Caritas Australia’s new CEO, Kirsty Robertson, has spoken of the renewed urgency with which we must end extreme poverty in our world today.
“People often ask, ‘Is the world we have right now the world that God intended?’ Ours is a world where we have nearly a billion people who will go to bed hungry tonight. I don’t think this is the world that God intended.” Ms Robertson said.
Caritas Australia has been working with marginalised communities for over 50 years, and in 2018-19 reached 1.52 million people worldwide in 20 countries.
For Ms Robertson, who was appointed to her role on September 16 and was previously employed with Mary MacKillop Today, said the agency has always been part of her sense of purpose and of her hope for a more just world.
“One of the wonderful things about working with Caritas is to get to be part of the story of creating a more just world. I don’t think there’s anything more important to do with your life than that,” she said.
“(As a child) I remember giving to a yellow Project Compassion box. The slogan said Dignity, not Charity, and that prompted a conversation with my mum about the idea that we’re made in the image of God and therefore we all have inherent dignity, which nobody can take away from you”.
“People talk about their careers, but I feel like this is my vocation and that I have a true calling to serve the poor. Caritas has over 50 years of doing this work; of authentically amplifying the voice of the poor.”
Ms Robertson was liturgically blessed for her new position in a commissioning ritual on Wednesday September 25.
Chairman of Caritas Australia, Bishop Christopher Saunders, Deputy Chair, Bishop Terence Brady and Chair of the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, were all in attendance.
Bishop Saunders spoke of Ms Robertson’s readiness for her new role.
“Kirsty has a keen sense of social justice and a proven track record of working to help those in our world who are disadvantaged and marginalised,” he said.
“Grounded in strong faith, she will apply herself to ensure that Caritas Australia remains dedicated to living the Gospel, which promises hope to a world in need of charity and justice”.
With thanks to Caritas Australia.