Catholic Mission is launching the celebration of World Mission Month 2023, focusing on Pope Francis’ World Mission Sunday message, ‘Hearts on fire, feet on the move’.

The October appeal highlights the burning passion that drives missionaries around the world to take action for a more just world.

Sr Carolina, who is the face of the awareness and fundraising campaign, is a great example of the devotion of missionaries, dedicating herself to providing critical healthcare services to the rural community of Venilale in Timor-Leste.

After decades of journeying with the Venilale community, Sr Carolina can summarise her understanding of Mission in a sentence: ‘Mission is where many people need you.’

It is a simple philosophy honed through her years of service at the Maria Auxiliadora Clinic, which the Salesian Sisters opened in 1995 to provide urgent healthcare services to a community still bearing the scars of decades of unrest.

Most of the treatment at the centre focuses on tuberculosis and malnutrition, two life-threatening illnesses well known to the local community.

Throughout World Mission Month, Catholic Mission is sharing the success stories of beneficiaries of the clinic, like Vitoria. Diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of 12, Vitoria travelled every day with her mother to the clinic to receive lifesaving care and medication thanks to the sisters.

The biggest celebration in Catholic Mission’s calendar is about more than just the practical benefits of the projects it supports around the world. The Maria Auxiliadora Clinic, Sister Carolina and her superior, Sister Alma, have created not only a place of healing but also a safe and welcoming environment where people are listened to.

‘The people are welcome. The people feel at home. They can stay; they can talk about their own problems, not just sickness, and enter a deeper conversation. We spend time with them to explain things. In this way, the people feel important,’ says Sr Alma.

Through Catholic Mission, you are invited to journey with Sr Carolina and walk alongside the Salesian Sisters and the resilient community of Venilale. Parishes, schools and supporters across Australia will be encouraged to provide resources for the clinic, so it can continue to provide life-giving services to the local community.