Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)

Schools and Centres

Philosophy and Theology


This dissertation analyses the development in the understanding of mission in the life and writings of St Thérèse of Lisieux and considers its contemporary significance. The thesis is that Thérèse progressed from a ‘mother missiology’ to a ‘sister missiology.’ This missiological evolution is intrinsically united to Thérèse’s transcendence of the faith-categories of her era.

Initially, with her Catholic contemporaries, Thérèse regarded it as her duty to ‘mother’ unbelievers into divine life. This ‘mother missiology’ gradually became ‘sister missiology’ as two movements of grace, namely the emergence of the ‘little way’ and Thérèse’s intensifying union with Jesus, the kenotic Christ, took Thérèse beyond her era’s vision of faith. The paradigm of ‘sister missiology’ has an entwined dual dynamic: radical solidarity with unbelievers and radical receptivity to the gratuitous outpouring of God’s love.

Sister missiology is demonstrated to be a potentially vital enabler of the Church’s missionary agenda in the twenty-first century. It is able to facilitate the realisation of the missionary objectives of the Second Vatican Council and offers a road-map for the Church’s engagement with postmodernity.

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Theology from the University of Notre Dame, Australia, 2006.

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