It was announced on Friday 23rd August that the 2015 Hugh O’Flaherty International Humanitarian Award will be awarded to Fr Sean Myers CSsR, Irish born Redemptorist Missionary in Brazil.
His nomination stated “Much of the part of Brazil to which he was assigned in 1960 was unknown, inaccessible, ignored and neglected by the authorities. He quickly became widely known as “Padre Joao”. During his parish visits to the remote villages and homesteads in the interior, he encountered people who lived in isolation, without water, often hungry, illiterate and undocumented. He found people who lived in fear of eviction, women who worried about loss in childbirth and children who spent their days tending animals. Having no deeds or proof of ownership ensured vulnerability when faced with the notorious “land grabbers” and corrupt officials.
They felt that nobody cared about them. Fr. Seán knew that nobody cared about them!
He identified with their sense of helplessness and hopelessness. He knew the value of education, good health and the necessity of water and road access. His humanitarian and Christian spirit told him he had no option but to help.”
Chairperson of the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Committee Jerry O’Grady stated “Fr Sean was selected by the Award Committee from an extensive short list of very worthy nominees, and it is indeed striking that his life history is in so many ways similar to Monsignor Hugh’s. It is incredible that at the age of 85 he continues to serve his community in Brazil and apparently has no intentions of retiring”