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The Leonard R. Jagels Award honors the memory of former Catholic Services Director Leonard Jagels. This award is presented to one outstanding Catholic committed to charity in Southeast Michigan and the Archdiocese of Detroit. Through the individual’s work, he or she puts the teachings of the Catholic Church into practice.
Best known for being the first woman to lead Catholic Charities USA as CEO and President from 2015 to 2023, Sister Donna Markham has dedicated her life for more than forty years to reducing poverty and providing care for those at risk. Sister Donna is an Adrian Dominican sister and board-certified clinical psychologist who earned her degree at the University of Detroit. She was awarded the prestigious Harold S. Bernard Training Award from the American Group Psychotherapy Association in February 2014. Over the past several years she has been named by the NonProfit Times as one of the “Power & Influence Top 50 Leaders.”
As President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, Sister Donna Markham led the Healthy Housing effort which provided grants and technical assistance to CCSEM to enable the St Matthew Healthy Housing project to become a reality. CCUSA’s assistance during the pandemic supported many CCSEM programs, including the creation of the Center for the Works of Mercy in Detroit. CCUSA has also provided AmeriCorps VISTA members to CCSEM. Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan has grown to serve many more people because of Sister Donna Markham and her direction of CCUSA.
The Outstanding Parish Award honors a parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit committed to charity in their community. Whether through a project, a hosted program, a collection, or their dedication to social service, this parish shares Christ’s love to help better the lives of those around them.
St. Irenaeus is an active parish in Rochester Hills who is very involved in their community and with CCSEM. Throughout the year they conduct various drives and activities to encourage their parishioners to get more involved. In January, they hosted a Life Mass for their Family of Parishes to celebrate life and held a drive for Project Hope. They also provided Adoption and Foster Care and Project Hope with Easter Baskets for all families with children totaling over 160 baskets filled with toys, candy, religious items, and hygiene products. The Refugee Resettlement Program was highlighted during their Lenten mission this year, when they collected household items including pillows, sheets, cleaning products, kitchen items, and hygiene products while also doing special info nights about refugees and how their parishioners could help and increase awareness in the community. The parish team is always open to help Catholic Charities and encourage their parishioners to not just donate money or goods but also learn about our programs and get more involved by volunteering and spreading awareness.
The Outstanding Organization Award honors a Catholic group, school, or organization for their effort in a successful charitable project. With their dedication to helping those in need, they have lived the teachings of Jesus Christ and bettered their community and its members.
Strangers No Longer is a network of Circles of Support formed in Catholic parishes, congregations, and immigrant communities to support our immigrant neighbors and to advocate for a comprehensive and humane immigration policy. Working since 2017, Strangers No Longer has created over 20 Circles of Support in parishes across Southeastern Michigan ranging from Port Huron to Downriver. Seven of the Circles of Support are made up of over 60 immigrant women, who share their experiences and support each other. Additionally, youth from twelve area high schools and parish youth groups have formed a regional committee called Youth in Action for Immigration. They have been integral at La Casa Amiga Legal Clinic as they collaborate to serve the immigrants in southwest Detroit and volunteers to help Afghan refugees. Recently, they have helped set up a remote legal clinic at the Agape Center at St. Clement of Rome parish in Romeo. Strangers No Longer strives to be inclusive and welcoming to those who are new to this country and face immeasurable barriers.
Congratulations to all award recipients for sharing their Time, Talent, and Treasure with those we service throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit!