On May 5th 2017 the Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University held their Annual Evening of Hope fundraiser. Each year the Ladies of Charity select one woman who sustains a commitment to providing opportunities to persons in need and who exemplifies the vision and the mission of St. Louise de Marillac. This year the Ladies of Charity honored Susan Gordon Ryan with the Spes Unica Award.
Susan contracted Polio at the age of 18 months and her personal struggles made her determined to help others. She worked as a special education teacher and later transitioned into a corporate environment where she worked at the New York State Parks on special projects. It was at NYS Parks where Susan led a team that planned a 4-day athletic competition called “THE GAMES” for the physically challenged. This event enabled young athletes who were different from their mainstream friends the opportunity to participate in various sports like track, field, swimming and even equestrian events. She said, “It was the one place where they are the norm and it was a wonderful event for all involved.” Today, this event draws over 1,000 participants each year.
Susan, together with the Ladies of Charity at St. John’s University, focus on issues concerning women and children. Susan believes when we help others we end up developing our own innate skills which help us create organized and effective structures which enable us to provide service to others in area such as sustainable development, in education and literacy programs for women and children and for ending violence against women.
St. Louise was a woman of energy, intelligence, willpower and devotion. Louise’s spirit lives on today in women such as Susan Gordon Ryan.
Congratulations Susan, the 2017 recipient of the Spes Unica Award!