Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy, or Sr. Stan as she is more affectionately known is one of Irelandâ¿¿s best-known social innovators. She is a member of the congregation of Religious Sisters of Charity since 1958 and has dedicated her life working to blaze a trail on behalf of the poorest and most marginalised in society.
Born in The Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Sr. Stan was educated in the Presentation School Dingle, U.C.D., Dublin and The University of Manchester. At eighteen years of age Sr. Stan, then Treasa Kennedy, decided to enter religious life.
Following in the footsteps of Mary Aikenhead, the founder of the Sisters of Charity, Sr. Stan was drawn to work on behalf of the poor in the towns and cities of Ireland. As a young girl Sr. Stan noticed that there were distinctions between people, those who had a lot and those who had very little and for almost 50 years has pioneered, campaigned and developed a range of inspiring, social innovations which have benefited thousands in our community.
In the 1970s, Sr Stan helped establish Kilkenny Social Services and she co-founded the National Federation of Youth Clubs, CARE, and the School of Education in Kilkenny. In the 1980s she founded and is Life President of Focus Ireland. In the 1990s Sr. Stan established and is currently a Director of the Sanctuary, a meditation/spirituality centre in the heart of Dublin City.
Sister Stan has also pioneered other initiatives to help the community and to facilitate this process â¿¿Social Innovations Irelandâ¿¿ was set-up in 2001 out of which has grown two new initiatives â¿¿ â¿¿The Immigration Council of Irelandâ¿¿ and the â¿¿Young Social Innovators of the Yearâ¿¿ â¿¿ a national showcase providing an opportunity for transition year students to become involved in social issues. In my capacity as Chairperson of the Board of Management of Mercy Mounthawk Secondary School in Tralee, I have seen first hand the benefit students have derived from their involvement in the Young Social Innovators Programme with a group of Mounthawk students winning two categories in the 2009 Awards in the â¿¿Making our World Saferâ¿¿ and â¿¿Making our World Fairerâ¿¿ categories.
Sr Stan is also a Board member of the â¿¿Community Foundation for Irelandâ¿¿ who has as itsâ¿¿ patron President Mary McAlesee. She is also a prolific writer and some of her books include: Now is the time; Bundle of Blessings: Gardening the Soul; Seasons of the Day and in more recent times Stillness Through My Prayers.
For almost fifty years Sister Stan has pioneered, campaigned, explored and developed a range of inspiring social innovations to benefit many thousands of people who have experienced exclusion. Many awards and accolades have acknowledged her outstanding work for the marginalized in society and the inspiration she has generated.
She has received an Honorary Doctorate in Law from Trinity College Dublin, UCD and the Open University, as well as a Special Honour for commitment to the disadvantaged in Ireland from the University of New York. She received the Meteor Awards prestigious â¿¿Humanitarian of the Yearâ¿¿ award in 2004 and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the Open University in 2005. The award of Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Technology, Tralee is a fitting recognition of Sister Stanislaus Kennedyâ¿¿s dedication to improving the life of others.