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Congregation of heroes

Opus Prize award recipients come to campus for Mission Week.

The Opus Prize Foundation recognizes men and women anywhere in the world who use faith-based innovation to tackle the world’s most persistent social problems. Opus Prize recipients receive $1 million each in support of their work.

The pleasures of a university community are numerous as students commit to learning and questioning, growing and re-emerging in better ways. The conversation is constant, laughter frequent and arguments typical.

And the sense of privilege felt to be immersed in an environment that isn’t about making time for learning but about being the place and the time for learning is as acknowledged as the air breathed in and out.

Into this blessed setting come moments of absolute hush when we pause to honor men and women who take tools called muscle and compassion and raw courage and build something incredible and unfathomable.

Marquette is preparing for a week in which the unfathomable will be our visitor. It will arrive from the far corners of the world in the person of Opus Prize recipients whose daily labors are monuments, whose work done in ghettos, on the streets and in human hearts successfully transforms the lives of the world’s most needy people.

The university is ready for this invasion and celebration. To add to the enormity of the occasion, many of the men and women who’ve won this recognition since the Opus Prize was established a decade ago will be meeting one another for the first time — here at Marquette. This congregation almost eludes imagining. It will be part of Marquette’s annual Mission Week in February, which is themed “The World is our Home.”

Our guests will fan out across campus into classrooms. They will bring their messages of hope, faith and triumph over human tragedy to students and alumni. — JMM

Meet 10 Opus recipients who have changed the world.

2012 Rev. Richard Frechette, C.P.

The American priest and doctor began the work of the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti in collaboration with a group of inspired young Haitian leaders who envisioned a different path forward for their country.

2011 The late Lyn Lusi: Represented by Dr. Jo Lusi and Nadine Lusi

Lusi and her husband, Dr. Jo Lusi, started the HEAL Africa Hospital to address the physical, social and spiritual needs of its patients in Congo.

2010 Sister Beatrice Chipeta, RS: Represented by Peter Daino

The Roman Catholic nun and retired schoolteacher founded the Lusubilo Orphan Care Project in the Karonga district of Malawi. It serves thousands of children who have been orphaned in the area’s rural villages.

2010 Rev. John Halligan, S.J.

Father Halligan has worked to develop a comprehensive approach to lifting families out of poverty in Quito, Ecuador.

2009 Aïcha Ech Channa

She is founder and president of the Association Solidarité Féminine in Casablanca, Morocco, which promotes the rights of mothers and children in a culture that historically has marginalized and stigmatized single mothers.

2008 Marguerite “Maggy” Barankitse

She founded a multifunctional service agency focused on bettering the lives of Burundians as they emerge from more than two decades of civil war between the Tutsis and Hutus.

2007 Brother Stan Goetschalckx, F.C.

He is founder and director of the AHADI International Institute in Tanzania that educates refugees from the war-torn countries of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.

2006 The late Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann: Represented by Dr. Nelson Neumann

She created Pastoral da Criança in Brazil in 1983 as a network of volunteers and community leaders dedicated to providing food, health care and education to mothers and children in Brazil and Latin America.

2005 Rev. Trevor Miranda, S.J.

He founded and runs a system of 450 informal schools known as the Reach Education Action Programme located along one of India’s most populous and poverty-stricken transportation corridors.

2004 Monsignor Richard Albert

Since 1976, he has been helping Jamaicans achieve self-reliance, education, empowerment and liberation through the establishment of charities and institutions that provide the poor with services and skills to transform their lives.

Learn More — Read the Mission Week schedule and biographies of the Opus Prize recipients. Follow our blog during Mission Week.


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