This annual endowment fundraiser celebrates individuals who exemplify the charism and values of Catherine McAuley, continue the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy, and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to our mission. This year the event was held on February 4, 2017 at Beverly Country Club. Mother McAuley honored John Coleman, Esq. with the Catherine McAuley Leadership Award, and inducted two distinguished members of the McAuley community as Life Trustees: Sister Marion “Dolly” Cypser ’63, RSM and Steve Ligda.
The Catherine McAuley Leadership Award
John Coleman, Esq., demonstrates the conviction, embodies the spirit, and possesses the influence which are the hallmarks of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy. As a litigation partner at the firm of McVey & Parsky, John has served as counsel for the administration and staff of Mother McAuley since 1999. His legal acumen and skills are coupled with a firm understanding of the Catholic Church and a deep personal faith. These are the foundation of his steadfast guidance, moral strength and support, and generosity of spirit. As described by one of his 13 siblings, “John exudes calmness. He is the guy you want on your team for any heated discussion or debate. He brings judicious assessment and peaceful accord to the table.”
The distinction of life trustee was established in 2014 to honor individuals whose contributions of time, talent or financial support has demonstrated their sincere commitment to Mother McAuley. Sr. Dolly and Steve Ligda have integrated their faith, knowledge to become successful leaders and compassionate ministers of the Mercy charism in their personal and professional lives.
For the past 38 years, Sister Marion “Dolly” Cypser ‘63, RSM, has served as the principal of St. Catherine of Siena - St. Lucy School in Oak Park. Under her leadership, the school received the Croghan Award in 2016, which is awarded to a Big Shoulders School whose students have shown the most growth between their expected and achieved scores on national tests.
The dedication of the Sisters of Mercy who taught Dolly while she was a student at Mother McAuley were the impetus for her own discernment as a religious in 1963. Since then, Dolly has committed herself Catholic service and education. She is a founding member of Amate House, a young adult volunteer program sponsored by the Archdiocese of Chicago, and has served on the boards of many social service and educational institutions. Her work with Mother McAuley included serving on the Board of Trustees for 19 years. She also has served on the Sisters of Mercy financial boards.
Steve Ligda first became involved with McAuley as a member of the Fathers Club. He later chaired the Mother McAuley Board of Trustees for five years and most recently served as a member of the academic affairs and finance committees.
Steve Ligda has always felt a call to serve, whether it be our Church, his parish, community, or our Mother McAuley family. A member of Most Holy Redeemer Parish for 45 years, Steve has served his parish and our Church in a number of roles. He is a graduate of the Archdiocese of Chicago lay ministry training program, as well as the Archdiocese of Chicago spiritual director training for Christ Renews His Parish. His dedication often led him to be called upon as counsel for various groups, including the initial Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, and delegate to the Illinois Council of Catholic Bishops. In 2012, Steve received the Archdiocese of Chicago Christifideles Award.