A while back when I had my mini-fund raiser for St. Luke's I was talking to my next-door neighbor Louis Ramon, who was raised in Camden and attended Holy Name. He remembered sitting on the shoulders of Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ, former pastor of Holy Name and now head of Campus Ministry at the University of Scranton. Of how he took a stand against the drug dealers in the neighborhood, even when it meant there was a price on his head. Again, so many heroes.
Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, O.P. states that "the poor person is someone who is treated as a non-person, someone who is considered insignificant from an economic, political and cultural point of view. The poor count as statistics; they are the nameless. But even though the poor remain insignificant within society, they are never insignificant before God." Similarly Archbishop Oscar Romero, in a homily preached shortly before his martyrdom, said "God's reign is already present on our earth in mystery. When the Lord comes, it will be brought to perfection. That is the hope that inspires Christians. We know that every effort to better society, especially when injustice and sin are so ingrained, is an effort that God blesses, that God wants, that God demands of us."
To Lesly and her friends -- no one is nameless, no one is insignificant, and God is blessing their efforts. But of course they can always use some help. Your help. And don't think for a moment that you have to be a medical professional, or wealthy, to help. I know for a fact that the kitchen at St. Luke's, the one mentioned in Lesly's speech, is in desperate need of a floor. Anyone ;-)
After the brunch I spoke to Lesly and she told me she was excited to get the Fr. Joseph Hogan, SJ Award because... she thought that something like this might enable her to get more grants to help those at St. Luke's. Typical of this "woman for others". AMDG indeed. I'm pretty sure this is what God wants...what God demands.
St. Luke's Catholic Medical Services
511 State Street
Camden, New Jersey 08102
(Directions to St. Luke's)
The Saint Joseph’s University Alumni Association will present Lesly A. D’Ambola, D.O. ’82 with the Rev. Joseph S. Hogan, S.J. Award.
|Proud papa Dr. Samuel D'Ambola, with Hogan Award recipient Dr. Lesly D'Ambola.|
The Fr. Joseph Hogan, SJ Award acceptance speech
by Lelsey A. D'Ambola, DO, SJU '82
Thank you Tom for your gracious introduction. I am truly humbled by this award. I have so many thank-yous to say that I’ve lost count. First and foremost, I must thank God for without my faith and trust in God none of this would have happened – my journey, my calling to practice medicine, this award. To God, I give the ultimate praise and honor.
Thank you to Fr. Timothy Lannon, SJ and the National Alumni Board for this award. Thank you to my parents who worked hard and sacrificed greatly to provide my brother and me with great educations in private schools and subsequently medical schools. Thank you to the medical alumni for the honor and privilege of serving as president and vice-president of the medical alumni association. Thank you to St. Joe’s, and to some of my professors here too, for the wonderful education I received here. Thank you to the HPAC committee for supporting my application to medical school six years after graduating from here. To the Diocese of Camden and to Dr. Thomas Cavalieri, DO and UMDNJ-SOM (University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine) for supporting the Jesuit ministry of St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services. Finally, I want to congratulate Dan Gallagher, SJU '94, who just received the Ignatius award, and to thank everyone for coming today; your presence is greatly appreciated.
For the last couple weeks, I’ve been reflecting on my journey to St. Luke’s and recounting my journey as a student at St. Joe’s. Would I be at St. Luke’s if I weren’t a student here? I think not. Because little did Fr. Mark Aita, SJ, MD and Dr. Cavalieri know that there was a third entity—I call it divine intervention—working to help me get to St. Luke’s. The St. Joe’s connection is Fr. Bill Gavin, SJ, my dear friend Fr. Bill Gavin, SJ, who was the director of campus ministry here. I met Fr. Bill when I was a freshman in the beautiful little chapel in Bellarmine Hall at daily mass. With my classmate Dave Burns, Fr. Bill started the search retreats here, the longest running retreat program at St. Joe’s.
|Lesly with mentor Fr. Mark Aita, SJ, MD.|
1982 was a significant year. On a personal note, I graduated from this fine school, and joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) in San Jose, California. In 1982, the Jesuits arrived in Camden, and fell in love with and served the beautiful people of Camden and Holy Name Church for 26 years and developed a wonderful network of ministries serving North Camden and beyond. They joined the Sisters of St. Joseph who had already been there many years teaching the beautiful children at Holy Name School. The Jesuits and the sisters of St. Joseph worked well together in Holy Name School and provided 26 years of education for its students.
In his poignant prayer, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ talks about falling in love with God. In 2000, I fell in love with a wonderful organization called Holy Name of Camden-Jesuit Urban Service Team – which consisted of 5 ministries: Holy Name church and school; St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services, started by Jesuit physician Fr. Mark Aita, SJ; Camden Center for Law and Social Justice, started by Jesuit attorney Fr. Dave Brooks; and Guadalupe Family Services, founded by Sr. Helen Cole, Sister of St. Joseph and licensed clinical social worker.
|Lesly at St. Luke's in front of photos of the many happy patients over the years.|
|Dr. Susan Poserina Marcel, Lesly, and Maria D'Arcy; former SJU roomies, |
outside the Chapel of St. Joseph -- Michael J. Smith, SJ Memorial.
|44's brush with greatness ;-) Congrats Doc Lesly!|