Caritas and compassion: A labour of love

Journey of love

Nicole Clements has had a long career in journalism, but she says her recent assignment to capture the essence of the work of Caritas Australia for the aid agency's 50th anniversary proved a particularly enriching journey into faith.

As a journalist working for more than 20 years for broadcasters and news agencies around the world, like the ABC, SBS and Associated Press Television, I now have the privilege to work as the media advisor for Caritas Australia.

Over the years I’ve had the chance to interview many people from all walks of life, but the journey of capturing and telling Caritas Australia’s story through a signature 50th anniversary film and series of seven smaller films about the agency’s work over five decades has touched my heart.

Caritas Australia, the international aid and development agency of the Catholic Church, this year celebrates its 50th jubilee.

With almost 150 partnerships in 35 countries, Caritas Australia helps people across the globe to help themselves – regardless of ethnicity, religion or political beliefs.

But how do you tell the story of an organisation within the Church that spans every diocese, parish and school across Australia and the 118 countries they have reached around the globe over half a century?

The short answer is it wasn’t easy. But I aimed to interview as many people as I could, and to see if I could find the heart of Caritas, its early days and its people.

I sought to speak to those we work with and for, as well as those who work for us, not to mention the students, individuals and parishes who support our work.

It was a great privilege to see first-hand how Caritas has been able to work with and walk alongside women, men and children who are marginalised in countries like Timor Leste, Cambodia and Nepal.

In doing so this strengthened my own faith and became a personal journey for me.

A recurring and pivotal theme throughout the personal reflections, interviews, history, archives and my own experience was that of the journey.

The Caritas journey began as a lay Catholic movement which continues to this day – a journey of growth, faith, unity, solidarity, love and compassion.

Hence, I chose to centre each of the films on the theme of a journey.

After all, Caritas Australia’s journey has been of walking alongside the poor and marginalised, not in front, not behind, but with them – just as Jesus would have done.

The day I met Sr Len Montiel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is one I will never forget.

Read full article: A journey of life with love and compassion (The Catholic Leader)


Caritas Australia: 50 Years of Solidarity (CathNews on YouTube)

Caritas Australia in Cambodia (CathNews on YouTube)

IMAGE credit: Nicole Clements (right) during her journey telling Caritas Australia’s story through a signature 50th anniversary film and series of seven smaller films about the agency’s work over five decades / The Catholic Leader.

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