BY ISN STAFF | October 9, 2015
Moira Erin O’Donnell had only served as ISN’s executive director for less than a year when she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 33. While her time in service to the Ignatian family was brief, her exuberance and passion for the work of justice can serve as an inspiration for future decades of emerging leaders. In honor of the 10th anniversary of Moira’s passing on October 9, 2005, the Ignatian Solidarity Network in partnership with her family, is announcing the establishment of the “Moira Erin O’Donnell Emerging Leaders for Justice Award.”
“Recognizing the leadership contributions of young people in Moira’s name will further ISN’s work to foster a new generation committed to working for justice grounded in faith,” said Christopher Kerr, Executive Director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network. “We are grateful for the support of Moira’s family and excited to carry on her legacy through this award.”
“We are excited for this heartwarming effort to make Moira’s story part of this next generation’s experience and actions as they work for social justice,” said Moira’s parents Robert and Jackie O’Donnell, on the announcement of the award.
The O’Donnell Award will be bestowed on to two to three individuals ages 23-33 on a yearly basis who have demonstrated a significant commitment to leadership for social justice in their community. Nomination information will be distributed in early 2016, and the first awardees will be honored at the 2016 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice during the weekend of November 12-13, 2016.
About Moira Erin O’Donnell:
Moira Erin O’Donnell, the late daughter of Bob and Jackie O’Donnell, and sister of Aimee and Matt, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on October 9, 2005. Moira was truly a loving and gifted young woman who lived her life with brilliance, generosity, compassion, and a commitment to social justice.
She graduated magna cum laude from Santa Clara University in 1994 with a B.A. in English and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Sigma Nu societies. While at Santa Clara she earned a full scholarship to study at Oxford University for year. Following Oxford she continued her studies at Boston College (M.A., English, 1996), and the University of London (M.A., Intellectual and Cultural History, 2002).
Moira spent a year following her college graduation as a member of the Vincentian Service Corps working as a teacher at St. Aloysius School in New York City. She then went to work for Catholic Charities of San Francisco at St. Joseph’s Village, a shelter for homeless families. From 1998 to 2004, Moira worked for Hamilton Family Center, another family shelter in San Francisco. In 2005, Moira accepted an offer to become the executive director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network and quickly began establishing ISN’s roots as a national social justice network inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Information about the Award:
The O’Donnell Award is designed to:
- Recognize emerging leaders for social justice grounded in faith;
- Promote the contributions of young adults age 23-33 (as of November 1 of the award nomination year) as leaders in their communities;
- Provide tangible examples of the mission of the Ignatian Solidarity Network in action among emerging leaders across the U.S.
The award would be given yearly to emerging leaders, age 23-33, who demonstrate all of the following:
- leadership for social justice that responds to the realities of poverty and injustice present in our world today;
- an approach to working for social justice consistent with the work and philosophy of Ignatian Solidarity Network and its mission, the values of Catholic Social Teaching, and Ignatian Spirituality;
- potential for continued growth as a leader through study, discernment, and formation.
Nomination information will be distributed in early 2016, and the first awardees will be honored at the 2016 Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice during the weekend of November 12-13, 2016.