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The Young Christian Workers movement spread to 100 countries (Supplied)

To mark the forthcoming centenary of the foundation of the Young Christian Workers movement in Belgium, the Australian Cardijn Institute is launching a project to record the history of the movement in Australia and the Oceania region.

Leading the project will be Latrobe University academic Anthony O’Donnell, Professor Katharine Massam of Pilgrim College and the University of Divinity, and Dr Stefan Gigacz, honorary researcher at Yarra Theological Union and the University of Divinity.

“Thirteen years after Joseph Cardijn and his collaborators launched their first experimental study circles with teenage girl needleworkers in the Brussels suburb of Laeken, the Young Christian Worker Movement was founded formally in 1925,” the project leaders write.

“It spread quickly across the globe. The method of ‘see-judge-act’ enabled a lay apostolate that saw faith as inextricably and powerfully connected to the whole of life. By 1966, the outward and public focus of YCW formation involved four million young people in 100 countries with a dozen allied movements, each committed to transforming the social context through shared reflection.

“The method impacted 10 of the 16 major documents of the Second Vatican Council and resourced ‘liberation theologies’ globally, not least through countless ‘mundane’ actions in the daily lives of members.”

The aim of the project is to workshop and publish an edited collection of academic contributions on the YCW in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

“We are interested to hear from writers across the academic disciplines to explore the variety of the YCW movement across time and the in diverse locations of Oceania in chapters of 4000–7000 words,” the project leaders say.

Meanwhile, ACI will hold its first webinar for the year on Saturday. The topic is: Cardijn’s Hour of the Working Class: 1948-2023. 


YCW Centenary 2025 Perspectives from Oceania Call for Contributors (ACI)

ACI Webinar John Médaille on Cardijn’s Hour of the Working Class (ACI)