News
Selecting Opus Prize Winner Yields Rewards for Creighton University Students

January 10, 2017 — “It is in giving that we receive,” St. Francis of Assisi once said, and Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., recently learned the true meaning behind those words by selecting the $1 million Opus Prize winner for 2016. The Opus Prize Foundation awards the prize annually to a faith-based nonprofit while delegating its selection process to a different Catholic university every year.

Creighton University served as host for the prize in 2016, which meant that students, faculty, and board members at the school were involved in narrowing down a list of nominations to the top three, performing due diligence, and conducting site visits to select the winner.


Sarah Lance, left, co-founder of Sari Bari, a nonprofit in India helping former sex trade workers learn new skills

The theme was “Restoring Hope, Lighting the Way Home,” a common thread connecting the work of the three finalists: Sari Bari, Jesuit Worldwide Learning — Higher Education at the Margins, and Cana Communities Inc. The top prize of $1 million went to Sari Bari, and the runners up received $100,000 each. But for the Creighton students and faculty involved, the selection process was its own priceless gift.


Sr. Anne Jordan, PBVM, recently retired as CEO of Cana Communities.

Creighton University junior Josh Nichols paired up with renowned photographer Jesuit Fr. Don Doll in Australia, India, and Africa to document the three finalists, creating a four-minute video on each one. Nichols was struck by Sr. Anne Jordan and Cana Communities Inc., a group of overnight shelters and homes, including farms, in Australia. Cana offers a community to ex-convicts and former addicts, "people no one else wants to work with," said Nichols.


Jesuit Fr. Peter Balleis, right, of Jesuit Worldwide Learning — Higher Education at the Margins

Another Creighton student, Selina Marshall, traveled to Lilongwe, Malawi, to meet Jesuit Fr. Peter Balleis and observe his work with Jesuit Worldwide Learning — Higher Education at the Margins. This organization has brought a Jesuit university education to a refugee camp through partnerships with Jesuit universities, which provide online courses. "I realized how crucial educating individuals in these communities is," Marshall said.

"This trip lit a flame within me," said Delaney Ellfeldt, a Creighton senior who traveled to Kolkata, India, to meet Sarah Lance, co-founder of Sari Bari. "[It] changed me by opening my eyes to the world of sex trafficking." The nonprofit teaches former sex trade workers how to sew and sells their wares online, allowing the women to earn a salary and benefits.

Jesuit Fr. Daniel Hendrickson, president of Creighton University, presented the award to Lance and Sari Bari at an award ceremony in November that recognized all three finalists. The week leading up the prize announcement offered broader opportunities for those who did not participate in the vetting process. Representatives of the three finalist charities spoke on panels, visited classrooms and participated in public events, such as an interfaith prayer service, at the university.

“Of myriad social service agencies and charities around the globe, these organizations were chosen because they have developed creative, faith-filled solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems,” said Fr. Hendrickson. “As the host institution, we at Creighton University have been witness to their life-changing work.”

Watch all four videos created by Fr. Doll and Nichols.

[Sources: Creighton University Magazine, Omaha World-Herald]





Recent News

May 21, 2018 — Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, capped off the second day of his trip to Canada with a visit to Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ontario, which honors six Jesuits and two lay martyrs from the 17th-century missions.

May 14, 2018 — The Heider Family has made an $8 million gift for the building of a new student learning commons in honor of Fr. Timothy R. Lannon, SJ.

May 11, 2018 — The university hosted its fifth annual climate change conference in March.

May 10, 2018 — Lucas Schroeder has been named as the next principal of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, effective July 1, 2018.

May 7, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Father Howard J. Gray, SJ, who died at 12:15 p.m. on May 7, 2018, at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Mich. of complications from a car accident. He was 87 years old. May he rest in peace.

May 7, 2018 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Father Robert J. Ochs, SJ, who died on May 4, 2018, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 88 years old. May he rest in peace.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Jesuits Spring 2018

Jesuits Fall/Winter 2017

Jesuits Summer 2017



Creighton University Retreat Center
Located 45 miles east of Omaha, Neb., in rural Iowa, the Creighton University Retreat Center is situated on 154 wooded acres on the Nishnabotna River.