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2019 Individual Award Recipient: Fr. Joseph Mattern

Fr. Joe Mattern with Ghandi, King, Mother TheresaAt the 2019 ESTHER banquet on November 3, ESTHER Presented its Individual Award to Fr. Joseph Mattern, Director of Casa Esther and ESTHER president. As his term as president ends on December 31, he culminates – but, we hope, does not conclude! – a period of outstanding and deeply appreciated service to ESTHER.

Father Joe is what could be called a “spiritual entrepreneur,” and he has brought the qualities of hope, experimentation, and hard work to his involvement with ESTHER and the wider WISDOM/ Gamaliel network. Balancing his responsibilities to ESTHER with those to Casa Esther, the Catholic Worker House in Omro that he founded and serves as director, along with his musical commitments (flute and saxophone, mostly jazz), he exhibits high energy and a deep spirit of service.

Catholic social teaching, with its preferential option for the poor, has been at the heart of his work on behalf of ESTHER. We have been able to count on his commitment to challenging injustice, showing compassion, and working for change. He has led WISDOM and ESTHER in echoing the Gamaliel Foundation’s emphasis on work for racial equity. Always ready with an apt prayer or meditation to start a meeting, always mindful of the needs of individuals in the midst of organizations, always ready to step forward when asked, Fr. Joe has been an exemplary member and leader of ESTHER. We are grateful!

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