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Sanctae Crucis Award Recipients 2008

Frank T. Kartheiser ’72

In a culture where the least among us seem more easily ignored each day, Frank Kartheiser has spent his life reminding us, by quiet and relentless example, of our responsibilities. Where there is a need, Frank has labored, indefatigably, toward its fulfillment, on behalf of those he lovingly calls, “the folks.”

Coming of age in a time of tumult, Frank has never lost his zeal for the ideals of service, justice, equality and peace—or his desire to live in solidarity with those who are suffering. His immersion into the social issues of the day began as a student at Holy Cross, when he volunteered as a drug counselor and nursing attendant at Worcester State Hospital.

In the early 1970s, he left the Hill to help found the Worcester soup kitchen, The Mustard Seed—which, over the last three decades, like Frank himself, has become a symbol of compassion and concern in the heart of contemporary narcissism and apathy. Many years later, with encouragement from his friend, David O’Brien, Frank returned to Mount St. James and, in 1988, earned his degree in religious studies.

Originally from Chicago, Frank made Worcester his hometown, turning his considerable energies toward the needs of the city and its people to his heart. As a field representative to the group Clergy and Laity Concerned (CALC), Frank brought together activists from across Massachusetts and published a newsletter reporting on social justice issues and activities. From 1984-89, Frank served as director of the Urban Ministry Commission for the Diocese of Worcester. He also served as associate director for religious education for the diocese and as a consultant for social justice and peace issues.

Those who know Frank can attest to his ability to gather individuals into a cohesive and vigorous collective and spark within it a passion that can profoundly change lives and communities. Instrumental in founding a variety of community organizations such as the Piedmont Resident Organizations Under Direction, the Castle Street Housing Cooperative and the Worcester Inter-religious Legislative Network, Frank continues to serve on the boards of YOU, Inc. and Pathways to Progress.

And today, Frank’s lifelong mission of community engagement continues as well. As the lead organizer of Worcester Interfaith, a community group he founded to serve to the needs of the poor and underprivileged, Frank challenges us daily to imagine a world that perpetually embraces the values of empathy and service.

For his passion, his temerity, his extraordinary faith and his gift for seeing Christ in the downtrodden among us—and responding accordingly—the College of the Holy Cross presents to Frank T. Kartheiser ’72 the Sanctae Crucis Award.