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Two students receive Mother Mary Paulita Morris, RSM Service Award

Students show commitment to university and community

Chicago (Dec. 2, 2005) – Recognizing their service to the university, the church and the community, Laura LeCompte and James Bruton received the 2005 Mother Mary Paulita Morris, RSM Service Award at Saint Xavier University’s Founders’ Day celebration on Dec. 2.

Each year, the award is given in honor of Mother Paulita Morris, a Sister of Mercy who served on Saint Xavier’s Board of Trustees for 24 years – longer than any other trustee. In addition to the merciful service she extended to those in need, Mother Paulita was known for her scholarship, leadership and sincere interest in people and the development of personal spirituality.

“Today we celebrate the outstanding contributions of these individuals in our community. We honor the dedication, academic achievements and strength of spirit shown by our awardees,” said Saint Xavier University President Judith Dwyer at the award ceremony in the Butler reception room on Friday afternoon.

LeCompte, a sociology major with two minors – religious studies and anthropology – “exemplifies the qualities of scholarship, leadership and active involvement in the university community with a sincere interest in people’s spirituality and well-being,” said one nominator. The Oak Lawn resident has a 3.3 grade point average.

Not only is LeCompte a member of the Service Club, but she has held several positions in it. She has been involved in peer ministry both with residential and social justice events. She also participated in several Spring Break service trips and was a Freshman Focus leader, having served on the planning committee and as an assistant for leaders. She also served as social chair, treasurer and Peace and Justice Chair on 
Christian Students for Peace and Justice, and most recently has been a resident assistant in Morris and McCarthy Halls and a peer mentor in the Freshman Seminar with Michael O’Keeffe, associate professor of religious studies.

During a semester of study at the University of Notre Dame Australia, LeCompte served as a residential representative, planning prayer services and community dinners for her house. She has also volunteered at an aged-care facility where she worked as an activity coordinator and helped with projects to build community and comfort among the residents.

LeCompte, a junior, plans to do yet another semester abroad, this time on a Native American reservation in South Dakota, where she will engage in social service work and teaching.

Bruton, a senior majoring in religious studies, is also in the Pastoral Ministry Certificate Program. He is currently vice president of the Service Club, after serving as president last year. He has participated in SXU Service Day each spring, is a member of Christian Students for Peace and Justice and the Chapel Choir. He has served as lector and Eucharistic minister in McDonough Chapel and has participated in the Campus Ministry’s Spring Break service trips since his first year. During his second year, he served as a peer minister for Campus Ministry, focusing his ministry on Bible study, liturgical ministry, and especially writing prayers of intercession for use in Chapel services.

“He is a talented presider, lector and composer of original prayers. It is difficult to think of a student who has contributed more to the spiritual well-being of his/her fellow students, and indeed the greater university community,” said one of his nominators.

“Jim has a sensitivity and depth that one usually assigns to an ‘old soul.’ He has a gentle and willing nature that invites people to share their personal pains. Jim listens with patience and compassion, offering only affirmation and encouragement in return,” one of his nominators said.

Bruton has led at least a portion of every retreat he has been on, including a Service Club overnight retreat in fall 2004, which he planned and facilitated entirely on his own. He assisted the Regina Hall Chaplain with the inaugural first-year and transfer student weekend retreat, and has assisted with prayer services in McDonough Chapel for a variety of occasions.
“Jim, like Mother Paulita Morris, carries the charism of mercy with the continuous integrity that comes with the giving of simple gifts day by day,” one of his nominators said.

Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates men and women to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.

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