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$1 Million Opus Prize finalists announced

St. Kate's will host the 2012 Opus Prize ceremony on November 8 at The O’Shaughnessy.
St. Kate's will host the 2012 Opus Prize ceremony on November 8 at The O’Shaughnessy.

St. Catherine University and the Opus Prize Foundation will honor three social entrepreneurs from Brazil, Bolivia and Haiti in November — and one will receive a $1 million prize to further her or his faith-based humanitarian work.

The three will be on both St. Kate's campuses Nov. 6-9, with the Opus Prize winner being announced on Thursday evening, Nov. 8.

The finalists, listed alphabetically by country, are:

  • Segundo Velasquez, who created Mano A Mano International to help impoverished communities — more than 700,000 people — in Bolovia build and manage medical clinics, schools, roads, and water retention and irrigation projects.
  • Leonora Micheiln Laboissiere Mol, who created Atelie de Ideias (ADI) to provide low-income communities in Brazil with life skills, financial literacy and housing. ADI also operates a bank that serves residents with no access to traditional banks.
  • Father Richard “Rick” Frechette, C.P., who formed St. Luke Foundation for Haiti to build schools and transform orphans into the country's next leaders. St. Luke sponsors an orphanage and a children’s hospital, and offers a microloan program.

Learn more about each finalist on the Opus Prize Foundation website.

“All three are incredibly inspirational, and we are so blessed to have them come to our campuses,” says Mary Ann Brenden, associate professor of social work and a co-chair of the Opus Prize steering committee appointed by St. Kate’s President Andrea Lee, IHM. "Each has made a difference to the communities... and they examplify our University's commitment to social justice and leadership.

The 2012 Opus Prize Award Ceremony and Celebration —“A World of Good: Transformed by Faith in Action” will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8, at The O’Shaughnessy Auditorium on the St. Paul campus. (Ticket details are forthcoming.)

The Opus Prize is a $1 million award, with $100,000 awards going to the other two finalists. Sister Andrea officially announced the nominees at St. Catherine University’s Opening Faculty-Staff Workshop on Aug. 28, which marks the beginning of a new academic year.

Due diligence trips
Over the spring and summer, six St. Kate’s students, three professors and one staff member joined Opus Prize Foundation board members for site visits to learn more about the finalists and their work. They were:

HAITI: Lahens St. LeFleur '05, event logistics coordinator and Opus Steering Committee member; Sue Klappa, former associate professor of physical therapy; Jennifer Donohue ’15, double major in social work and public heath; and Liesl Wolf ’13, double major in nursing and sociology.

BOLIVIA: Laurie Anderson Sathe, director of the Masters of Arts in Holistic Health Studies program; Renee Crepeau ’13, student Senate president and double major in international business/economics and marketing and management; and Katherine Montenegro ’13, nursing major.

BRAZIL: Kate Barrett, assistant professor of occupational science and occupational therapy; Leslie Muzulu ’13, mathematics major; and Joanne Ott, graduate student in holistic health studies.

Learn more on St. Kate's Opus Prize website.


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Aug. 28, 2012 by Pauline Oo

See also: Alumnae/i, Catholic Identity, Faculty, Leadership, Social Justice, Students