What good can come out of Spokane, Wash.?

A lot. First, Spokane's bishop, Blase Cupich, will be installed the new archbishop of Chicago on Nov. 18. Now the students of the Jesuit university in Spokane, Gonzaga, have participated in the selection process for this year's Opus Prize, the $1 million annual faith-based humanitarian award.

According to The Spokesman-Review:

A Catholic nun from Queens, New York, who runs a nonprofit devoted to helping incarcerated women and their children, won a $1 million humanitarian prize in downtown Spokane Thursday evening.

Sister Tesa Fitzgerald wiped a tear from her eye as she crossed the stage at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox to accept the Opus Prize for her organization, called Hour Children.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times over," she said. "I'm totally overwhelmed."

She was joined by the two finalists for the prize, Gollapalli Israel, who works with residents in the slums of Chennai, India, and the Rev. Joe Maier, who works to educate children and house families in the largest slum in Bangkok.

Both Israel and Maier will receive $100,000 prizes for their organizations.

The Opus Prize is presented annually to faith-based humanitarians around the world working to address social issues. Each prize is awarded with the assistance of a Catholic university whose students are involved in the selection process. This year's partner was Gonzaga University, which sent students to visit each of the finalists where they work.

There were 26 candidates for this year's prize. Each organization considered must be entrepreneurial, sustainable and faith-based.


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