We give out awards annually to supporters who have deeply impacted our work through their dedication and service. Learn more about their stories below.
2016 St. Teresa Award Recipient: The O'Driscoll Family
This award was given to the O'Driscoll family in recognition of their tremendous sacrifice and dedication to the well-being of the children at Liberia Mission. The family continues to support twelve students at Liberia Mission through their parish. Their daughter, Mary Ann O'Driscoll, was a mission Director and dedicated to the lives of the poorest of the poor. She died in July 2015 following a hit-and-run accident in Liberia. Mary Ann looked to Mother Teresa as a role model and therefore this award was named for her. Mary Ann's spirit continues to live on in the students and all those who were touched by her life.
2016 St. Clare Award Recipient: Kathy O'Dwyer
This award was given to Kathy O'Dwyer at Harvest for Hope in Chicago, Illinois on October 22, 2016, to recognize her continuous efforts to help Franciscan Works + Liberia Mission flourish. Just as St. Clare believed in uplifting the poor through the power of the gospel, Kathy is dedicated to transforming the lives of the poorest of the poor at Liberia Mission. Kathy is a long time educator, has made numerous trips to the mission, and has contributed a great deal of her knowledge to help the teachers and administrators provide a better education for the students.
2016 St. Francis Award Recipient: Dr. Kurt Heyrman
This award was given to Kurt Heyrman at Harvest for Hope in Chicago, Illinois on October 22, 2016. It recognizes how he selflessly serves the poor, shows devotion to Jesus and the Church, and shows generous support and leadership on behalf of Franciscan Works + Liberia Mission, Inc. He and his wife sponsor numerous children who reside on the mission and his tireless generosity truly blesses our students. He also speaks on behalf of the children at Liberia Mission to raise desperately needed funds.
2016 St. Anthony Award Recipient: Father John Carville
This award was given to Father Carville at Harvest for Hope in Chicago, Illinois on October 22, 2016. It recognizes how he displays hands-on leadership in guiding Franciscan Works + Liberia Mission, and has also given freely of his time and talent to further our goals. Father Carville has traveled to Liberia multiple times and provides support through various foundations. He also travels to other nations on missions in service to the poorest of the poor.
2015 St. Francis Award Recipient: Father Edwin Martin
At the second annual Children of Hope Benefit on October 8, 2015, Franciscan Works awarded Deacon Eddie Martin with the St. Francis of Assisi Award. Deacon Eddie, a long-time supporter and benefactor of Franciscan Works + Liberia Mission, was chosen for his outstanding contribution of personal giving and his work on the grounds of Liberia Mission, where he has served on multiple mission trips. Deacon Eddie has also helped by spreading the word about Liberia Mission almost as well as he spreads the Gospel. Not only does he speak at parish appeals, he also helps conduct outreach initiatives in his home state of Louisiana. Father Eddie exemplifies the leadership and humility shown by St. Francis in both his words and deeds. He is a dedicated volunteer, donor, and supporter of Liberia Mission. He was ordained a Catholic priest May 28, 2016 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Prairieville, LA.
2014 St. Francis Award Recipient: David Dionisi
This award was given to David Dionisi to honor his extensive role in the establishment and growth of Liberia Mission. He originally founded the mission in 2003 after receiving a call to go to Liberia and care for the orphans of the war. Following that, he generously supported the mission and its children financially and with his time and experience. Aside from his work at Liberia Mission, Dave also founded and serves as the leader of The Teach Peace Foundation and is dedicated to sharing the Catholic faith with those around the world.
2013 St. Francis Award Recipient: Joe Sehnert
On Sunday, April 30, 2013, Franciscan Works awarded the "St. Francis of Assisi Award" to Joe Sehnert. Joe Sehnert is the Mission Director at Liberia Mission Inc. in Liberia, West Africa. Joe has held this position since November, 2011. In the short time Joe has been at the Mission, he has significantly improved the lives of Liberia Mission beneficiaries. Joe has instituted an aggressive reading curriculum to raise reading scores by 5 percent. His night-tutoring program has the goal of boosting all Mission student grades 5% overall by June, 2013. Joe has also expanded the agricultural operations as a vocational teaching tool to the students, to provide the Mission with a sustainable food source, and an additional source of revenue. He has added workshop classes or home economics to the students' education to ensure that our students graduate with academic and technical skills. Joe has also strengthened the relationship between Liberia Mission and Liberia's leading technical school to help ensure that our beneficiaries have employment opportunities upon graduating from high school.
2012 St. Francis Award Recipient: Jennie Martin
The first-ever St. Francis of Assisi Award was presented to Jennie Martin in gratitude for her tireless work on behalf of the people of Honduras and Liberia over the past 10 years. Her efforts were a force of love that built our Mission foundation into something that has changed the lives of countless people in the U.S., Honduras, and Liberia, and resulted in over $500,000 being donated to orphans and children living in poverty in developing countries. Until she finally lost the battle of cancer Spring of 2013, Jennie was an exemplary fundraiser, volunteer, sponsor, mother, and missionary for Franciscan Works. Her contagious energy and loving attitude still lives on in her husband, Deacon Eddie Martin, her children, our US staff, our Mission children and staff, and every life she touched along the way. May she rest with Jesus and St. Francis of Assisi in Heaven forever. Amen.
With our gratitude for embodying
the virtues of St. Francis
through the pouring out of your life and love
with unbridled compassion, generosity, and integrity
in service to the poor.
You have done that which Christ made you to do.
May Christ use your example to teach each
of us that which is ours to do.