Fordham and University of San Francisco Alums Named 2023 Emerging Leaders for Justice Honorees

BY ISN STAFF | February 16, 2023

In partnership with the family of Moira Erin O’Donnell, the Ignatian Solidarity Network announces the 2023 recipients of the Moira Erin O’Donnell Emerging Leaders for Justice Award: Michael Libunao-Macalintal, M.Div. (Fordham University ‘15) and Teresa Marie Cariño Petersen, MTS (University of San Francisco ‘13). 

The O’Donnell Award honors young adults who have received an undergraduate degree from a U.S. Jesuit university and have demonstrated significant social justice leadership in their communities. The awards will be presented at Ignite: A Celebration of Justice, to be held in New York City on May 10, 2023. 

Michael Libunao-Macalintal and Teresa Cariño Petersen

Michael Libunao-Macalintal is currently the liturgical minister of Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. He is the oldest of three children born to Filipino parents, and a proud New Jersey native. A theologian, lay minister, and preacher, Libunao-Macalintal has spent his career helping form students to be storytellers, prophets, and leaders in their own church communities and contexts. He is a 2015 graduate of Fordham University, where he received a B.A. in theology. From 2015-2017, he worked as a high school youth minister for St. Mary’s Parish, a Franciscan-led community in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey before pursuing graduate studies at Yale Divinity School. Throughout his graduate studies, he began to develop a vision of lay leadership within the Catholic Church, articulated through his preaching and ministry with young people.

In 2020, Libunao-Macalintal graduated from Yale Divinity School with a Master of Divinity, and moved to Washington, D.C., to work in campus ministry with Gonzaga College High School. In 2021, his desire to continue stretching the definition of Catholic lay leadership led him to return to his alma mater and facilitate daily worship in Marquand Chapel. He continues to put his passion for equity and justice in the ecumenical liturgies he develops with students, faculty, and staff alike, casting new visions of belonging, building new and creative ways of worship, telling new and re-telling forgotten stories, all with the hopes of bringing forth the beloved community we are called to create with one another.

Teresa Marie Cariño Petersen is an educator and activist living and working in the Bay Area. Her work focuses on ethics, spirituality, and embodiment with a special concentration on racial justice. Her graduate work at the Jesuit School of Theology culminated in her capstone thesis, “Embodied Spiritual Repair: The Case for Somatic Discernment in the Work of Justice,” pioneered a burgeoning practice of somatic discernment. She has since presented her work at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice and for individuals and small groups.

Cariño Petersen is an alumna of St. Ignatius College Preparatory in San Francisco, CA. She went on to study theology and religious studies with a double minor in Catholic thought and social teaching and Philippine studies at the University of San Francisco. While at USF, Cariño Petersen worked in the university ministry office, served as a student leader, and participated in several immersion programs. She had the privilege of studying in the Philippines with the Casa Bayanihan program—arguably one of the most foundational experiences of her life. Upon graduating, Cariño Petersen moved to New York City where she served as a Jesuit Volunteer community organizer. After falling in love with New York, Cariño Petersen stayed in the city and worked as a pastoral associate at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola. She eventually moved back to her beloved Bay Area where she resides with her husband and dog just steps from Golden Gate Park.

Cariño Petersen loves to write and to preach. Her work can be found on ISN’s Rise Up series, National Catholic Reporter, and Catholic Women Preach. Some recordings of her preaching can be found through St. Ignatius Church, San Francisco. One of her homilies will be featured in the upcoming publication of Catholic Women Preach: Raising Voices, Renewing the Church: Cycle B from Orbis Books. She also serves on the board of directors for the National Catholic Reporter. You can follow her on Instagram @teresacarinopetersen and on substack.

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, established the annual award to recognize social justice leaders exemplifying a similar commitment to justice in the Ignatian tradition.

Previous recipients of the Moira Erin O’Donnell Emerging Leaders for Justice Award include Sara Beste (Boston College ‘05), Annie Boyd-Ramirez (Marquette University ‘11), Eric Clayton (Fairfield University ‘11), Meaghan Fanning (Rockhurst University ‘12), Elena Habersky (University of Scranton ‘13), James Havey (Marquette University ‘11), Andrew Lunetta (Le Moyne College ‘12), Amanda Montez (Loyola Marymount University ‘15), William Rutt (Creighton University ‘12), Danny Swan (Wheeling Jesuit University ‘09), Kristen Trudo (Loyola Marymount University ‘14). 

Register to join us in New York City for Ignite: A Celebration of Justice here

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