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Opus Prize recipient

Rev. Richard Frechette, C.P.

Rev. Richard “Rick” Frechette, C.P., an American priest and physician, 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. The St. Luke Foundation provides education, health care and dignified humanitarian outreach to 150,000 people each year while employing more than 1,600 Haitian staff. Though Father Frechette maintains a presence as a trusted mentor whose vision and tireless work continue to help shape the organization, he has built St. Luke’s with a commitment to 100 percent Haitian leadership. The organization’s programs have become a model for what is possible in Haiti when the enormous talent, passion and courage of the next generation of Haitian leaders are embraced.

 

Opus Prize recipient

Lyn Lusi, represented by Dr. Jo Lusi and Nadine Lusi

The war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has claimed more than 6 million lives since 1996, and mass rape continues to be used as a strategy of war, often spreading HIV/AIDS to the survivors. In an effort to repair the shattered lives of victims of these atrocities, the late Lyn Lusi and her husband, Dr. Jo Lusi, founded the HEAL Africa Hospital. The program’s compassionate healing addresses the physical, social and spiritual needs of its patients. HEAL Africa works from the principle that lasting change can’t be imposed but comes from within communities themselves. Since 2003, HEAL Africa has performed more than 1,500 fistula repair surgeries, provided primary care and post-rape counseling to more than 30,000 women, established 31 safe houses, trained 90,000 community activists in HIV/AIDS prevention and care, and funded more than 1,500 microgrants for families. Lyn Lusi passed away from cancer in March 2012. Lyn’s husband, Dr. Jo Lusi, and her daughter, Nadine, are present to represent HEAL Africa’s work and honor her memory.

Opus Prize co-recipient

Sister Beatrice Chipeta, RS, represented by Peter Daino

Sister Beatrice Chipeta, RS, a Roman Catholic religious sister and retired schoolteacher, is founder of the Lusubilo Orphan Care Project in the Karonga district of Malawi. Serving thousands of children who have been orphaned in the area’s rural villages, Sister Beatrice manages massive food and infant formula distribution programs, instructs mothers on the importance of nutrition and proper child care, and organizes support groups for grieving family members. The organization has helped improve agricultural production so families can become self-sufficient. Young people attend educational programs, teenagers and adults learn a trade through vocational classes, and individuals are trained to assume leadership responsibilities. Sister Beatrice’s staff also care for 380 orphan-headed households, helping teenage orphans who are caring for younger siblings develop life skill. Sister Beatrice is unable to attend and will be represented by Peter Daino of the Lusubilo Orphan Care Project.

Opus Prize co-recipient

Rev. John Halligan, S.J.

Since inviting a group of shoeshine boys to join him for lunch in the attic of a church in 1964, Rev. John Halligan, S.J., has worked to develop a comprehensive approach to lifting families up and out of poverty in Quito, Ecuador. He recruited Sisters Miguel Conway and Cindy Sullivan to join in the ministry, which provides food, shelter, health care and social services to entire families living on site at the Working Boys’ Center. Children attend school, and teenagers and adults are trained to become some of Quito’s most competent welders, furniture makers, bakers, mechanics and beauticians. Every family is required to save toward the purchase of a plot of land and help other families build their homes. The center has helped 6,000 families become self-sufficient and hosts thousands of volunteers each year who share in a faith and service experience with Father Halligan and his staff.

Opus Prize recipient

Aïcha Ech Channa

Aïcha Ech Channa is founder and president of the Association Solidarité Féminine, an organization serving single mothers in Casablanca, Morocco. The association promotes the rights of mothers and children within a culture that historically has marginalized and stigmatized single mothers, who often must fight to keep custody of their babies. The nongovernmental organization operates several businesses, and more than 50 women receive training each year in cooking, baking, sewing and accounting. Participants have access to child care, counseling and medical treatment. The Moroccan government recognized Solidarité Féminine as a charitable organization in 2002, and it has received financial support from King Mohammed VI. A Muslim, Ech Channa says she gains inspiration from a sense of justice rooted in the value systems and traditions of all religions.

Opus Prize recipient

Marguerite “Maggy” Barankitse

The focus of the work of Maggy Barankitse and the organization she founded, Maison Shalom, is to improve conditions for children while enhancing the lives of all Burundians, who are emerging from nearly two decades of civil war between the Tutsis and Hutus. The multifunctional service agency is helping heal and support 30,000 young people and families through the establishment of “children’s villages” around the country, which provide them a nurturing environment by reintegrating the children into loving families. In early 2008, Maison Shalom opened a hospital complex serving mothers and children in Ruyigi, Burundi. The organization’s model is being replicated with new outreach and aid programs to children in Rwanda and Congo. Barankitse is known in many circles as “the Angel of Burundi.”

Opus Prize recipient

Brother Stan Goetschalckx, F.C.

Brother Stan Goetschalckx, F.C., is founder and director of the AHADI International Institute in Tanzania. With a Swahili name that means “working toward the fulfillment of a promise,” AHADI educates refugees from the war-torn countries of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi so they can repatriate to their countries of origin armed with marketable skills. Based on a fundamental belief that education is the most powerful antipoverty strategy for the poor in Africa, the organization provides instruction each year for 25,000 students who are studying for their high school diplomas and post-secondary training via distance learning programs. Brother Stan, a member of the Brothers of Charity, a Catholic order founded in his native Belgium, also provides shelter, education and health care for hundreds of street kids in Kigoma, Tanzania.

Opus Prize recipient

Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann, represented by Dr. Nelson Neumann

In 1983, the late Dr. Zilda Arns Neumann created Pastoral da Criança, a network of volunteers and community leaders dedicated to addressing family issues among the poor in Brazil and Latin America, particularly those related to the care of mothers and children. In the municipality where her work began, infant mortality dropped from 127 deaths per 1,000 births to only 28 deaths in just one year, and malnutrition declined significantly. Her focus soon went beyond infants to the care of children up to the age of 6. Today, Pastoral da Criança is actively changing lives, breaking barriers and creating hope for millions of families thanks to its 212,000 volunteers and leaders serving more than 1.5 million mothers and children in Brazil, Latin America and the Caribbean. Neumann lost her life in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Her valiant work continues under the guidance of her son, Dr. Nelson Neumann, who is representing Pastoral de Criança during Mission Week and brings his
mother’s spirit to campus.

Opus Prize recipient

Rev. Trevor Miranda, S.J.

Rev. Trevor Miranda, S.J., founded and runs a system of 450 one-room schools known as the Reach Education Action Programme. Located along one of India’s most populous and poverty-stricken transportation corridors, REAP provides early childhood education programs in the hope of encouraging poor families to continue to send their children to school. Since 1998, REAP has succeeded
in leading thousands of children into the mainstream municipal school system and established microfinance opportunities for thousands of women while promoting the conviction that they can be agents of social change. Through education, students discover a world of opportunity that stands in stark contrast to the factories and garbage dumps in which they might otherwise have to work during their adult lives.

Opus Prize recipient

Monsignor Richard Albert

At the very core of who he is as a man of faith, Monsignor Richard Albert believes in self-reliance, education, empowerment and liberation. Since 1976, he has been helping the people of Jamaica achieve these values through a variety of self-help programs and a vast network of charities and institutions that provide the country’s poor with basic services and skills to transform their lives. Monsignor Albert has opened six community centers that provide aid to lepers, AIDS victims, abandoned elderly, and neglected children and teens. He also has established schools, skills training centers, libraries, soup kitchens and counseling services. Monsignor Albert often speaks of his work with the poor in Kingston, Jamaica, as his own personal conversion experience.