A new book about a high-volume writer of letters has just been publicly released. The book titled, G’Day Cobber, Dare to be a Saint: The Life and Letters of Fr. Bill Edwards SDB, was authored by Father Stephen Ardill, a priest of the Diocese of Port Pirie in South Australia.
The book was officially launched on 27 June 2016 by Colleen Andrew OAM. The ceremony was hosted by St. Joseph’s School, Barmera, and the school’s principal, Mr. Lee Abela, was the Master of Ceremonies. Many who attended were from the local Our Lady of the River Parish which encompasses the Catholic communities of Barmera, Berri, Blanchetown, Cadell, Renmark, Loxton, Morgan and Waikerie.
Earlier this year, Fr.Ardill described Fr.Edwards as, “My very best mate in life, Salesian priest, Fr. Bill Edwards whose influence on my priestly vocation and ministry has been enormous. Representing the Provincial, Father Greg Chambers, was the Editor of the Australian Salesian Bulletin, Father Frank Freeman. He recounted the momentous day when a young Bill Edwards came knocking at the doors of the Salesian Community in Sunbury, Victoria. At the time, Fr.Freeman was the senior aspirant and he answered the door. The young gentleman confidently said, “I have come here to be a Salesian.” To which future Fr.Freeman answered, “You have come to the right place!” On behalf of the Salesians from Perth in Western Australia to Samoa, Fr.Freeman thanked Father Ardill for his research and the book.
The project, in fact a dream of a book about the legendary Salesian’s life and letters, was carried out during a 5 month sabbatical leave granted by the bishop of the Diocese of Port Pirie, Most Rev. Greg O’Kelly S.J., A.M. The sabbatical was spent with the Salesian Community at Clifton Hill in Melbourne. This community is now known as Don Bosco House, an international formation house for the East Asia Oceania region of the Salesians.
Father Ardill spent ten years in the Riverland Catholic communities and is now Parish Priest at St Mary of the Angels Parish in Port Lincoln. Also present at the book launch was the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the River Parish, Fr.Paul Bourke, and the priest residing at Barmera, Fr.John Stuart-James.
By Fr Joseph Lee SDB