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Books

Catharine With An 'A', by Edna Keir

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 Contents - Jun 2004AD2000 June 2004 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Pentecost: As it was in the beginning ... - Michael Gilchrist
Abortion: 'Pro-choice' issue emerges in US presidential campaign - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Marriage: Statistics highlight the precarious state of marriage and family - AD2000 REPORT
Theology of the Body: Why the silence on the Church's moral teachings? - Audrey Dillon
Society: Why Chesterton is needed now more than ever - Dale Ahlquist
Education: Chavagnes en Paillers: a Catholic college with a Catholic culture - Paul Russell
The importance of beauty in the Liturgy - Christopher Pearson
Poetry: The power and beauty of religious poetry - Star-Life, Identikit, Ministers - Bruce Dawe
Poetry: The power and beauty of religious poetry - Cast fear behind thee, I am come! - Marion and Delia Craig
Letters: New Liturgy document (letter) - John Schmid
Letters: Disrespect (letter) - John Casamento
Letters: Behaviour at Mass (letter) - Michael Ryan
Letters: Options (letter) - Maryse Usher
Letter: Signs of hope (letter) - Daniel Attard
Letters: Priestly vocations (letter) - Monsignor Robert Egar
Letters: The Passion - Suffering (letter) - Dr Arnold Jago
Letters: The Passion - Not overdone (letter) - Monique Onezime
Letters: The Passion - No ordinary man (letter) - Jony Joordens
Letters: Faith and reason (letter) - John Kelly
Letters: Gospel Dating - The Jesus Papyrus (letter) - Paul R. Smith
Letters: Media Standards Australia (letter) - Denise Den-Bakker
Letters: Name changes? (letter) - Frank Mobbs
Letters: US Survey (letter) - Errol P. Duke
Letters: Catholic books (letter) - Frank Carleton
Events: Window Shopping for Non-Catholics - Fr Paul Newton
Books: The Free Press, by Hilaire Belloc - John Ballantyne (reviewer)
Books: The Outline Of Sanity, by G.K. Chesterton - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: Catharine With An 'A', by Edna Keir - Joan Graham (reviewer)
Books: Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy, Reform of the Reform? - Paul Russell (reviewer)
Books: More new titles for 2004 from AD Books
Reflection: The Holy Spirit: like a bed for the weary traveller - Fr Leo Duck

Catharine With An "A"
by Edna Keir

(Ginninderra Press, Canberra, 2003, 125pp, $20.00 plus $2.00 postage. Available from the author, tel (02) 6382-1677)

Catharine with an "A" is a mother's story told with honesty and frankness. It is not only the life story of the young lady Catharine who was born with the condition, Down Syndrome, but also a story of an ordinary Australian farming family who lived in isolated rural western NSW. It has particular poignancy because at the time of Catharine's birth there was little medical knowledge of the Down Syndrome condition and no support services were available.

Noel and Edna Keir ignored the dismal predictions for the future of their baby daughter. They used their own initiative and resolve, motivated by their parental love, to confront and overcome the challenges.

Edna Keir records each step of Catharine's progress as adversities are challenged and conquered in a way that captivates and holds the reader's continual interest. Edna's natural and sincere expression brings the reader into the intimacy of the large Keir family culminating with Noel's sudden illness and death.

Of particular interest is the degree of maturity Catharine had achieved in coping with the loss of her beloved father and expressed with her beautiful, simple faith. The reader warms towards the whole family as one is brought into their everyday working lives and their efforts to establish Catharine's full potential.

Against all the odds and through her family's unrelenting perseverance, Catharine has developed into a charming self-sufficient young lady. The book covers a range of emotions from tears to laughter and sometimes anger. The most inspirational underpinning theme is the unwavering strong belief and adherence to their Catholic Faith and how they applied it to everyday living in an unpretentious matter of fact way.

It is a book with an appeal to all readers and of particular value to those having a disabled child. The philosophy of living skills based on common sense, Christianity and Catholicism is an example for us all.

Joan Graham is President of the Lambing Flat Branch of the Fellowship of Australian Writers.

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 17 No 5 (June 2004), p. 18

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