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Josephite novice launches new eBook on Australia’s first saint

Jane Maisey

Jane Maisey: “I kept listening to my spirit through prayer, and felt energised as the process continued.”

THE life of Australia’s first saint, Mary MacKillop has been captured in a new eBook for children.

Author Jane Maisey, who is on the “Emmaus Journey” (novitiate) to become a Sister of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, started writing after she looked online for eBooks about saints and found a glaring gap.

“To my surprise there was very little, and there was absolutely nothing for Mary MacKillop. How could this be?” she said.

Ms Maisey took inspiration from the words of St Mary MacKillop, who is also Brisbane archdiocese’s patron saint: “Believe in the whisperings of God to your own heart.”

“I felt my own whisper,” Ms Maisey said.

“I felt an energy start to form within me, a light bulb moment burst forth as I thought: ‘Well, I could create one’.”

Readers of Saint Story may learn some fun facts about St Mary MacKillop – that she had a pet cow, was thrown out of Church, travelled to Rome on her own and had many adventures.

The book is based on historical events and told from the viewpoint of St Mary MacKillop.

A graphic designer who had run her own successful design business, Ms Maisey grew up in rural New Zealand drawing cartoons.

Her calling to become a novice came in the wake of the devastating 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

“When people are killed, injured and lives are changed forever, you reassess,” she said.

“You have a choice of how you come out of something like that and I chose to grow.”

As a starting point for her eBook project, she researched cartoon styles and looked back at a set of Saint Cards, which she had earlier designed.

“Going in completely blind (and fairly naive), I rolled my sleeves up, got out my pencils and started sketching,” Ms Maisey said.

“I kept listening to my spirit through prayer, and felt energised as the process continued.”

children's ebook on Mary MacKillop

Saintly: Children reading the ebook “Saint Story”, based on the life of Australia’s first saint St Mary MacKillop.

Ms Maisey started work in March, and spent many late nights and weekends on the project.

“Once you feel energy that bursts forth from a whispering it’s not something that can be simply turned off; one must continue through open curiosity and trust,” she said.

“I have drawn cartoons from an early age, so I was able to create the cartoons.

“Previous work as a graphic designer gifted me the skills to create a custom font, colour the sketches and design the layout.

“Staff helped me to source photographs, sisters also helped me to fact-check and proof read – Sr Marie Foale and Dolores Maisey were invaluable.

“Next I chose a contractor to create the javascript (code that makes the eBook function, including interactive buttons).

“Proceeding on, I learned about the requirements for selling through Amazon, Kobo and eBooks.

“I did not count on paperwork when I heard the first whisper.

“Nevertheless, I stayed the course through a wave of confusion regarding tax requirements for foreigners.

“Meanwhile the pesky energising whisperings kept urging me forward.”

Saint Story was released on the feast of the Sacred Heart on June 23.

All proceeds will be donated to the works of Mary MacKillop International.

“This process has been fruitful and is helping me to discern possible ministry options as I continue on my Emmaus Journey,” Ms Maisey said.

She hopes the eBook will inspire adults and children, and she is even considering creating further Saint Story eBooks for other saints.

“Mary was real; she walked these streets like you and I do, she cried, she laughed and she most certainly loved,” Ms Maisey said.

“I hope we all have courage like Mary to listen and go where the wind takes us.”

For more information and to buy your copy of Saint Story go to: http://www.gozobonkers.com/ebook.html

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