In addition to problems related to spatial relocation and integration into environments that are often foreign socially, culturally, and linguistically, with time migrants must also come to terms with changing bodily locations due to illness, ageing, and associated ailments. The immigrant body and the ailing body both experience life-changing disruptions. Using life histories and illness narratives, in this paper we explore how ailing Polish immigrants to Australia re-ground themselves in new locations. We identify two distinct frameworks within which re-grounding is attempted: knowledge-based, in which the individuals rely on professional knowledge brought from the country of origin; and faith-based, in which individuals rely on religious values and precepts in order to make sense of their transformed lives and bodies. These frameworks are not mutually exclusive, but rather, they function together to allow individuals to make foreign locations familiar. Which system comes to the foreground at a given time depends on the participants’ age: the younger participants tend to rely on professional experience, while older people turn towards faith. Our small sample size confounds this, however: the younger two participants are both men and have higher education levels than the older women. At the same time, among older women, severity and length of ailment was associated with greater dependency on a faith-based system.

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