Sunday, July 09, 2023

Bridget Partridge and 'The Extraordinary Case of Sister Liguori'

Bridget Partridge was a nun from Ireland (entry here on the Australian Dictionary of Biography). A friend told me about the 2017 novel of her story which was written by her grand-niece, Maureen McKeown, of Downpatrick.

It was 1920 when Bridget, who took the religious name Sister Mary Liguori, fled from convent life at Mount Erin (see pic below) in the town of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales in Australia and was taken in by a Protestant family called Thompson. Eventually she was discovered and Bishop Joseph Dwyer had an arrest warrant issued for her on the grounds of alleged insanity.

The two week trial became a celebrated legal issue in the newspapers of Australia and Ireland – Bridget's case was taken up by the barrister Edmund Alfred Barton (1879–1949; bio here), who was the son of Australia's first Prime Minister, and also the Grand Master of the Loyal Orange Institution of New South Wales. It's quite a tale, with the issues of a dividing Ireland playing out on the other side of the world.

website here