Fr Peter McVerry is the 2022 recipient of the McAuley Medal from Mary Immaculate College. Fr McVerry was today presented the McAuley Medal by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, in recognition of his social justice activism on behalf of people experiencing homelessness.
Fr McVerry began working in Summerhill in Dublin’s north inner-city in 1974, where he witnessed first-hand the problems of homelessness and deprivation. By 1979, he had opened a small hostel to provide accommodation for homeless boys between the ages of 12-16.
Due to the ongoing absence of appropriate supports and services for young people impacted by homelessness Fr McVerry continued to respond to their needs through advocacy and the development of new services.
In December 1983 the Arrupe Society became a registered a charity, providing housing and support for young people experiencing homelessness. The charity was renamed Peter McVerry Trust in 2005 and today provides a wide range of services to people impacted by homelessness.
Professor Eugene Wall, President of Mary Immaculate College, said, “Some individuals have the power to make an extraordinary and lasting difference in the lives of others, Fr Peter McVerry is one of those individuals. Many young lives have been transformed and enriched by the work of Peter McVerry Trust which has worked tirelessly, primarily, with young people and vulnerable adults offering pathways out of homelessness.”
The McAuley Medal is named in memory of Catherine McAuley, the founder of the Catholic Sisters of Mercy, whose outstanding dedication to the most marginalised members of the community continues to inform Mary Immaculate College’s ethos. Drawing inspiration from those who have striven to make a difference in our society locally, nationally and internationally, the College instituted an order of honour in 2008 to recognise people who have made an exceptional personal contribution to advancing the welfare of the community.