UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, OH – Kristen Trudo (Loyola Marymount University ‘14) has been named a recipient of the Moira Erin O’Donnell Emerging Leaders for Justice Award, created by the Ignatian Solidarity Network in partnership with the family of Moira Erin O’Donnell. Sara Beste (Boston College ‘05, Creighton University School of Medicine ‘09) and Danny Swan (Wheeling Jesuit University ‘09) join Trudo as 2016 honorees.
The O’Donnell Award recognizes young adults who have received an undergraduate degree from a U.S. Jesuit university and demonstrated significant social justice leadership in their communities. The 2016 awardees will be honored at the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice on November 13, 2016.
Moira Erin O’Donnell had only served as ISN’s executive director for less than a year when she passed away suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 33.
While her time in service to the Ignatian family was brief, her exuberance and passion for the work of justice can serve as an inspiration for future decades of emerging leaders. In honor of the 10th anniversary of Moira’s passing on October 9, 2005, the Ignatian Solidarity Network, in partnership with her family, has established the annual award to recognize social justice leaders exemplifying a similar commitment to justice in the Ignatian tradition.
Kristen Trudo is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University (‘14). After graduation she moved from her hometown just outside of Los Angeles to work in St. Louis, Missouri as a Jesuit volunteer.
Finding herself frustrated by oppressive structures in the predominantly white organizations around her, Trudo, as a queer, person-of-color, began to challenge those organizations to do more, and to be better for the oppressed populations they walked with. Her experience as a St. Louis resident challenged her to reflect more deeply on the ways in which she is privileged, and not. And with her background in writing, her reflections began to spill onto the page; and were subsequently featured on the Ignatian Solidarity Network’s website. Trudo also began organizing a working group on racial justice and inclusivity at her JVC placement, challenging leadership to consider how they might better serve their almost entirely black student population. Her experiences in St. Louis, and the wonderfully thoughtful, patient, and powerful individuals she has walked with, have inspired reflection and writing on black liberation, the oppression of LGBTQIA+ identifying folks, and the complicity and responsibility of the Catholic Church in the oppression of these groups. Trudo hopes to continue writing and finding her place in the work to dismantle systemic oppression, especially as it related to the liberation of black lives.
“In a time when faith communities must embrace difficult conversations about race,” shares Christine Dragonette, Director of Social Ministry at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church, “Kristen has emerged as a leader within the Ignatian family, helping to guide the conversation and presenting opportunities for action.”
Trudo is currently a maker-of-coffee and coffee-adjacent drinks at Rise Coffee House in St. Louis, Missouri, in addition to being a Graduate Support Advisor at De La Salle, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to supporting La Salle Middle School, a public charter school in St. Louis City, working to enhance the educational experience of its students, where she has taken action to expand her job description to include racial justice and inclusion work.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network promotes leadership and advocacy among students, alumni, and other emerging leaders from Jesuit schools, parishes, and ministries by educating its members on social justice issues; by mobilizing a national network to address those issues; and by encouraging a life-long commitment to the “service of faith and the promotion of justice.” ISN is an independent lay-led 501(c)(3) organization.