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Mary Trinity, who’s lived a life of service since she was a teenager, was celebrated with a Gaudete Medal during St. Bonaventure University’s Commencement Weekend.
The highest honor bestowed by the university, the Gaudete (gow-DAY-tay) honors business and community leaders who exemplify the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi through their joy, hope, positive outlook on life, sincerely compassionate spirit and desire to serve humankind.
Recipients of the Gaudete, which means “Rejoice!” in Latin, have inspired, encouraged and enlightened others through their personal and professional lives.
Trinity, of Maplewood, N.J., is a 1981 alumna of St. Bonaventure. She was honored Friday at the university’s annual Thomas Merton Prayer Service recognizing senior students with significant service in mission and ministries.
A champion of the Warming House during its infancy in Olean, Trinity — as both a student and later working for Campus Ministry — helped establish a tone of compassion and acceptance for the soup kitchen patrons, a spirit now integral to the culture of service at St. Bonaventure.
Trinity’s entire career since has been defined by a profound commitment to the needs of others, from centers for battered women in Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey; to the YMCA of Newark; to her role as a board trustee for Meeting Emergency Needs With Dignity, a coalition of 18 faith-based food pantries in Essex County, New Jersey.
Trinity, who spent time in high school caring for an elderly neighbor, works today for the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence.
“Mary embraces the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare as passionately as any alumnus we’ve ever had,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., university president.
During her time at St. Bonaventure, Trinity worked closely with Fr. Dan Riley, O.F.M., who founded the Warming House in the mid-1970s.
“Mary really helped substantiate the Warming House and gave it grounding during her years here,” Fr. Dan said. “But it was more than the Warming House. She was so significant because she did an awful lot with outreach when she came back here to work, overseeing all of the coordination of student workers.”
Trinity’s husband, New York Times columnist Dan Barry, gave the keynote address at the university’s Commencement Exercises Sunday and received an honorary doctor of letters degree.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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