DENVER (CNS) — It would have been impossible to walk away from a downtown Denver hotel where this year’s Opus Prize was announced Oct. 12 and not feel that urge to “go forth and set the world on fire.”
In front of an audience of students, alumni, faculty, staff and members of the greater Denver community, Jesuit Father John P. Fitzgibbons, president of Regis University, named Mercy Sister Marilyn Lacey and her nonprofit organization, Mercy Beyond Borders, as this year’s $1 million Opus winner.
Working in Haiti and South Sudan, Sister Lacey and her California-based organization are helping women and girls escape extreme poverty through educational, economic and empowerment opportunities.
Jesuit-run Regis University hosted the 2017 Opus Prize, one of the world’s largest faith-based awards for social entrepreneurship.
The Opus Prize Foundation funds the $1 million award and also awards two finalist prizes of $100,000 each in recognition of social entrepreneurship. The foundation partners with a university or college to present the honor and “to inspire the next generation to pursue lives of service.”
The prize is awarded annually to an individual or organization of any religious background, anywhere in the world. Recipients must demonstrate a pioneering approach to solving the root cause of social problems in their community.
“I felt called by God to help these women and girls who are suffering,” Sister Lacey commented. “In serving others, we can find a connectedness, a kinship that leads to binding joy.”
One finalist prize went to Sister Stan Terese Mumuni, a member of the Marian Sisters of Eucharistic Love, who is the founder of Nazareth Home for God’s Children in Ghana. It cares for children born with physical, mental or behavioral disabilities.
The other $100,000 prize went to Drs. Jason Reinking and Noha Aboelata, whose work through Roots Community Health Center is providing health care to impoverished people living on the streets of Oakland, California.
“Your work truly restores hope and ignites the possibilities for those who live at the margins,” Father Fitzgibbons said, addressing all three finalists. “We are inspired and moved by your example.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103