Fr. Fred Kammer, S.J., Vince and Robyn Caponi to Receive the 2024 Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice Award

BY ISN STAFF | April 12, 2024

The Ignatian Solidarity Network is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2024 Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice AwardFr. Fred Kammer, S.J., and Vince and Robyn Caponi. All three awardees will be honored at ISN’s annual award event, Ignite: A Celebration of Justice, to be held this year at Xavier High School in New York City on May 1, 2024.

The Holstein Award honors individuals nationally each year who have demonstrated a significant commitment to leadership for social justice grounded in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The award’s namesake, the late Robert (Bob) M. Holstein, was a former California Province Jesuit, labor lawyer, fierce advocate for social justice, and one of the founders of the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ)—the precursor to the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

Vince and Robyn CaponiVince Caponi & Robyn Ruede Caponi first met in Cincinnati, OH, while they were both freshmen at Xavier University and Mount St. Joseph College (now University), respectively. They have been married for 51 years and are the parents of Gina Parnaby (Gary) in Atlanta, Krissy Darmody (Ryan) in Portland, OR, and Cara Caponi in Luanda, Angola. They have five grandchildren—Elizabeth, Will, Molly, Lucy, and Caleb.

During the 2003-2004 school year, their daughter, Cara, was a senior at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis. That year, Robyn chaperoned a trip to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) at Fort Benning in Georgia with Cara’s school and has attended every IFTJ since, with Vince accompanying many of those years. She served on the Ignatian Solidarity Network board of directors from 2010-2016, with Vince following her in ISN board service from 2016-2022, including one year as board chair. Robyn has additionally been present for every event honoring the annual Robert M. Holstein Faith Doing Justice awardee(s) since 2010.

Robyn was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and graduated from from Seton High School in Pueblo, CO. In addition to her bachelor’s degree from Mount St. Joseph, where she currently serves on the Board of Trustees, Robyn earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University. She taught English and social studies at both the junior high and high school levels. She has spent countless hours volunteering at her children’s schools, in parishes the family has attended, with the Brebeuf Mother’s Association, the Girl Scouts, and as a docent at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Vince was born in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from Owosso St. Paul High School in Michigan. In addition to his bachelor’s degree from Xavier University, where he currently serves as chair of the board of trustees, he holds a master’s degree from Central Michigan University and an honorary doctorate in business administration from Marian University. Vince began his career in health care as a sales agent with Metropolitan Life and Connecticut General in Cincinnati, and then, spent a decade in Michigan, serving as an account executive for the Burroughs Corporation (Flint), as assistant administrator at The Memorial Hospital (Owosso), and as hospital administrator at United Memorial Hospital (Greenville). He then went on to work for St. Joseph Center for Life (Augusta, Georgia) from 1983-1989 as associate Administrator and then president; at St. Vincent Hospital (Birmingham, Alabama) from 1989-1998 as associate administrator and then president/CEO; at St. Vincent Health (Indianapolis, Indiana) from 1998-2013 as CEO; and for Ascension Health (St. Louis, Missouri) from 2013-2019 as senior vice president and as a consultant.

Vince has served on the board of trustees for Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, the Indiana Hospital Association, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the United Way of Central Indiana, the Boy Scouts of America Crossroads of America Council, and the Indianapolis Catholic Archdiocese Investment Committee. He is a lifetime retired fellow and former regent of the American College of Healthcare Executives and received the distinguished alumni award from Xavier University, the Snyder-Watt Leadership Award from Marian University, the community service award from the Indianapolis Archdiocese, and the Thomas W. Moses Good Scout Award and Sagamore of the Wasbash Award from the governor of Indiana.

Robyn and Vince also received the President’s Medal from Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

Fr. Fred KammerFr. Fred Kammer, S.J., celebrated 60 years in the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 2023. He is known for his work in social ministries, publications on Catholic social teaching and as the former provincial of the former New Orleans Province (from 2002 to 2008). He is currently in residence at Immaculate Conception Parish in Baton Rouge, where he works in social and pastoral ministries.

After earning his law degree from Yale University, Fr. Kammer began his active ministry with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, first as a staff attorney (1972-1973) and then, after theology studies, as director of the Senior Citizen’s Law Project (from 1977 to 1983). He then served as the managing attorney for Capital Area Legal Services in Baton Rouge (from 1983 to 1984). During his time in Baton Rouge, he also was community superior and associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish and director of Catholic Community Services of Baton Rouge, Inc. (1984 to 1989).

Beginning in 1990, Fr. Kammer began a long ministry of social action in the Washington, D.C., area. For two years, he served as the health and welfare policy advisor for the Social Development Department of the United States Catholic Conference. He then served from 1992 to 2001 as the president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities USA, the nation’s largest private social service network.

After his term as provincial, Fr. Kammer became executive director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute of Loyola University in New Orleans from 2009 to 2021.

Father Kammer is the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province’s delegate for reconciliation with Descendants of people enslaved by Jesuits.

Father Kammer earned a bachelor’s in philosophy from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., a law degree from Yale University, and a Master of Divinity from Loyola University Chicago’s Jesuit School of Theology. He has written numerous articles and three books: Doing Faithjustice: An Introduction to Catholic Social Thought(4th edition, 2023); Salted with Fire: Spirituality for the Faithjustice Journey(1995); and Faith. Works. Wonders.: An Insider’s Guide to Catholic Charities (2009).

Interested in honoring Fr. Fred Kammer, S.J., or Vince and Robyn Caponi as an Ignite event sponsor, with a program advertisement, or by attending the May 1 event in NYC? Visit the Ignite: A Celebration of Justice page, or contact Kelly Swan, director of advancement, at [email protected] or 216-200-4259.  

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