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.”

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.

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 April 27, 2018 (travel costs covered and accommodations are provided)

What does the winner receive?

  • $500 scholarship
  • Trip to Washington, DC the weekend of April 26-29, 2018 with travel and accommodations provided
  • Recognition at Franciscan Mission Service’s World Care Benefit in Washington, DC on April 27, 2018
  • 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:

The deadline for the San Damiano Award Application has been extended to January 31, 2018!

All application materials should be submitted to by January 31, 2018. 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 2018 Poster

Past Recipients

2017: Mary Grace Donohoe







 “Christ calls us in the Beatitudes to be peacemakers—not just to exist in peaceful societies—[and that] is transformative,” says Mary Grace. About to complete a degree in International Relations and Religious Studies at Stonehill College in Massachusetts, Mary Grace is on fire about her faith, service, and being a peacemaker in her daily life. FMS is proud to announce Mary Grace as our third San Damiano Servant Leadership Award recipient.

This year’s awardee served on a water-production project with HOPE, Stonehill’s service immersion program in Chacraseca, Nicaragua, where she created a structure that was locally-staffed to empower the community and ensure the project’s sustainability. Working and living alongside migrant farm workers in Apopka, Florida, Mary Grace was inspired by their generosity and courage, saying, “There is a tremendous amount of strength that you don’t really see in many communities when your your life isn’t on the line for your children, your job, or for your family.” Most recently, Mary Grace worked as an administrative assistant at Bridge Women’s Support Center in Queens, New York, where she connected low-income families with food and shelter resources. Read more about our most recent awardee.

2017 Finalists

Past Winners and Finalists

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