March 3, 2015

St. Paul's High School is pleased to announce Sister Lesley Sacouman, SNJM, Executive Director of the Holy Names House of Peace, as the recipient of the 2015 Ignatian Challenge Award.  


Born in Victoria, B.C. and having grown up in Winnipeg, Sister Lesley Sacouman has spent the better part of her life championing for the less fortunate in Winnipeg's inner city core and providing safe, nurturing environments for those in need. In 1963, Sister Lesley entered the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (SNJM) and eventually moved to Winnipeg's inner city in 1970, a move that profoundly changed her life. In 1976, Sister Lesley along with Sister Geraldine MacNamara co-founded Rossbrook House, a neighbourhood center that strives to ensure that "no child who does not want to be alone should ever have to be". In 1990, she helped start Anishinaabe Oway-Ishi, an educational employment training program for Aboriginal youth and in 1997 helped found Esther House, a home for women recovering from addiction. Sister Lesley currently serves as Executive Director of the Holy Names House of Peace, a refuge in the heart of Winnipeg that is a safe, life affirming home for women new to Canada. Most recently, Sister Lesley helped launch Marie Rose Place, 40 furnished, affordable apartments for newcomer women and their children.  


"It is a pleasure to announce Sister Lesley as this year's Tribute Dinner honouree," explains Fr. Len Altilia, S.J., President of St. Paul's High School. "Sister Lesley's example of tireless servant leadership and dedication to the less fortunate is a cornerstone of Ignatian pedagogy. This year, we not only recognize Sister Lesley, but also 140 years of service of the Sisters of the Holy Names in Manitoba, recognition by the Catholic Health Services of the contribution of religious women to health care and also the declaration by Pope Francis that this year is the Year of Consecrated Life in the universal Church."  


The Ignatian Challenge Award will be presented to Sister Lesley at the 22nd Annual Tribute Dinner at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg on Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015. The award recognizes individuals within our community who embrace the ideals of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, and who reflect the characteristics and qualities inherent in a Jesuit education at St. Paul's High School. Award recipients, through their leadership and commitment to service, become examples for our students of a lived faith and philosophy of becoming Men and Women for Others.


Sister Lesley joins past recipients including Dr. Arthur Mauro, Mr. Paul Albrechtsen, Dr. Michael Phelps '63, Mr. Kevin and Mrs. Els Kavanagh, Mr. Gregg Hanson '69, Fr. Joseph Driscoll SJ, Dr. Angus Reid '65, Mr. Richard and Mrs. Kathryn Bracken, Mr. Joe Stangl, Dr. William Norrie, Mr. Robert Puchniak '65, Mr. Gary and Mrs. Janice Filmon, Mr. Robert Chipman '44, Mr. James Tennant '66, Mr. Hubert Kleysen, Dr. Em?ke Szathmáry, Dr. Peter MacDonald '76, Mr. Gary Doer '66, Mr. Paul and Mrs. Carol Hill, Mr. Michael Guertin '76 and last year's recipient Mr. Larry Franz.


St. Paul's High School is Winnipeg's premier university preparatory, independent, Catholic high school, serving young men in grades 9 - 12. Since 1926, St. Paul's High School has provided an educational environment with an emphasis on academic excellence and growth of the whole person in preparing young men for post-secondary education and leadership in the community. It is owned and operated by the Society of Jesus and is part of a worldwide network of Jesuit schools recognized for excellence in education and spiritual formation.


The event is an annual fundraiser for the St. Paul's High School Bursary Program which provides need-based tuition assistance to qualified students. Bursaries are an essential aspect of a Jesuit education and provides opportunities to families who would not otherwise be able to attend St. Paul's High School because of financial constraints. Last year, St. Paul's High School awarded a record $485,000 in financial aid to qualified families.