Editorial: Mission week presents unique opportunities for MU students

Not every young adult has the opportunity to meet those as accomplished as the speakers visiting Marquette this week for Mission Week.

The annual series of events often gets pushed to the side in students’ hectic schedules, or it can get easily relegated to something that we “can always attend next year” if we have a particularly busy week this year.

Yes, Mission Week happens every year, but that only gives the average Marquette student four opportunities to partake in a week entirely dedicated to our university’s Jesuit identity. And while this is an annual event, each Mission Week is different. This one features 10 Opus Prize Recipients. The Opus Prize is a million-dollar award given for faith-based social entrepreneurship.

Some of the recipients include the Rev. Richard Frechette, C.P., who began the work of the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, which provides education, health care and dignified humanitarian outreach to 150,000 people each year.

Also coming to Marquette is Marguerite “Maggy” Barankitse, who founded the organization Maison Shalom. Her organization, which aims to improve conditions for Burundian children harmed by civil war, has helped heal and support 30,000 young people and their families in Burundi.

A third recipient, Aïcha Ech Channa, founded the Association Solidarité Féminine in Morocco to provide marginalized single mothers with access to child care, counseling and medical treatment.

These are only three of the many inspiring and heroic stories the Opus Prize recipients have to offer this week.

We are honored and humbled by their presence at Marquette’s Mission Week, and we commend the university and those responsible for planning these events for their work and dedication to our faith and justice-based university mission.

By attending talks on ethics, nongovernmental organizations around the world or global justice issues, you may be able to apply these lessons directly to your coursework, regardless of your religious background or beliefs. Every speaker has been hand-picked because they have something incredibly valuable to offer us.

The university is offering multiple receptions for members of the Marquette community to welcome and interact with these award-winning examples of faith in action. By meeting world-renowned activists, let alone participating in conversations with them, you might learn more than you could ever learn in a classroom.

We recommend not letting the opportunity of Mission Week slip away. Indeed, this beautiful opportunity is one of the reasons we are truly proud to call ourselves Marquette students.