Sparkling within the blue-tinted, Winter Wonderland-themed ballroom, young women dressed in snow-white gowns were honored for their caring service.
The bright spotlight shined on the 122 candidates as they were presented before Bishop David A. Zubik on Nov. 28 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh, Downtown. He presented each a St. Joan of Arc medallion at the 51st Medallion Ball, hosted by St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind.
The mission of St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind is to encourage and inspire a lifetime commitment of volunteer service in young women. The event honors those who have made valuable contributions to their community through volunteer service by awarding them the silver medallion.
Since 1964, more than 4,500 young women have volunteered more than 500,000 hours. In the past 51 years, St. Lucy’s Auxiliary has contributed more than $3.2 million to the visually impaired in our community.
“One has only to look around this evening to witness the confidence, maturity, faith and dedication of this year’s honorees,” Zubik said. “We are blessed by their presence this evening as they are presented with the Joan of Arc medallion. That medal signifies other important traits of strength, courage, bravery and fidelity. Certainly through their dedicated service, we can see a glimpse of the strength of Joan of Arc herself, who sacrificed her very life for her faith.”
This year’s candidates volunteered more than 23,000 hours.
Clare Mortenson, a senior at Aquinas Academy, gave her time at Healthsouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital. “This night means so much because many of the women in my family who have been presented at the Medallion Ball,” she said. “They helped start this event.”
A couple familiar with the meaning of service is Mario and Nathalie Lemieux. They were on hand to recognize their daughter Alexa Lemieux, a senior at Oakland Catholic. Her sisters, Stephanie and Lauren, were previously presented.
“This is such a beautiful event,” said Nathalie Lemieux. “For us, volunteering and helping others is important to our family. Seeing all the girls in their white dresses, it’s like preparing for a wedding, only you get to take your daughter home with you.”
Supporting the hard work and dedication of these young beauties were St. Lucy’s president Jan Swanson Kubiska and chairwomen Rebecca Freyvogel Mousseau (she and four sisters have been presented) and Sarah Hanna White (she and two sisters have been presented) with husbands Derek Mousseau and Andrew White.
Also present were Katherine Donahue Freyvogel, Dame of Malta and Thomas J.M. Freyvogel Jr., Knight of Malta; Helen Hanna Casey, Dame of Malta, and Steve Casey; the Knights of Columbus color corps, Patrick and Kelly Reilly, Hoddy and Mary Anne Hanna, Paul and Julie Giba.
Plus, Roseanne Wholey; Karen Boston, presentation committee chair; Terry Jancisin, floor committee chair.
Medallion girls included Katelyn Donnelly, Kara Shannon, Abigail Bissell and Alexandra Foster. Also presented was Greta Vershaw, whose sisters Louisa and Emma previously were Medallion girls.
Spotted were Annie Hanna Cestra andDennis;Annie Hanna Engel and Gus; Edyce Rizzi; Athena Bober; Linda Liotus; Ed and CeCe Kapron;Jacinta Dvorak O’Connell; and Gretchen R. Haggerty, a former U.S. Steel executive vice president and CEO, with Jim and their daughter, Margaret Haggerty.
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7889 or [email protected].