Awarded annually in partnership with a Catholic university, the Opus Prize is known to be “one of the world’s most prestigious recognitions for faith-based, nonprofit innovation and work.”
Explaining the merits of Sr. Mutindi in qualifying for the annual award that targets leaders in faith-based humanitarian service, the director of Opus Prize Foundation, Don Neureuther has been quoted as saying, “Sr. Catherine is working to address modern-day slavery, in children as young as 4 and 5, working in highly-toxic cobalt mines, to earn enough to feed their families that day.”
“In a relatively short period, she has transformed the lives of 3,000 children and countless adults, and literally restored their humanity. She gives them hope,” Opus Prize Foundation director added during the Thursday evening ceremony.
"An authentic Shepherd, a faithful steward, a humble servant of the Lord and a true leader of our time,” Kenyan Sr. Rosemary Karutani who has known Sr. Mutindi for the last 18 years, belonging to the same religious congregation told ACI Africa Friday, November 22.
Nairobi-based Sr. Karutani added, “Congratulations my dear sister Catherine for winning the 2019 Opus Prize. You are our shining star. Our sisters in the whole world celebrate you and Kolwezi Good Shepherd community.”
SLU, the U.S.-based Catholic, Jesuit institution of higher learning engaged students and faculty in identifying the potential winners of the US$1 million prize, a mission that targeted “individuals or organizations that are transforming lives in their communities and are motivated by faith or religion” from across the globe.
Three finalists from Kenya, DRC, and Puerto Rico were identified by the teams comprising representatives from Opus Prize Foundation and SLU ambassadors, with the winner receiving US$1 million and the two finalists US$100,000.
The finalist from Kenya, Ugandan-born Br. Charles Nuwagaba who serves as the Provincial Vicar of the Bannakaroli Brothers of St. Charles Lwanga oversees the Brothers’ primary school and vocational education program on the edge of Africa’s largest slum, Kibera in Nairobi.
From Puerto Rico, Michael Fernandez-Frey who founded Caras con Causa, an NGO that reaches out to economically poor families through education and community organization toward improved livelihood, was among the selected finalists.
Acknowledging the value of engaging the students and faculty in the vetting exercise to identify the winner, SLU president, Fred Pestello said at the prize giving ceremony, “Through their shared experiences, our students, faculty and staff have had the opportunity to see how incredibly impactful being men and women for and with others can be.”