Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

The 2007 Opus Prize Winner: Br. Stan Goetschalckx

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

The 2007 Opus Prize Winner: Br. Stan Goetschalckx

Article excerpt

Charity Br. Stan Goelschalckx

Founder of AHADI International Institute

for Distance Learning

Tanzania

Goetschalckx's organization offers a high school education via distance learning to 25,000 refugees in Tanzania from the war-torn countries of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Another 1,000 students are receiving postsecondary job-related training. AHADI is a Swahili word meaning "working toward the fulfillment of a promise." Two finalists for the 2007 award will receive $100,000 each: Fr. John Adams, president of Washington, D.C.-based SOME (So Others Might Eat), and the Homeless People's Federation Philippines, represented by executive director Vincentian Fr. Norberto Carcellar.

As Gerald Rauenhorst was shaping his vision for the faith-based, $1 million Opus Prize, he drew inspiration from two giants in the world of religious philanthropy: Mother Teresa and financial investor Sir John Templeton.

He and his wife, Henrietta, met Mother Teresa in 1981 when she received the Pere Marquette Discovery Award, Marquette University's highest honor.

"I remember it so vividly," he said of their meeting. "She had just opened a new house in the Bronx, and I said to her, 'Gee, you do so" much for the very poor people in India. Why do you have to help the people in New York? This country is well-off.'

"'Oh, no,' she said. 'It's much more difficult in America than in India. In India, I can take a man off the street, and he can die happy because he has his spirit. In New York, it's much more difficult. He's lost his spirit.'

"Which amazed me," Rauenhorst added.

Inspired by the meeting, he began to conceive of a prize that would encourage and boost the work of people who transform the lives of others by fighting poverty, illiteracy, hunger, disease, injustice and other social problems.

The award was first given in 2004, to Msgr. …

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