Joseph A. Bodanza '49
One look at the life of Joseph Bodanza reveals a man who has taken to heart the Gospel message, Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.
Joe Bodanza has made it his business to care for the most helpless among us. His mission began years ago, when, traveling through Europe on a business trip, he took the time to organize a party for hundreds of orphaned children in Austria.
Forty years later, that calling to care for suffering children continues. Working tirelessly, using his own funds, opening his own home, Joe has brought dozens of ailing Vietnamese children to the United States for medical treatment. Joe's explanation for his efforts is simple. "I saw a human need," he says, "and I couldn't let it go by."
Joe's ministry began during a trip to Vietnam in 1995, when he met a 14-year-old boy who suffered severe curvature of the spine, the result of polio. Joe, who had suffered from polio as child, was moved to action. Contacting Shriners Hospitals for Children, Joe secured medical treatment, then arranged to have the child flown to Massachusetts for a series of life-saving operations.
That was the start of ministry that has taken on a life of its own. And though he has been called a "living saint" by some, Joe dismisses such praise and says, humbly, "God chose a poor, old man to do the job of a rich, young man."
For his call to compassion and service, for his dedication to the helpless and the vulnerable, for his example of the difference that can be made by one individual with a vision, the College of the Holy Cross presents to Joseph Bodanza the Sanctae Crucis Award.