Date of Submission

September 2011


This research explored the religiosity and spirituality of newly arrived Catholic Dinka children in Catholic schools in the western suburbs of Melbourne. In particular, the study focused on Dinka children's spirituality borne of their experiences of war and trauma and sought to understand their perceptions of God, Jesus, Church and prayer. A disparity was highlighted between the available literature on children's spirituality, (Hay & Nye, 1998; Hyde, 2005; Mountain, 2005), which presented findings from children who were 'untraumatised', with the predisposition of the Dinka children who were traumatised. The research aimed to identify incongruities between these and Catholic religious education assumptions in their schools. This qualitative research was guided by an epistemology of constructivism, which aimed at gathering a Dinka community narrative that was subjected to interpretive analysis, specifically phenomenological hermeneutics.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


340 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Education