February Report from Kate Barrett, Endowed Chair in Catholic Identity: Sr. Amata Miller Catholic Mission in Action Awardees

This award is given to a faculty and a staff member who have demonstrated a commitment to the Catholic Mission of our University through their presence, work, service, scholarship, and/or teaching.  This person contributes toward building a welcoming campus community grounded in the charism of the CSJ’s, Catholic Intellectual Tradition, and Catholic Social Teaching.

Syneva Barrett and Thelma Obah were the recipients of the 2017 Sr. Amata Catholic Mission in Action award.   The following are excerpts from their peer nominations.

Syneva Barrett pictured with her 2017 Sr. Amata Miller Catholic Mission in Action award

Syneva Barrett pictured with her 2017 Sr. Amata Miller Catholic Mission in Action award

Syneva Barrett practices something she calls radical hospitality.  Radical hospitality means stopping what she’s doing to greet an unexpected visitor no matter what’s on her to-do list, welcoming a new staff member, providing a homemade chili lunch to everyone that works in the same building.  It means welcoming guests with not just a smile, but a hug and a squeeze and looking straight into their eyes while saying “Welcome!  I’m so glad you’re here”. Radical hospitality means humbly reading inside and outside of St. Kate’s for guidance and support.  It means listening to a woman who has experience incredible hardship, crying with her, valuing her knowledge, and committing to sparking social change together.  Radical hospitality is inviting everyone who has ever contributed to her program including cleaning staff and the university president to a gratitude coffee break.  It’s talking time to address each individual person by saying “Thank you for all you do”.

Themla Obah pictured with her Sr. Amata Miller Catholic Mission in Action award

Themla Obah pictured with her Sr. Amata Miller Catholic Mission in Action award

Thelma Obah is active in her Catholic faith and community, and she has been engaged in and supportive of the catholic mission at St. Kate’s for many years.  For Thelma, being Catholic is more than attending Mass, it is also demonstrated by her actions and philosophy of compassion and caring.  Thelma lives her faith through her deep respect for and support of students, staff, faculty, and the entire University community.  She is thoughtful, respectful and inclusive.  She is an incredible example of grace, poise, and thoughtfulness.  Her desire to help all students, especially those at greatest risk, is always apparent tin her actions and work.  Thelma is an incredible example of how supporting our Catholic Mission can be lived and shared with the St. Kate’s community and beyond.