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Hour Children will use Opus Prize for housing

Sister Tesa Fitzgerald of Hour Children, NY
Sr. Teresa Fitzgerald at prayer service

Sr. Teresa Fitzgerald, of the Sisters of St. Joseph, director of Hour Children in Queens, New York, said after being awarded the $1 million Opus Prize on Oct. 16 in Spokane, that she will use the award to provide housing for the women offenders and their children, whom Hour Children serves.

The housing will be living space for welcoming women from prison as they reunite with their children.  The homes facilitate community building and interaction among the women.

The two additional finalists for the Opus Prize, Gollapalli Israel, of the Janodayam Social Education Centre in Chennai, India, and the Rev. Joseph Maier, of the Mercy Centre Human Development Foundation in Bangkok, received $100,000 each.

The awards were announced at a ceremony and community reception at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox, hosted by Gonzaga in partnership with the Opus Prize Foundation.

Michael Herzog, chair of Gonzaga’s Opus Prize Steering Committee, said “The Opus Prize Foundation intends for this philanthropic work to inspire college students, and it has provided an exceptional, broad educational experience for all those involved.” 

Don Neureuther, executive director of the Opus Prize Foundation, said Sister Tesa’s work represents the best faith-based humanitarian work being done in the world today.

“Our penchant in the U.S. for incarcerating record numbers of men and women, particularly people of color, makes this one of the great social issues of our time,” he said.  “Sister Tesa and her staff have developed one of the most successful program models in the country because they respond with passion to the needs of each woman and child, and their personal commitment is grounded in a deep faith that is lived in service to others.”

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh was grateful for the opportunities the Opus Prize has given Gonzaga faculty, staff and students to learn from some of the world’s best social entrepreneurs about how to create social change.

After the awards ceremony, Gonzaga planned two follow up events.  One was a session on Oct. 28 on “What Is a Concerned Zag to Do?  Lessons Learned and Potential Work around Faith That Does Justice.” The second at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 4, at Jepson Center’s Wolff Auditorium is a “Wrap-up: What’s Next for Gonzaga and Opus?  What’s Next for YOU?”

For information, call (718) 433-4724 x305 or 313-6095, or email

Copyright © November 2014 - The Fig Tree