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Made for Laughter

Darton, Longman and Todd
RRP $39.95

Made for Laughter is primarily the story of a spiritual journey. It tells of a childhood, a career in medicine, imprisonment and torture in Chile, work in a hospice and psychotherapy, but it is, nonetheless, about one person’s spiritual journey in search of the will of God.

Sheila was born just before the outbreak of World War II. She was nurtured in the Catholic Church and has remained within it all her life. Much of her spiritual struggle arose from her attraction to the contemplative religious life on the one hand, and her deep desire to respond to the needs of the people around her on the other. The result was that she moved between the two for much of her working life.

As a young doctor she went to Chile and she was there when President Allende was overthrown by a military coup in 1973. Years of repression followed.

Sheila was caught up in the struggle when she attended to a young man who had been wounded by the police.
She was arrested, subjected to torture, and detained until international pressure and diplomacy led to her release and deportation.

Sheila resumed her medical career in England and embarked on a frenetic schedule of speaking engagements regarding the situation in Chile, but her spiritual quest continued to unsettle her. This was compounded by the onset of insomnia and depression resulting from her terrible experiences in Chile.

Through all this Sheila worked tirelessly to develop Hospice care for the terminally ill and studied to be qualified to practice psychotherapy.

Made for Laughter is a very honest and inspiring story about a unique person with a deep desire to be obedient to the will of God, an inbuilt resistance to conformity, and a passion to care for the suffering.

Once you’ve read it, you’ll want to read her other books: Audacity to Believe and Sharing the Darkness.

Reviewed by David Pitman, Moderator of the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia