School’s Campus Minister Earns Award

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Sister Germaine Fritz, OSB, president of Benedictine Academy (left), is pictured with Linda Michalski, who received the “Woman of Faith, Woman of Action” Award from Newark Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (Photo courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

ELIZABETH–Linda Michalski, campus minister at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth, has been honored by the Newark Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women with its annual “Woman of Faith, Woman of Action” award. Michalski was recognized at a luncheon held Dec. 3 at the Essex County Country Club in West Orange.

Jean Schneider, council president, presented the award. She noted that Michalski is a woman who lives her faith by taking action to serve those in need of attention and God’s love. She lauded Michalski for the many ways she has exemplified her commitment to social justice and performing works of mercy, as accomplished through the Campus Ministry Program at Benedictine Academy.

Michalski leads the young women at the school in projects that truly touch those in need, said Schneider. Projects include: fighting human trafficking, the worst form of modern day slavery; drawing attention to the problem of bullying, especially in our schools; feeding the hungry, working often with the Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless; helping provide shelter and human dignity by assisting in building homes through Habitat for Humanity; raising funds to build clean water facilities in Africa. These are only a few examples of what has been accomplished through Michalski’s commitment to her faith.

Under the leadership of Michalski, the service efforts of Benedictine Academy students resulted in the school winning the National Jefferson Award- “Best New School” in 2011 for Public Volunteer Service. The Academy’s Campus Ministry Students in Action Leaders received the award during National Ceremonies for the Jefferson Awards held in the nation’s capital last June. Benedictine Academy was invited to attend the prestigious event because of the students’ exceptional hard work and award-winning programs on Anti-Bullying and Human Trafficking.

Benedictine Academy also won the 2011 New Jersey Regional Students in Action Competition, which resulted in the school receiving the GOLD Jefferson Award Medal. The Campus Ministry Student Leaders were also recognized and awarded the NJ Governor’s Jefferson Award and the NJ Make Service Count Challenge Award for their outstanding volunteer efforts in Peace & Justice.

Michalski, who served as advisor to the students on all projects, was awarded the Jefferson Outstanding Mentor of the Year Award last May. In addition to her duties as Campus Minister at Benedictine Academy, she has taught religion at the school and mentored young women for the past ten years. She is a member of Corpus Christi Parish in Chatham. She is a Third Order Dominican.

“This award really belongs to the Lord, who makes everything I do possible,” Michalski said after receiving the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women Award. “A special thanks to all of the Benedictine Academy family, and, Brother Ralph Darmento, F.S.C., Deputy Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Newark, whose support and encouragement strengthen me to do God’s will,” she stated. “Let us not forget all of my wonderful students, most especially our “Globe Changers”, Michalski added. “Together, we can and will transform our society into a more empathetic civilization.”


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