2009 Award Recipients

Gertrude Austin Martini 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 Greer Hannan and Brendan Shea with our congratulations.

Greer is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and has been an outstanding student in the joint Philosophy-Theology major, having won an undergraduate research award in support of her senior thesis, and had two other international experiences: one an undergraduate travel grant from the Nanovic center to work as a volunteer teacher in Ukraine, and the other spending her junior year in Dublin. Her extracurricular activities fall into a number of areas. In liturgy, she has been a lector and extraordinary minister of communion, was a member of the Trinity College Dublin choir, and organized liturgies for Notre Dame’s Campus Ministry in Europe. In politics, she has been editor of The Rover, involved in NDResponse this year, a member of “The Phil” which is the oldest debating club in Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked as the undergraduate assistant for the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture. In social justice, she has been a regular volunteer at the South Bend Center for the Homeless, member of the Violence Prevention Initiative on campus, and a volunteer at Youth Horizons in an economically disadvantaged area of Dublin.

spring2009awardsdsc005412013 Award Winners Brendan Shea, Greer Hannan and Michele Sagala with Department Chair John Cavadini and DUS David Fagerberg

Brendan, who is also is one of this year’s honors thesis students, writing on Faith and Happiness in Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae, advised by our own Joseph Wawrykow and Fred Freddoso. In addition to keeping an outstanding GPA in both theology and the university, and making the dean’s list every semester he has studied at Notre Dame, Brendan has done a summer service at the Stewart House in Columbus, Georgia, a home for people with mental illness, and been a religious education teacher at two South Bend parishes, and has even tried his hand at acting in a performance of Moliere in the DPAC. He is on his way to graduate school – and I will let him tell you about that – and in preparation has been focused on language courses during his study: French, Latin, German. 

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. This year goes to Michele Sagala, with our congratulations.

Michele is a Theo major with a supplementary major in philosophy. She also is one of our senior honors thesis participants this year, writing with Jan Poorman on Sacramental Preparation with Individuals with Mental Disabilities – an Overview and Recommendations for Catechesis. That topic has remained a focus for Michele’s work outside the classroom. While still maintaining her GPA and campus activities, among them liturgical commissioner in her residence hall and working at the Campus Ministry office, she has been involved in the summers in internships at Misericordia, Heart of Mercy in Chicago, Illinois. Operated by the Sisters of Mercy under the auspices of the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, this center supports individuals with developmental disabilities. Michele has initiated sacramental preparation program there, and assisted with residential reports, and been involved with direct care of residents. I should also mention that Michele is engaged to be married to Andrew Chronister, another outstanding Theology major, and warn them about not letting theology discussions at the dinner table become too heated.