On June 18, 2014 Mary Beth O’Brien was honored with the 2014 Bishop Howard Hubbard Humanitarian Award, which is given annually to a person who demonstrates a profound understanding of the plight of the poor and vulnerable and is dedicated to eradicating the underlying causes of poverty in our society. It is the highest honor that Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany can bestow on someone for service to those in need, explained Vincent Colonno, CEO, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. The Rev. Richard Gielow, CM, National Spiritual Advisor to the Ladies of Charity of the USA, was present to speak on behalf of Mary Beth. A record crowd was present to support Mary Beth and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany for their second-annual Night at the Museum event at the New York State Museum.
Mary Beth, a native of Troy, NY, has spent a lifetime advocating for and working with causes to help the less fortunate. Ladies of Charity has long been the recipient of her work, including having served as president of the local Albany Association and national president of Ladies of Charity USA. She holds membership as a Lady of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and served as a non-governmental organization representative for the United Nations on behalf of the Association of International Charities. Mary Beth has been a participating observer on the Board of Catholic Charities USA, and served on the boards of the College of St. Elizabeth, Siena College, and Maria College. She is also on the boards of The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany; St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation; Assisi of Albany; and continues with the Ladies of Charity locally, nationally, and internationally. She received honorary doctorate degrees from the College of St. Rose and the University of Notre Dame, the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from St. John’s University, the College of St. Elizabeth Humanitarian Award, and The Irish American Heritage Museum Inaugural Governor Hugh L. Carey Award for service and charitable work in the State of New York. She is currently involved in a revolutionary partnership between Catholic Charities USA and the University of Notre Dame, as part of an alliance to change the way we address poverty in America. Her family has always been a source of strength and support for her, which includes her late husband Frank, five daughters and one son (deceased) and fifteen grandchildren.
Ladies of Charity once again recognizes Mary Beth for her extraordinary leadership and example, as she consistently demonstrates profound love and care for those in need, and has helped improve the lives of countless people around the globe.