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Ken Wagner Award to Sister Mary Jean


Paul Cammisa

Sister Mary Jean Petrarca accepts 2013 Ken Wagner Award for Outstanding Service.

The Emmaus 2013 Ken Wagner Award for Outstanding Service has been awarded to Sister Mary Jean Petrarca of the Sisters of Charity.

The award is given annually to someone who has shown by their actions that they serve the way Emmaus co-founder Ken Wagner served--with great humility and dedication to helping others. Sister Mary Jean was chosen by the committee for her long record of selfless giving.

Sister Mary Jean has been a Sister of Charity since 1952. She taught high school math and science for 23 years, then served as an occupational therapist for 23 years at the Pioneer School for Exceptional Children. During her tenure as an occupational therapist, she went to Korea for four months in 1983 to help the Sisters of Charity in Korea plan for the EunHae School for Children with Disabilities.

Sister Mary Jean has been serving individuals with disabilities at the Emmaus Community since 1989, with experience as a volunteer, an employee, and a board member.

The award was presented to Sister Mary Jean on May 4, at the Sixth Annual Emmaus Kentucky Derby Gala at Oakmont Country Club. To the applause of 250 guests, Emmaus co-founder Lorraine Wagner presented Sister Mary Jean with a sculpture of “serving hands,” to represent her service to others. Eighteen other Sisters of Charity came to celebrate her recognition.

According to Emmaus Executive Director Karen Jacobsen, “we couldn’t find someone more worthy of this award. Sister is always faithful, always humble, always giving. She truly deserves this.”

Anyone may nominate someone to receive the annual Ken Wagner Award for Outstanding Service. For more information, visit


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