people with technology by sustaining livelihoods on country.
The book is published by Wakefield Press.
For more new university books, please visit the Hawke Research Institute publications webpage.