Newswise — ST. LOUIS — Saint Louis University and the Opus Prize Foundation invite the St. Louis community to join the campus family in learning from, praying with and honoring the three finalists for the Opus Prize, one of the world’s largest and most prestigious awards for faith-based, nonprofit innovation and work.

The 16th annual Opus Prize ceremony, the capstone event of the multi-day celebration of social entrepreneurship, is Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Center for Global Citizenship at Saint Louis University. The winner of $1 million award and $100,000 prizes for the two finalists will be announced at the event.

The prize for innovative humanitarianism is awarded each year in partnership with a Catholic university. Past host universities include the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, The Catholic University of America, Marquette University, Gonzaga University and the University of Portland.

“During a time when our communities are searching for signs of hope, we are reminded through the Opus Prize Award and the Finalists this year that it is possible, especially motivated by faith, to join together to address the world’s problems,” said Christopher Collins, S.J., special assistant to the president for mission and identity. “Students, faculty, staff and alumni of Saint Louis University regularly strive to be in service to humanity. Hosting this award draws our attention to the love we can all bring to the world and the call to be men and women for and with others.”

Saint Louis University sent students, faculty and staff to the three finalists’ home countries this spring to witness firsthand the work of the leaders. The 2019 finalists come from Puerto Rico; the Democratic Republic of Congo; and Kenya.

The finalists will be at Saint Louis University the week of Nov. 17-22 for the week-long celebration and recognition of their work. The finalists for the 2019 Opus Prize are:

Michael Fernandez-Frey, founder and director of Caras con Causa (Faces with a Cause) - Caras con Causa is a non-governmental organization (NGO) serving economically poor families in communities bordering the Bay of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Caras con Causa is committed to children’s education, restoring the wetlands after the hurricane, and organizing communities to protect themselves against the destruction of their homes by the government.

Sr. Catherine Mutindi, founder of Bon Pasteur - Sr. Catherine started the organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo after being invited by the local bishop to come to the city of Kolwezi to work with widows and orphans. Bon Pasteur addresses alternative livelihoods to mining, including farming; gender violence and the physical abuse of children; child protection policies and schooling for children; and civic strengthening given the “gold rush” environment of the mining entities.

Brother Charles Nuwagaba, Provincial Vicar of the Bannakaroli Brothers of St. Charles Lwanga - Brother Charles oversees a primary school and vocational education program run by the Brothers of Charles Lwanga on the edge of the Kibera slum, the largest slum in Africa. The primary school currently enrolls 280 students and 260 young people, including teenage mothers who are enrolled in vocational programs. The vocational programs are an effective strategy in alleviating poverty and include programs in motor vehicle maintenance, hairdressing and beauty, hospitality, computer technology and more.

During the week of Nov. 17-22, SLU will host several free events that are open to the public.

  • Panel Discussion with Finalists - The public will have an opportunity to learn about the work of the three finalists at a panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the Cook Auditorium in the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business.
  • Ecumenical Prayer Service - A Taize’ Ecumenical prayer service will be held at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Aquinas Institute Chapel. Parking is available in SLU’s Laclede Garage. A dessert reception will follow. To register:
  • Award Ceremony - The award ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, at the Center for Global Citizenship, with a reception to follow. Parking is available in SLU’s Laclede Garage. To register:

The Opus Prize Foundation

The Opus Prize Foundation is a private and independent nonprofit foundation. Established in 1994 by the founding chairman of earlier Opus Companies, the Opus Prize Foundation is a self-sufficient foundation independent from The Opus Group. The foundation selects universities as partners to organize and execute the Opus Prize selection process and award ceremony. Through these partnerships, students are challenged to think globally and inspired to live lives of service.

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of more than 13,500 students on campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of nearly 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.


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