‘All Our Time’

Catechetics, Cardijn and the Jesus of Everyday Discipleship


  • Katharine Massam University of Divinity




Joseph Cardijn, Young Christian Workers, Australian Catholicism, religious education


Taking a cue from recent scholarship in Britain, this article explores the role of women as agents for religious change in Catholic classrooms in the mid-twentieth century. It takes examples from Melbourne, Australia where teachers had been influenced by the Young Christian Workers (YCW) Jocist method of ‘see, reflect, act’ and Cardijn’s inductive, Incarnational theology that challenged the traditional dualism between private faith and public life. In a democratisation of faith commitment, their method of theological reflection invigorated young people with a sense of their responsibility as disciples. Classroom teachers influenced by Jocist formation moved first through strategies designed to communicate relationship with Jesus, then an understanding of salvation history and then through approaches that enabled and encouraged engagement with reflection on experience. The everyday reality of Jesus not as an otherworldly friend but as a potential agent of social transformation is a significant shift from devotional styles of Catholic spirituality.

Author Biography

  • Katharine Massam, University of Divinity

    Katharine Massam is Professor of History at the University of Divinity, Melbourne. Her research focuses on the intersections of theology and wider culture, with an emphasis on the ‘lived experience’ of faith and belief. Her book, A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia (Australian National University Press, 2020) was shortlisted in the NSW Premier’s History Awards 2021, and another study of a religious community, Vision and Mission: Presentation Sisters in Victoria 1958–2021, is forthcoming in 2022.


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How to Cite

Massam, K. (2022). ‘All Our Time’: Catechetics, Cardijn and the Jesus of Everyday Discipleship. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion, 35(1), 74–93. https://doi.org/10.1558/jasr.22396