I had several joyful encounters with Australian journalism icon Caroline Jones between 2013 and 2015. The dynamic, generous, gracious, warm Australian Story host died this week. The ABC have published a beautiful tribute. She was 84.
Our encounter began with conversation via tweets and direct messages. I had been a Jesuit novice from 2011-2013 and one day after moving home, I told her of my decision. She replied “Thankyou for letting me know James. God bless you on your way and keep Tweeting.” Later that year, Caroline reached out to me to see how I was going.
“Within the bounds of possibility”
As the new year 2014 began, Caroline wrote to me “Dear James, I hope that 2014 is to be a good year for you. Yes, the image of lighting one small candle is a very appealing one, and seems within the bounds of possibility, doesn’t it ?”
Later that January she invited me to attend a Mass celebrated by Jesuit Fr Paul Coleman one Sunday and to go to a cafe for “morning tea” afterwards.
We met for morning tea again six months later and spoke about faith and life, dancing and reading, her life and my hopes. We followed up our conversations with warm emails and sharing of links to On Being interviews and books.
In July 2015, after sending Caroline an update on my plans, Caroline wrote “Very envious of your planned studies for this semester ! And a teaching Dip Ed next year sounds like a great idea !!!” Caroline Jones was always a great encourager.
Who are you? Caroline Jones interview
In awe of this amazing person, about that time I listened to and transcribed part of a 2013 interview Caroline had with ABC Perth journalist Geoff Hutchison. “Who are you? Caroline Jones” is an extraordinary conversation still available to download. I was especially moved about her insights into listening, the nourishment of spirituality, and the affirming nature of her community of faith:
“I think we find nourishment for the spirit in many ways. For me, through my belonging to a community of faith. I don’t see religion particularly as a private thing. I love to belong to community. For me, my faith has introduced me to a sort of family of spirituality which is very enjoyable. We also find spiritual nourishment – or I do – in music, in dancing, in friendship – in so many ways.”Caroline Jones
Here is my transcript of part of the interview. The opening response speaks of her program “The Search for Meaning”:
May Caroline Jones rest in peace. I experienced your great goodness. Farewell and thank you!