Megan McKenna, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace, was awarded the Isaac Hecker Award at the Paulist Center in Boston on January 28. Since 1974, the Paulist Center Community has presented the Isaac Hecker Award for Social Justice to an outstanding North American Catholic. Recipients of the award have included locally and nationally recognized women and men — lay people, sisters, priests, and bishops. Some have been involved in direct service to those in need, others in advocacy work and the transformation of structures and institutions.
Below is an excerpt from the ceremony where Megan was honored:
This evening, we honor both Isaac Hecker and our Catholic social teachings as we present this treasured award to Dr. Megan McKenna. Megan is an internationally known author, theologian, peace and justice advocate, poet, photographer and most of all, a storyteller. She teaches at several colleges and universities, conducts retreats, workshops and parish missions. She works with Indigenous groups, base Christian Communities, and justice and peace groups as well as in parishes, dioceses and religious communities. She served on the United States National Board of Pax Christi and in 2002 was appointed a Pax Christi Ambassador of Peace.
Like Hecker, Megan is a missionary who bridges the gap between faith and culture. In her travels around the world, she meets and embraces contemporary culture presenting the gospel message in compelling ways that give voice to fundamental 21st century issues. A prolific author – sorry, Isaac… Megan just sent off her 50th book to a publisher! – she uses her multiple skills to communicate the meaning of the Word of God for today’s world and to help deepen our understanding and enhance the nuances of “social justice” in our time.
Grounded in and informed by the meaning of Scripture, Megan’s writing tackles many of the issues of our day – much like the call of the 99% to reorder priorities, redistribute wealth, and attend to basic human needs. She addresses the ever-widening economic and resource gaps nationally and internationally, the role of women in church and society, and the global challenges for use of our natural resources. She offers a blueprint for contemporary analysis and action for social justice.
Megan says that foremost, she is “a lover of words: the Scriptures, stories and tales, poetry, images and phrases spoken aloud, written down and spun to make meaning and how these both convert and transform us and bring meaning and hope to the world.”
As we grow in understanding of the Word of God, we learn more about what it means for us to act justly in the world. Megan’s work and example call us all to tell our faith stories, of how God touches our lives, of how this faith community sustains us, how we feed the hungry, advocate for those without a voice, welcome those on the margins, work in solidarity with remote villages in Central America, and promote the role of women in our church and in society…
Pax Christi USA congratulates Megan on this award! Megan’s book, She Who Brings Peace, is available from the PCUSA store. Click here for more information.