St. Francis Assisi says, “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.”
This quote exemplifies the recipient of the St. Mary’s Ryken 2022 Theodore James Ryken award, Mrs. Beth Allen.
On Thursday, December 8, Mrs. Allen was presented with the prestigious award during a school-wide Mass to celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
The Theodore James Ryken Award was established to recognize an adult member of the school community who by their commitment and dedication lives the mission of the Xaverian charism of education and strives:
- To proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to participate in the school’s community of faith and to nurture members of the community, to be committed to academic excellence and to recognize the talents of individuals, to recognize the importance of educating the whole person, to fulfill the Gospel call to peace and justice.
When Mrs. Allen began her career at St. Mary’s Ryken as a Campus Minister, her goal was “To humbly serve God in the capacity of a Campus Minister, so I am able to reach students with the love and compassion of God; so they may learn to trust Him with the simplicity of a child and discover the zeal within to always follow Him.”
“Mrs. Allen has indeed accomplished these objectives through the enduring personal relationships she forms with students, community organizations and programs,” said Dr. Rick Wood, president of St. Mary’s Ryken. “The Building Bridges tutoring program, Wednesday meal deliveries in Lexington Park and many other service opportunities have benefitted our adult and student community. However, her legacy will be the Caritas Resource Center.”
In March of 2020, when COVID-19 was impacting the country and world in multiple ways, Mrs. Allen saw a need in our homeless community, created a vision, strengthened her partnership with Three Oaks Center and began a service opportunity that has transformed lives. Mrs. Allen, along with assistance from SMR students, staff and community members, has personally aided over 250 families moving from a shelter, tent or homeless situation and established a home for them with furniture, clothes, food, and household items. Our students are a major part of these moves and meal preparation.
Junior Liam Haley said, “any student can find community in the Caritas resource center. She has led many students to experience true humility and gratitude. Frequently, she involves SMR sports team in her moves to local areas which undoubtedly builds something greater within the team. Knowing that Mrs. Allen exhibits the compassion for all and devotes countless hours to this cause is powerful. Through her work, she opened my mind to understanding that there is more to life than what you receive, but rather what you give.”
Senior Gemma Tamburri said “I have never met a more loving, humble, and compassionate person than Mrs. Allen. I am so honored to be able to work with her because she is the best role model for how to live a Christian life and put others before yourself. She has had a significant impact on my life!”
Senior Daryus Henderson adds: “Mrs. Allen is the most beautiful soul I have ever met, and she takes care of everyone around her whether it bothers you or not. Joshua 1:9 reminds me of Mrs. Allen’s work, which basically says, Life can be full of challenges, sorrows, and tough decisions, but even amidst hardship, the Lord counsels us to be strong and courageous.”
“The work God has done through Beth is a perfect example of what happens when we love Christ, surrender to His will, and let him work through our words and deeds,” said Dean of Students, Mr. James Parker. “Mrs. Allen’s awareness of Christ’s love has allowed Him to work through her.”
“In class, when I speak of the need to encounter Christ through another person, the students always mention Mrs. Allen as an example,” said Mr. John Olon, Theology Department Chair. “No matter how skeptical they are of God and His existence, they recognize something extraordinary in her, that being the love of Christ.”
Mrs. Allen’s husband Todd and son, Bryan ‘12 were in attendance to celebrate her contributions to St. Mary’s Ryken and the entire Southern Maryland community.