ALLEGANY, N.Y. — The friars of St. Bonaventure University presented the HNP Francis Medal to Sr. Suzanne Kush, CSSF, last month in recognition of her nine years of service to the university, specifically to the Franciscan Center for Social Concern.
Close to 150 people, including roughly 60 students, attended the May 15 prayer service at which Sr. Suzanne was recognized.
“She has done an outstanding job of sharing the mission of the university as well as social teaching. She has gone above and beyond more people’s efforts, and she’s done it in a way that does not bring attention to herself,” said Francis Di Spigno, OFM, executive director of university ministries. “She tried to make sure the mission of the Church is integrated into all we do.”
Sr. Suzanne was on the staff for nine years — initially at the Franciscan Institute and the last eight as director of SBU’s Franciscan Center for Social Concern, a ministry founded more than 10 years ago through an endowment from Holy Name Province.
The medal recipient, who recently marked her 50th anniversary as a Felician sister, has taught academic classes on Catholic social teaching as well as classes for SBU’s Clare College, or core curriculum. She has run various programs and workshops through Clare College and through the university ministries department, said Francis. In addition, Sr. Suzanne has organized Spirit of Assisi commemorations and various Holocaust remembrance services. She also has served as a member of the Province’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate and of the mission committee of the AFCU, the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities. In addition, she has helped to lead pilgrimages to Italy, among other places.
Sr. Suzanne, a native of the Buffalo, N.Y., area, left St. Bonaventure on May 31 after being appointed to the council of her community. She is now stationed at her community’s motherhouse in Beaver Falls, Penn., near Pittsburgh. She became part of the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice, or Felician sisters, in 1964 as a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Province. The province was reconfigured with seven others into one North American entity, Our Lady of Hope Province, in 2009.
Joining Francis in presenting the medal to Sr. Suzanne were Kevin Kriso, OFM, and Daniel Riley, OFM, guardian and director respectively of Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat in West Clarksville, N.Y.
On June 11, a farewell gathering was held for her at SBU. A photo of Francis and Sr. Suzanne can be found on the St. Bonaventure University Ministries Facebook page.
The Holy Name Province Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are people who have displayed an uncommon contribution to the advancement of the ideals and values of St. Francis. Earlier this year, the medal was presented by Louis Canino, OFM, and by Richard Mucowski, OFM.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.