Mercyhurst to honor Mercy Beyond Borders founder Sister Marilyn Lacey

A Mercy sister who has dedicated her life to making the world a more welcoming place for refugees will receive Mercyhurst College’s Archbishop Oscar Romero Award for 2010 during a visit to Erie on March 9.

Marilyn Lacey, RSM, founder and executive director of Mercy Beyond Borders, will deliver a free public lecture on Tuesday, March 9, at 8:15 p.m. in the college’s Walker Recital Hall. She’ll speak on “"Mobilizing Mercy Beyond Our Borders: An Invitation to Justice and Joy."


Sister Marilyn Lacey with Sudanese children

A Sister of Mercy since 1966, Sister Marilyn has spent more than 25 years working with refugees – persons forced to leave their homelands because of war or persecution – in the United States, Africa and Southeast Asia. For many years she directed programs for refugees and immigrants at Catholic Charities in San Jose, Calif., including helping to resettle many of the Lost Boys of Sudan. She has spent time in some of the most war-ravaged places on earth, including the Lao-Thai border, Sudanese and Somali camps in Kenya, and the Sudan. The Dalai Lama honored her in 2001 as an “Unsung Hero of Compassion.”

In 2008, she founded the nonprofit Mercy Beyond Borders to battle the stifling poverty of southern Sudan. The organization focuses on educating vulnerable women and children displaced by war and on funding small businesses the women can run. She is the organization’s one-woman marketing and fundraising staff.

Ave Maria Press released her memoir, This Flowing Toward Me: A Story of God Arriving in Strangers, in spring 2009. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sister Marilyn first visited Mercyhurst in March 2009. Since then, a remarkable relationship has developed between the college community and Mercy Beyond Borders. Many students and faculty members have undertaken service and fundraising projects to assist the group, which named Mercyhurst its “Ambassador of the Month” last June.

For more information on Mercy Beyond Borders, click here.

Mercyhurst’s Department of Religious Studies presents the Archbishop Oscar Romero Award annually to an individual "living the call of faith and justice in an extraordinary manner." The award takes its name from the late archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, who died from an assassin's bullet on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass in San Salvador. Romero is remembered for his uncompromising commitment to the poor and oppressed of El Salvador.

For information about the lecture, contact Dr. Thomas Forsthoefel, chair of the religious studies department, at 824-2353.

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