I was born in 1934 in Melbourne, Australia, the fifth of six surviving children. I was educated by Dominican nuns in a parish school till grade five, when I went to St. Kevin’s College, run by the Christian Brothers. From school, I entered the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) whose Novitiate and House of Studies were in the parish where I grew up. This was a happy choice saving some Australian girl from a terrible marriage.
I learned to pray and sing, do philosophy (3 years) and theology (4 years). I found the riches of Israel, Greece and Europe in a Melbourne suburb. The Word was the Light of my world and Thomas Aquinas my teacher.
After three years of theology in the Dominican House of Studies in Sydney, I was ordained (with my elder brother) in 1958. From there I was sent to do an honours B.A. at the Australian National University in Canberra. Four more years of philosophy (mostly linguistic analysis), with a wonderful moment of relief in Zoology 1 when I watched an amoeba doing its dance under a microscope.
All this time I was doing priestly work and loving it. After graduation I returned to Sydney for my fourth year of theology. I gained a degree of Lector in Sacred Theology, for a thesis entitled “The Name of God which is ‘The Beginning.’ ”
In 1963 I became a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Toronto, gaining my Ph.D. with a thesis “The Logic of Religious Language” (1968).
During that period (1966) I joined a group of friends (mostly priests and nuns) who had entered therapy (individual and group) with Lea Hindley-Smith.
In 1968 I returned to Australia at the end of my scholarship. My decision to go back to Toronto to continue therapy was not well-received by my superiors in the Order and they suspended me from priestly ministry.
I returned to Toronto to continue therapy, take part in the learning programme of what had now become Therafields, and teach part-time at the University of Toronto.
I began working as a psychotherapist in 1970, after seeing Trudeau talking on TV about the War Measures Act. I was already convinced that fear of the Great Mother was at the heart of much emotional trouble and that it had become structural in our culture.
I was one of the therapists at the heart of Therafields, a therapeutic association that combined providing individual and group therapy with a not very well thought-out attempt at creating a community. This collapsed about 1985, though some of us continue in private practice in loose association..
I was invited by Jim Healy to join the discussions that led to the creation of CTP. Our strong academic component was corrective of our Therafields formation, but the central place of therapy groups was a retrieval of what was best in Therafields.
In the school I have taken groups and lectured on Jacobson, Winnicott, Klein, Hartman and Kernberg. I have done concentrations on Winnicott and Guntrip. I also teach the History of Ideas in Psychotherapy, the last piece of our academic formation.