Sisters Carol Brong and Constance Fitzgerald accepted the Carondelet Medal on behalf of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Los Angeles Province. This is the highest honor granted by the Mount and is typically awarded to those who have best expressed the values of the University and advanced its mission in an extraordinary way. As the university put it, “This year, the award went to the ones RESPONSIBLE for our values and mission at the Mount.”
St. Joseph Center, which was founded by two Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, marked 40 years of service to the community at its annual Voices of Hope gala, held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, May 7. Thanks to incredible support from a dedicated community of patrons, including 400 attendees Saturday night, the event broke all previous records and raised more than $590,000 to support the Center’s programs for low-income and homeless men, women, and children.
The Center’s “Hope Through Empowerment” Award was presented this year to St. Joseph Center supporters and prominent entertainment company Lionsgate. Steve Beeks, Lionsgate’sCo-Chief Operating Officer and Co-President of their Motion Picture Group, accepted the award on the firm’s behalf. In his remarks, Beeks noted Los Angeles’s rising homeless population and praised St. Joseph Center’s work help those most in need in our community.
The evening also cast a spotlight on individuals and families who have rebuilt their lives with St. Joseph Center’s help. The event’s titular “Voice of Hope” Award went to St. Joseph Center clients Norilda Cruz and Nelson Vasquez, who access the Center’s Food Pantry to help keep their family stable and benefit from SJC’s childcare program even as they face tests that would try anyone’s resolve and sense of hope. They have three wonderful children and were doing very well until a few years ago when Nelson was diagnosed with kidney disease. Despite the challenges this has created, they have remained committed to each other, to their children, to their faith, and to hope.
The emcee for the record-setting gala was Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, a longtime supporter of St. Joseph Center’s work.
Among the items in the night’s live auction was an autographed Kobe Bryant jersey, which sold for $3,400 after being modeled by Sister Eileen Mitchell, CSJ.
The Coalition to Abolish Slave and Trafficking honored the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, MSMU, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas as well as a survivor and advocate at its 18th Annual From Slavery to Freedom Gala held last night in Los Angeles. Sisters Rose Adrian Peukert, Catherine Marie Kreta and Joan Mary O’Dwyer accepted on our behalf.