Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy, or Sr. Stan as she is affectionately known, is a visionary and social innovator and a member of the congregation of Religious Sisters of Charity since 1958.
At eighteen years of age Sr. Stan, then Treasa Kennedy, decided to become a nun. Following in the footsteps of Mary Aikenhead she too was drawn to work on behalf of the poor in the towns and cities of Ireland, from stories she had heard and read about whilst growing up in the townland of Lispole in Dingle, Co. Kerry. In the 1960's Sr Stan was missioned to Kilkenny to work alongside Bishop Peter Birch in developing Kilkenny Social Services. For nineteen years Peter Birch was both guide and mentor to Sr. Stan as the Kilkenny social services developed into an innovative, comprehensive model of community care becoming a blue-print for the rest of Ireland. In 1974 the Irish Government appointed Sr Stan as the first chair of what is now the Combat Poverty Agency, and in 1985 the European Commission appointed her as trans-national co-ordinator in the European rural anti poverty programme working right across Europe. From the small townland of Lispole Sr Stan's desire to create a more equal society was moving further afield. Moving to Dublin in the early 1980's Sr Stan tackled one of Ireland's most neglected social inequalities - homelessness. In 1985 Sr Stan established Focus Point which is now Focus Ireland, the biggest national, voluntary organisation helping people to find, create and maintain a home.
In 2000 Sr Stan founded the Sanctuary, a meditation/spirituality centre in the heart of Dublin city, a place where people can find a quiet space and time for themselves to explore and develop their inner world and wisdom. In 2001 Sr Stan established Social Innovations Ireland (SII) out of which has grown two new initiatives, the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI), an independent national organisation working to promote the rights of immigrants through information, advocacy and legal aid and the Young Social Innovators of the Year (YSI), a national showcase providing an opportunity for transition year students to become involved in social issues. Sr Stanislaus has received numerous awards and tributes for her outstanding work for the marginalized in society and some of those are as follows:
1981 'Kerry Person of the Year'
1982 Honorary Doctorate in Law from Trinity College Dublin
1993 University of New York Special Honour for commitment to the disadvantaged in Ireland
1996 The Lord Mayor of Dublin's Award .
2003 Honorary Doctorate in Law from the National University of Ireland.
2004 Meteor Awards prestigious 'Humanitarian of the Year'2005 Honorary Degree of Doctor of the Open University.
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