Sister Maria Nguyen receives Donaghey Award from Divine Word College
The Divine Word College Board of Trustees honored Sister Maria Nguyen with the 2016 Donaghey Award for Outstanding Service at a special Mass on Sunday, Sept. 25. Based in Epworth, Iowa, Divine Word College is a Roman Catholic seminary in the tradition of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD), which educates men and women for missionary service as priests, brothers, sisters and laypersons. For this purpose, it offers an education that combines spiritual formation, a liberal arts curriculum, language learning and mission preparation within an environment that teaches and honors the rich cultural diversity of the world.
Sister Maria recently completed 18 years as a member of the college’s board of trustees. She also helped revamp the college’s formation program and, when sisters were added to the student body, she helped with their acclimation. She also helped with the writing of the lay students’ program, the sister’s religious formation program, the men’s religious formation program, the spiritual formation program and the ministries program.
According to the rationale when her name was submitted in nomination for the award, ”She has clearly given of her own free will, whether through service, her personal resources, or a combination thereof, to the betterment of Divine Word College. Whatever has been asked of her she has done so graciously, such as helping us with surveying our students to evaluate our program and looking for educational material to provide to our students. I cannot think of anyone whom I have worked with at DWC who has helped us more than Sister Maria. She has been a gift to us in formation, for the board of trustees, as well as directly to our students.
Fleeing Vietnam in 1975, she came to the U.S., graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. and joined the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, in 1981. She received her master’s degree in medical social work from St. Louis University in 1990. Since 1994, she has worked at Fresenius Kidney Care Kansas City Dialysis and Transplant Center. “I really have a passion for any young man or young woman who is beginning their journey to religious life,” she said. “I want to support them to follow their dream to respond to God’s calling.”
Five of Sister Maria’s friends, Sisters Genevieve Robinson, Elizabeth Carrillo, Judith Sutera, Mary Beth Niehaus and Bridget Dickason, represented the Mount at the celebration, and were acknowledged with gratitude for the generosity of her Benedictine community in supporting her service to the Divine Word community.