Margaret Crockett never asked for this part of her story to be told. She prefers to get on with things in the background. But she recalls many years ago, in the early 1990s, hearing parish priest Fr O’Sullivan say that as little as $15 a month could transform an African child’s life.
As a mother of three children herself, Ms Crockett was deeply moved and initially troubled by this comment. “I didn’t have a spare $15 a month,” she said. “But I was sure I could find 10 friends who could each give a dollar or two.”
So it was that she tapped her Tighes Hill church friends on the shoulder, and on the first round collected $45.
Since then Ms Crockett has generously acted as the hub for monthly contributions from fellow parishioners. Showing that commitment and persistence do make a difference, she has collected more than $35,000 for the Children’s Mission Partners program run by Catholic Mission.
That contribution has made a great difference to the life prospects of countless children around the world.
“I was particularly moved by stories of girls and young women walking long distances daily to collect and carry water,” she said. “Often they are so vulnerable to all sorts of abuse and violence along the way. Having a safe water source nearby has many advantages for health and well-being.”
It is a little-known fact that in 1822 a young laywoman in France began Catholic Mission, which is the Australian arm of the International Pontifical Missionary Societies.
Pauline Jaricot had a passion for the missionary work of the church, but unable to leave home herself, encouraged her friends, mainly young female factory workers to form “circles-of-10”. Each person in the circle gave a small, regular contribution from their wage and each “circle” committed to pray regularly for the missionary work of the church. Within her lifetime this movement called the Society for the Propagation of the Faith was supporting the worldwide work of missionaries where the need was greatest.
Catholic Mission continues to make a positive difference in the lives of thousands of people around the world through its support of missionaries and the child-focused community-development programs it undertakes.
Each year, October is Mission Month and Pope Francis has called for an Extraordinary Missionary Month for October this year. The United Nations has also since 2012 marked October 11 as International Day of the Girl Child. This day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.
Perhaps like Ms Crockett and Pauline Jaricot you too can be missionary without leaving home, and become a Children’s Mission Partner. If you want to make a difference in the lives of children around the world by starting a circle-of-10 in your parish or friendship group, contact Mark.Toohey@mn.catholic.org.au. Alternatively, in this Extraordinary Missionary Month why not make an “extra” ordinary donation via www.catholicmission.org.au to mark International Day of the Girl Child?