Following the death of Caroline Jones, the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Night of Spirituality held on the 24th of May was dedicated in Caroline’s honour. Fr Daven Day SJ, a long-time supporter of the night and an honoured guest, was among the attendees. A video ‘roll call’ of past speakers and their photos was also presented. “Many former speakers attended. We had a full church and from the feedback, it was a very successful night”, said Committee Member, the Hon Jennifer Boland AM.
Jennifer shares her tribute to the trailblazing Australian journalist, Caroline Jones.
I know there is a special place in heaven for a woman who helps another woman.
As you will all know from the invitations for this 25th Anniversary night, we were so honoured that our original three speakers agreed to again participate in our evening. Caroline Jones was of course one of the “originals” and the words “there is a special place in heaven for a woman who helps another woman” are hers and have been adopted by “Women in Media”.
How apt those words are to remember Caroline, her many achievements and outstanding qualities. But they have particular resonance for us this evening. The 25 years of the Women’s Night of Spirituality have been all about women sharing their stories and in doing so helping other women. And Caroline has been central to the night with her wisdom, integrity, encouragement and friendship.
Saturday’s media covered the many public aspects of Caroline’s life – her media firsts with Four Corners, radio success with The Search for Meaning and particularly for Australian Story but tonight we would like to remember Caroline’s role with this event and what we learnt from her.
In 1995 she was an organising force for the first evening and remained a loyal contributor to, and supporter of, the WNS for the last 27 years. She was our wonderful, insightful and gracious MC who made every woman who attended feel welcomed and special. Caroline handed over the role of MC to me several years ago (when I explained to my family and friends it was like being asked to be the Governor after Dame Marie Bashir). And Caroline continued to work with the committee, attending planning meetings, and particularly offering encouragement and gentle guidance to speakers, especially those who were feeling overwhelmed or nervous about speaking.
Caroline was a woman in touch with her spirituality and knew its importance in her life. In the last few weeks she exchanged many encouraging emails with me as we prepared for this night. I think it’s fitting to refer to one of our more recent exchanges. Caroline said:
Dear Jenny, what a beautiful date to choose – 24th May – the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, patroness of Australia. I only just realised.
So on this significant feast day, we remember and pay tribute to a woman who helped so many other women and for whom we are sure there is now a special place in heaven.
Find out more about the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Night of Spirituality.
Photos by Michelle Haywood.