Peacemaking Award to students from three XBSS Schools in Maryland

Brother Jerry O'Leary with Katherine Standish of St. Mary's Ryken

At recent school gatherings to honor this year’s graduates, Bro. Jerry O’Leary presented the P. Francis Murphy Peacemaking Award to students from 3 of our Xaverian Brothers sponsored schools in Maryland – Mount St. Joseph High School, St. Mary’s Ryken High School, and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. The award is sponsored by Pax Christi Baltimore and the Murphy Initiative for Justice and Peace – a consortium of 14 Catholic religious orders – including the Xaverian Brothers. The Initiative is named after the late well beloved Baltimore Bishop P. Francis Murphy who blended a strong personal compassion for the less fortunate with outspoken calls for justice – including the elimination of nuclear weapons, justice for women, and systemic changes to benefit those marginalized by race, economic status, or disabilities.

Excerpts from descriptions of the recipients from each of the three schools:

Mount St. Joseph High School

…..this student understands that caring for those who are suffering or less fortunate, is simply consistent with what it means to be a Christian. The recipient of this award must possess both the optimism and faith that allow him to believe that one person can make a difference.  He must understand that to bring about real change one must have the courage and energy to be part of such an effort.

This year’s award recipient demonstrates through his extensive service, an understanding that lasting systemic social change begins in local communities.  Over the past few years, this young man has built relationships with the Baltimore community through his church and through Mount Saint Joseph High School.  An active member of his church, this young man …has volunteered at assisted living centers, attended prayer walks and community clean-ups.  As a member of the Executive Council of the National Honor Society, (he has) inspired others to give selflessly. As he wrote in his own words, “A person’s attitude can make or break them in the long run. As a Christian I believe in the Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” This is why I treat others with respect, compassion, and understanding.” Anyone who has ever run into him in the halls of St. Joe, or the halls of Sarah M Roach Elementary school, where he coordinated the team of volunteers who came every Thursday, can attest to his living-out of this message. This young man has led by example while seeking no credit.  He is an inspiration for those seeking to build peace through relationships.

We are proud to present this year's Bishop Murphy Peacemaking  prize to senior Everette Jackson.

St. Mary’s Ryken High School

….God has given this student a heart for the poor and disenfranchised. Over the past four years, we have witnessed her quietly working, humbly striving to bring no attention to herself.

Each month the Food Pantry at St. Peter’s Catholic Church opens one Saturday serving approximately 200 families and you can be sure that she will be there carrying groceries for the clients. It is also without fail that she goes to the local soup kitchen each time St. Mary’s Ryken is serving… The last Sunday of the month she can typically be found making and serving breakfast to the homeless at The Mission on Great Mills Road. It is without fail, that she brings others to service projects and naturally leads them into serving. By this example we typically have 20+ students bi-weekly preparing bagged lunches for the homeless, and also putting together “spaghetti dinner/bread” bags for a local low income community. As part of the WARM program, she often registered guests before they head to the Church for the night. By her suggestion, we are currently working with a local middle school to supply girls with items that their families often cannot provide. 

Her father taught her to make rosaries, and she carries on the tradition even teaching other students this year. Her rosaries have been given to children in the shelters and parents learning about God for the first time. Most recognizable in this student is her smile and loving heart… Anyone who has met her has witnessed the Christ like attention she naturally gives to all around her. The greatest gift she gives is her love for Christ. There is no one she carries groceries for or serves food to that doesn’t experience the love of Christ and feel the dignity in which He created them. This is her greatest gift.

This is merely the tip of the iceberg of all this student has given, and it remains to be seen what God is calling her to do in life, but we can all be assured it is His will she is seeking.  

It is with great appreciation for her example that we give Katherine Standish the Bishop Murphy Peacemaking Award.

Our Lady of Good Counsel High School

Over her four years at Our Lady of Good Counsel, this recipient routinely went above her basic (service) requirements by hundreds of hours.  When asked what they thought of her, all her teachers agreed that she is hard working, kind, patient, and enthusiastic.  These gifts carried over in her work with autistic children in the Celebrate Ability Program….When jokingly questioned about why she was still performing service after having already completed hundreds of hours for her senior year, she happily said that she simply loved the work so much, and had built such great relationship with the people at Celebrate Ability, she was go;ing to continue serving there.  This is the lifelong love of service with which we hope our students leave Good Counsel…

 We are proud to present this year’s Bishop P. Francis Murphy Peacemaking Award to senior Taylor McDaniels.