Social justice advocate wins Margaret Dooley Award


Catholic Outlook Margaret Dooley Award Story
Kevin Rudd MP presents Evan Ellis with the Margaret Dooley Award for Young Writers. Photo: Beth Doherty.

Originally published in Catholic Outlook November 2012

Former Catholic Diocese of Parramatta Social Justice Coordinator Evan Ellis has won the Eureka Street’s 2012 Margaret Dooley Award for Young Writers with an essay entitled Catholic and Aboriginal 'listening revolutions'.

The award is offered to support the development of young writers aged 30 years or under. The prize of $1500 is for a piece of previously unpublished writing that offers reasoned ethical argument based on humane values.

In the citation for the winning essay, the judge said:

In this time of great challenge, this article counsels us with a simple message: Listen. It finds this message in the writings of Benedict, Bonhoeffer and Miriam-Rose. And throughout this article, this simple yet important message is repeated and repeated. Listen.”

Evan is currently a community development worker in the Sutherland and St George area and is completing a Masters in International Studies with a China major.

“When I heard I had won the Margaret Dooley Award for Young Writers part of me was just relieved I still qualified as young,” Evan said.

“At 27, recently married and with two much younger brothers, I was beginning to have my doubts.”

Evan said the essay was a long time coming. “I was first introduced to the Rule of Benedict during university and experienced Benedictine hospitality in a retreat at Tarrawarra Abbey after WYD08 in Sydney.

“It seemed telling that in the midst of the social upheaval St Benedict that lived through, his first call was for people to listen; to God and each other. That our current Pope chose St Benedict as the patron of his pontificate says a lot, both about the needs of our time and the direction he wants to give.

“The essay also nods to Pope Benedict’s predecessor. I have always been inspired by Pope John Paul II’s 1982 visit to Australia. At Blatherskite Park he told a delegation of Indigenous Australians that ‘the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others.’

“Being of irrevocably Irish ancestry, I hope my writing is in some small way part of that ‘joyful reception’.”

Eureka Street is published by Jesuit Communications:

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