Catholic Extension honors Irish American woman for philanthropy

NEW YORK (CNS) — Loretta Brennan Glucksman, whose philanthropic efforts on behalf of charities and educational institutions has spanned three decades, received the 2022 Spirit of Francis Award from Catholic Extension.

A native New Yorker, Brennan Glucksman was honored for work in education, the arts, health care and peace initiatives in the United States and Ireland.

The award was presented Nov. 29 during the eighth annual New York City Spirit of Francis Award dinner. It is given annually to an individual or group who has significantly impacted the Catholic Church in the U.S. through service or philanthropy.

In presenting the award, Father Jack Wall, Catholic Extension president, commended Brennan Glucksman for working alongside various entities in caring for “the poorest of the poor among us.”

Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, and Loretta Brennan Glucksman, chairwoman emeritus of The Ireland Funds America, pose for a photo as she accepts the 2022 Spirit of Francis Award from the Catholic Extension at its eighth annual New York City Spirit of Francis Award dinner Nov. 29, 2022. (CNS photo/courtesy Catholic Extension)

“Loretta has asked us to live that mission and she so graciously and gracefully radiates the very spirit of Francis through her life-giving presence and care for others,” Father Wall said.

Brennan Glucksman told attendees she was “touched, honored and humbled” to receive the award.

“This award means a great deal to me, as I appreciate the breadth and depth of Catholic Extension’s work so much,” she said. “As our world gets more and more chaotic, the work of Catholic Extension and helping others in need becomes even more crucial.”

Brennan Glucksman is the chair emeritus of the Ireland Funds America, which she chaired for more than 20 years. Under her leadership, the charitable organization raised $226 million in its Promising Ireland Campaign to assist Irish charities.

In addition, Brennan Glucksman and her late husband Lew established the Glucksman Chair of English and American Letters at New York University. She also serves as co-chair of the Glucksman Ireland House, a center for Irish and Irish-American Studies at the university established in 1993.

Her other academic philanthropic work includes establishing a chair in Irish and Scottish studies at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, the Lewis Glucksman Gallery at University College Cork in Ireland, the Map Conservation Library at Trinity College in Dublin and the Glucksman Library at the University of Limerick in Ireland.

In 2002, Queen Elizabeth II conferred Brennan Glucksman as an Honorary Commander of the British Empire, the highest honor for a non-British citizen, for her work toward peace in Northern Ireland. She also has received several honorary degrees from universities in the U.S. and Ireland and is an honorary fellow of the Royal Irish Academy, The Royal Dublin Society and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Earlier she was an elementary teacher, a university lecturer in English, a television producer and an on-air host for news and public affairs with PBS.

Catholic Extension said the award is inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis and its founder, Father Francis Clement Kelley.

Author: Catholic News Service

Catholic News Service is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ news and information service.

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