2006 Award Recipients

The Gertrude Austin Marti Award

The Gertrude Austin Marti Award in Theology is given to a graduating senior who has given evidence of qualities of personal character and academic achievement in theological studies. This year it goes to two students with our congratulations.

Catherine Herman

In 2006, the Marti Award went to two young women. Catherine Herman (known to her friends as Cassie) has had a life at Notre Dame that can be characterized as one of unceasing activism - but not of the mindless variety, since she will graduate with a 3.8 average in Theology and Peace Studies.

During her four years here at Notre Dame she has also won three research grants to further her interests in social justice. While a resident assistant in Welsh Family Hall, she has found time to be the student leader of the campus Sant'Egidio Community, a lector and Eucharistic minister at the Basilica, a communications assistant for the Center for Social Concerns, and has, for the past year, served weekly as a cook at the local Catholic Worker House.

In addition, for three years she has been a personal care assistant for a student who has muscular dystrophy; worked as a direct care giver for mentally and physically handicapped children in the Summer of 2004 at the Casa Hogar San Pablo in Mexico; and for this past year has served as president of the Notre Dame Peace Fellowship. When Cassie leaves us she will work with the elderly poor in New York City through the agency of the Sant'Egidio Community but, in the long term, her hopes are to do the joint program in pastoral ministry and nursing at Boston College with a specialty in geriatric nursing.

Caitlin Shaughnessy

The second recipient of the 2006 Marti award was Caitlin Shaughnessy. She comes to the end of her academic study with a 3.8 average in Theology, and can look back on four years of service to the campus and community.

On campus, she has exercised leadership as vice-president of the Notre Dame Right to Life program, serving as coordinator of Respect Life Week, the March for Life in Washington DC, and Project Mom, which gathered needed items for mothers at a crisis pregnancy center. She was one of the coordinator/planners for the two-day conference called the Edith Stein Project. In the community, she has found time to work as volunteer with mentally-handicapped adults, at the Catholic Worker House, and do clerical work at the Women's Care Center and for the YWCA.

During her International Study Program in Santiago, Chile, she surveyed 123 Chilean women for a research project entitled "Factors for Chilean women in the election of a contraceptive method." She is a participant in this year's senior honors thesis, directed by Adrian Reimers, and her topic is "The Thought of John Paul II on the Vocation of Women." Caitlin will be working at the Women's Care Pregnancy Help Center in South Bend as a full-time crisis pregnancy counselor.

Cavanaugh Award

The Cavanaugh Award is given to the senior who has evidenced high qualities of personal character and academic excellence in theological studies. It  was established in 1960 in honor of Father Joseph Cavanaugh, C.S.C., former head of the Department of Theology. 

Mark Thomas

The 2006 Cavanaugh award goes to Mark Thomas, who did his work in the joint Philosophy and Theology Major. This major is equivalent to two full majors, only it includes also a joint seminar, a thesis, and at least a year of classical language. (Mark surpassed that last requirement with five semesters of Latin, three of Greek, and two Hebrew.) And he completed the program with a 4.0.

During his time of study Mark received two grants, out of which developed substantial papers. One a research and materials grant through ISLA to pursue "Contending Languages on Sexuality? The Perspectives of Evolutionary Biology and Catholic Theology" (Todd Whitmore, advisor), the other an ISLA grant for "Freedom, Salvation and the Justice of God" (Cyril O'Regan, director). On campus he has served as president of Sorin Hall, and held a seat on the Judicial Council/Executive Board, and the Student Senate Committee on Academics. He was also the student representative to our own Collegiate Committee.

To unwind, he sings in the liturgical choir, plays organ at the Basilica and piano at Sorin Hall masses, and is the radio host for 88.9, the classical music station. Mark has been accepted in philosophy graduate programs at Boston College, the University of Chicago Divinity School, and our own Notre Dame. He has made the choice to go to Boston College's program, where he has both the Presidential Fellowship through the College of Arts & Sciences and also the federal Javits Fellowship.