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Father Richard Frechette and the Saint Luke Foundation awarded $1 million Opus Prize

Father Richard Frechette and the St. Luke Foundation were awarded the 2012 Opus Prize.
Father Richard Frechette and the St. Luke Foundation were awarded the 2012 Opus Prize.
Photo by Sher Stoneman.

The $1 million Opus Prize was awarded to Saint Luke Foundation for Haiti founder Father Richard (“Rick”) Frechette in ceremonies at St. Catherine University on Thursday, Nov. 8.

St. Catherine President Andrea Lee, IHM, presented the award, along with a prize of $100,000 each to the other finalists: Segundo Velasquez of Mano a Mano International Partners, based in Mendota Heights, Minn., and Bolivia, and Leonora Micheiln Laboissière Mol of Ateliê de Idéias (ADI), an NGO based in Vitoria, Brazil.

All three awards were given to help the organizations advance their missions.

The three finalists discussed their organizations with students on the University’s campuses in St. Paul and Minneapolis on Wednesday and Thursday, sharing their insights and perspectives about their work as faith-based social entrepreneurs.

Learn about the 2012 Opus Prize Recipient in this video.

About Saint Luke Foundation

Saint Luke Foundation provides education, healthcare and economic development opportunities to over 150,000 Haitians each year in programs that employ more than 900 Haitian staff.  Father Rick Frechette, an American priest and physician, established the Saint Luke mission in 2001 as an outgrowth of the orphanage he founded in Haiti more than 25 years ago.

As these young people matured under Father Rick’s stewardship, they dreamed of a different future for their country. The foundation has the vision to “help Haitian leaders as they create lasting solutions to a stronger and more independent Haiti.”

In partnership with Minnesota’s own Mayo Clinic, St. Luke’s programs provide healthcare through a coordinated network of hospitals and clinics, including an intensive care unit and surgery center.

The Saint Luke school system serves 8,000 Haitian children in schools ranging from elementary and high school to a professional school; an online university is scheduled to open this year.

Because job creation is vital to Haiti’s future, Saint Luke advances economic growth and jobs by helping Haitians develop production facilities that act as small-business catalysts. Another outreach program established teams who work with individuals to provide business micro-loans and other entrepreneurial opportunities.

In addition, the St. Luke mission delivers clean water daily to communities that would otherwise not have access to potable water and provides compassionate care and a final resting place to deceased Haitians who have been abandoned.

Mentoring the energy and talent of the next generation of Haitian leaders, Father Rick and the Saint Luke programs have become a model for what is possible to advance organic, sustainable solutions to the problems facing Haiti — the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

About the Opus Prize and Opus Foundation

Awarded annually since 2004, the Opus Prize acknowledges individuals and their organizations that are largely unsung yet provide exceptional and unique responses to difficult social problems in the world's poorest communities.

“Opus Prize winners combine an entrepreneurial spirit with an abiding faith to combat seemingly intractable global issues like poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease, and injustice.”

In addition to providing support for these humanitarian efforts, the Opus Prize also seeks to inspire people to pursue service to others. The goal is to provide funds that advance the winner’s work to a new level of impact, provide greater visibility and attract other supporters.

Each year the Opus Prize Foundation partners with a Catholic university to prepare for and present the Opus Prize. The partnering university works with the Opus Prize Foundation to discover and narrow the list of nominees and assemble due-diligence teams that include students, faculty and staff to visit and evaluate the finalist programs.

The awards ceremony is held on the partner institution’s campus with the goal of offering students a unique opportunity to think globally and inspire them to lead lives of service.

Next year’s Opus Prize will be held at Georgetown University.

(Source material for this story from and websites.)

Related Stories:

Finalists for 2012 Opus Prize engage St. Kate's students

$1 Million Opus Prize finalists announced

SCAN: A World of Good; The three 2012 Opus Prize finalists are living examples of faith in action

SCAN: In Their Words; Hearing from the St. Kate's students who were part of the 2012 Opus Prize due diligence teams

Related Videos:

Meet Father Richard Frechette and the Saint Luke Foundation

For Video of Leonora Micheiln Laboissière Mol, visit the Opus Prize website

For Video of Segundo Velasquez, visit the Opus Prize website

Nov. 8, 2012 by Julie Michener

See also: Catholic Identity, Social Justice, Students