In 2020, Provincial Fr William Matthews commissioned Fr Frank Moloney to author a book recording the first 100 years of Salesian presence in Australia. Fr Frank, author of over 40 books and a scriptural scholar of universal note, has certainly used his well-known skills as a writer in his new text. The narrative, contents, style and presentation from a journalistic point a view, are all of the highest quality.
The narrative focuses on the most significant events of the 100 years without getting entangled in minutiae. The content, on a thoughtful reading, pays homage to many achievements. History is instructive. What it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much larger flow of energy.
Frank’s recognition of this is shown in his statement: “Over the past 100 years several hundred Salesians have worked in Australia and the Pacific. Each one deserves to be “remembered” by name.”
Yet, as Frank states, “It is with a sense of unfinished achievement that we sketch that story and its major protagonists”. A sketch indeed he has made, or is it a grand sweep of the painter’s brush across the canvas of 100 years?
Fr Frank’s elegantly economical style allows the readers to grasp quickly the main ideas and the material, both copy and photos, is presented in a very appealing fashion. It is indeed a scholarly work well worthy of an honoured place among the annals of the Salesian Province of Mary, Help of Christians.
Speaking on his work, Fr Moloney said that "To maintain a sense of coherence in what follows there are various summaries of developments (for example, the development of a coherent Salesian formation program and the growth of schools and colleges) that cross the allocated time-periods. We apologise at the outset that not every significant “protagonist” has been mentioned by name. "
He further added that "over the past 100 years several hundred Salesians have worked in Australia and the Pacific. Each one deserves to be “remembered” by name. But that would generate a litany of saints and sinners, rather than a sketch of what God has done for Australia and the Pacific through the presence of Don Bosco and his consecrated Salesian Religious and the many “Salesians” who share in that mission. "
Readers are advised that if they would like to secure their free copy to contact the Salesian Province Office to organize delivery/pickup