Indigenous path to Jesus

Aunty Evelyn Parkin

Stradbroke Island elder Aunty Evelyn Parkin hasn't needed to travel the world to uncover spiritual wisdom.

- The Catholic Leader

Almost everything required has been found in her beloved Quandamooka country - from the inspirational love of her mother Bethel to the island of her childhood days which taught her the mysteries of Creation.

This much becomes clear listening on a wet, chilly island day in a Dunwich coffee shop to her quiet yet compelling voice. "Both Mum and Dad were born on this island we know as Minjerribah," the Aboriginal elder said.

'Dad died when I was 11. Mum was like a mother hen. She not only looked after the spiritual education and physical well-being of her own eight children but also many others who came along for help.'

Aunty Evelyn walks through a display at Dunwich's North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum where her words take life in the form of photographs. The photographs are part of an exhibition Growing Up Catholic staged to mark 170 years of Catholic faith on Stradbroke Island starting with the Passionist mission in 1843.

The exhibition includes photographs and slides of many of her family members including mother Bethel, a brother and sister and great-aunt Bethel. In the typical way of her people, Aunty Evelyn tells stories to explain the bridge between her traditional Aboriginal beliefs and a deep love of the Catholic faith.

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