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Maria College Honors Mary Beth Casey O’Brien with McAuley Service Award

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Mary Beth Casey O’Brien receives 2016 Maria College McAuley Service Award. Photos:  Left—Award plaque displayed in the Maria College Main Building lobby. Right—Jane Somerville RSM, ’61, Mary Beth Casey O’Brien, award honoree, and Kathleen Pritty RSM, ’66.


ALBANY, NY—At the 54th Maria College Commencement ceremony on May 15, 2016, the Catherine McAuley Award was bestowed upon Mary Beth Casey O’Brien.  She was selected for exemplifying the spirit of Mother Catherine McAuley, the Foundress of the Religious Sisters of Mercy (RSM) who founded and sponsor Maria College.

Jane Somerville RSM, ’61, Vice Chair of the Maria Board of Trustees stated, “Pope Frances proclaimed 2016 as the, “Year of Mercy”—love, kindness and unbounded generosity.  This is very fitting that we present the McAuley Award for Distinguished Service to Mary Beth Casey O’Brien. Like our Foundress, she has a special light that enables her to see the needs of others, and has an unwavering tenacity in her efforts to serve those most in need. She has made Catholic education, access to healthcare and nutrition, and serving the poor and disadvantaged her life’s work.”

Mary Beth Casey O’Brien was honored to receive the award named after a woman, Catherine McAuley, who dedicated her life to the disenfranchised and quietly brought care and kindness to the sick and poor on the streets of Dublin, Ireland where the first House of Mercy was created two centuries ago. She stated, “The Sisters of Mercy continue to teach, care for the poor, speak for those who have no voice, and continue to bring mercy to a world so desperately in need of it.  It is our duty to respect every human being no matter where he or she is on life’s journey, and our duty to respond with compassionate justice to all who are in need.”

Presently, O’Brien serves as a Committee Member of the LEO Project, a partnership between Catholic Charities USA and The University of Notre Dame designed to reduce poverty in America. She is also a Corporate Board Member of the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, Executive Committee Board Member of the Saint Peter’s Hospital Foundation, and a member of the Catholic Central High School Alumni Association and the College of Saint Elizabeth Alumni Association.

Since 1987, 21 individuals have received the McAuley Service Distinction Award from Maria College.  They include Bishop Howard Hubbard, D.D., Benita Zahn, the Honorable Mike Breslin, Liz Bishop and the Honorable Mae D’Agostino.


About Maria College
Maria College is a baccalaureate nonprofit, independent, co-educational institution in Albany, NY founded in 1958 by the Sisters of Mercy, and is one of 16 colleges and universities in the United States sponsored by the Conference for Mercy Higher Education.