Saint Xavier University (SXU) is a huge proponent of service. Students, faculty and staff participate in spring break service trips, as well as local outreach opportunities. Service is deeply embedded in the roots of SXU, a proud Mercy institution. Countless leaders with ties to the University have made their mark through missions of aid. A former honorary doctorate recipient of SXU, Sister Marilyn Lacey, Religious Sister of Mercy (RSM), emphasized the importance of service to the undergraduates during their graduation. Recently, Lacey was chosen as the recipient of the Opus Prize for her work with Mercy Beyond Borders, an organization that promotes the education of women and girls.
In May of 2012, Lacey addressed the commencement ceremony with passion. As the founder and executive director for Mercy Beyond Borders, which began in 2008, her efforts have made it possible for the women and girls in South Sudan and Haiti to receive and education, and be trained for jobs. Most commonly, the organization aids those affected by war and politics. The impact of her work made her the suitable candidate for an honorary doctorate degree from SXU. Sitting before her, the undergraduate students heard a story meant to motivate their approaching future.
The Opus Foundation, located in Minneapolis, MN, launched the Opus Prize in 2004. In the 13 years since, winners are selected based on their perseverance through faith to solve problems in their communities and those around them, centering on poverty and injustice. The foundation partners with Catholic universities to choose finalists. The highest award is $1,000,000, followed by two spots for $100,000 prizes. The Opus Prize laureates prove change is possible.
On the evening of Wednesday, October 11, Lacey attended the award ceremony at Regis University in Denver, CO. It was announced that she was the recipient of the prestigious prize, which she humbly accepted. The money will be used to increase the number of scholarships for her students, expand the reach of her programs, and to add on to her staff—all of which will continue to empower the people she works with. Lacey encouraged those in the audience to make their work count.
“If your work in life is going to be effective and meaningful, you have to be plugged in,” said Lacey. “I was thinking about the Sisters of Mercy and the depth of spirituality in which I’ve been blessed through them. I would hope for all of you to be plugged in at that level of your deepest meaning where you will find joy, purpose and direction for your life.”
Congratulations, Sister Marilyn! SXU is proud of your accomplishment, and that you continue to motivate the people of the future.
For more information on Sister Marilyn Lacey, visit the Sisters of Mercy website.