The San Damiano Servant Leadership Award is an opportunity to honor a dedicated, faithful, service-oriented young leader answering God’s call to “rebuild the Church.”

FMS is pleased to announce Mary Grace Donohoe as the winner of the 2017 San Damiano Student Leadership Award. Her faith, service experience, and values make her a young face of the Franciscan tradition. “Christ calls us in the Beatitudes to be peacemakers—not just to exist in peaceful societies—[and that] is transformative,” says Mary Grace. Read more about this year’s awardee.

We launched the San Damiano Servant Leadership Award in conjunction with our organization’s 25th anniversary as yet another way to encourage compassionate servant leaders dedicated to building the kingdom of heaven on earth today. In addition to recognizing an outstanding young person for his or her work, the scholarship and meetings in Washington, DC help to encourage the winner to continue in and deepen his or her commitment to service.

2017 Finalists

Past Winners and Finalists

Who should apply for this award?

A college junior or senior with:

  • a commitment to values of Catholic Social Teaching
  • a commitment to personal and communal faith life
  • demonstrated and consistent service to marginalized or impoverished populations
  • demonstrated leadership that encourages others to service
  • an ability to travel to Washington, DC for the weekend of May 5, 2017 (travel costs covered and accommodations are provided)

What does the winner receive?

  • $500 scholarship
  • Trip to Washington, DC the weekend of May 4-7, 2017 with travel and accommodations provided
  • Recognition at Franciscan Mission Service’s World Care Benefit in Washington, DC on May 5, 2017
  • Two meetings with individuals or organizations in the DC area working in areas of social justice that the award recipient would like to learn more about

Application Requirements:

  • Application form, including two brief essay questions
  • Resume highlighting your service experience and any professional experience with Catholic Social Teaching or social justice
  • A reference from a peer
  • A reference from a campus minister or other Catholic service leader

Application Materials:

All application materials should be submitted to by January 6, 2017. Finalists will be announced in late January and the winner will be notified in February. Please contact with any questions.

Promotional Material

Campus ministers, service leaders, and parish staff: Please spread the word about this award by downloading and sharing the 8.5″ x 11″ posters.

San Damiano Award 2017 Poster – COLOR (PDF)

San Damiano Award 2017 Poster – BLACK AND WHITE (PDF)


Past Recipients

2016: Brandon Turner


Brandon Turner

“My prayer and faith life intersect with my commitment to Catholic Social Teaching because it answers the ‘why.’ Why must we respect the dignity of the human person? Why must we step up to protect the mistreatment of workers? Faith has taught me that in doing so, we imitate and carry on the mission of Christ,” shared Brandon, a senior accounting major at St. John’s University in New York.

In 2015, he was chosen as the St. John’s University representative at the Catholic Social Ministries gathering. Brandon is also a musician, and currently coordinates music at multiple churches in his area. For Brandon, this giving attitude and willingness to help wherever he’s needed is part of his nature. “Taking full advantage of the metropolitan and global opportunities St. John’s offers, Brandon has traveled the globe to learn, to serve, and to be an advocate,” said one of Brandon’s mentors. While at St. John’s, Brandon has participated in many service trips, including one to Lourdes, France, as well as a trip to an indigenous Ngobe community.
See the 2016 Finalists


2015: Emma Laut

Emma Laut

Emma Laut

“I know that there will always be evil in this world, and through my experiences in service and social change I will never un-see it,” says this senior biology major from Marian University in Indianapolis. “However I am also confident that I am empowered by God’s love and my faith fuels my ability to bring change.” She has worked for this change in her local community as a food fellow at Growing Places Indy, a research intern at Institute for Green and Sustainable Science, as a social justice retreat leader for campus ministry, and active member of the Catholic Worker community. She has recorded over 400 community service hours during her time at Marian.

In addition to leading others alternative break trips to the Navajo community in New Mexico, she has participated in several herself, in addition to a mission trip to Guatemala. One of her mentors describes her as an “inviter” and a “builder” who goes beyond her comfort zone, meets people where they are, and encourages a culture of service. One of her peers says that “Through her simplicity and truly genuine nature, Emma brings joy to all those who surround her.” Read more about Emma

See the 2015 Finalists