Section title text:  Archived News.

Staff of FCJ Refugee Centre, Toronto, honoured
during the Centre's 15th anniversary year.

It was fitting that three members of the FCJ Refugee Centre staff were honoured for their work by two different organizations.

Photo of Loly receiving award.       Photo of participants at the awards ceremony.

On November 21, 2006, Francisco Rico-Martinez and Loly Rico (Co-Directors of the FCJ Refugee Centre and Companions in Mission) were awarded the Peace Medallion by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) during their annual Peace Week:  Every year during World Peace Week, the YMCA of Greater Toronto stages the Peace Medallion Awards which celebrate and promote peace by honoring peacemakers in our communities. Anyone who has met and worked with Francisco and Loly agree that they are more than deserving of this award.  As a couple, they have dedicated their lives to welcoming the stranger in our midst.  As founders, with the FCJ Sisters, of the FCJ Refugee Centre, they are tireless in their efforts to keep the doors of Canada open to all who are in need of protection.  As they see it, there can be no peace as long as one person is deprived of their human rights.

Photo of Lois Anne speaking.On November 23, 2006, Lois Anne Bordowitz FCJ received the Amino Malko award from the Canadian Centre for the Victims of Torture (CCVT).  The Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture aids survivors in overcoming the lasting effects of torture and war. In partnership with the community, the Centre supports survivors in the process of successful integration into Canadian society, works for their protection and integrity, and raises awareness of the continuing effects of torture and war on survivors and their families. The CCVT gives hope after the horror.  The Amina Malko Award is named after a refugee woman who was among the first staff of the Centre and who died from cancer.  The award is given to a woman with refugee experience who has significant experience in policy, advocacy and settlement service for newcomers.  In her acceptance remarks, Lois Anne acknowledged the great support she received from her community throughout her life’s work for justice. 

The citation:

Photo of Lois Anne with award.Sr. Lois Anne Bordowitz’s life has taken her to many places.  She has taught high school in Toronto, worked with churches in their sponsorship of Vietnamese refugee in Calgary, worked at the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice in Toronto, and lived in Sierra Leone, West Africa, for ten years.  The time she spent in Africa affected her profoundly.  While there, she was involved in the training of community leaders for pastoral and social participation.  The Civil War that began in 1991 finally forced her out in 1994, mainly out of safety concerns.

In 1996, she started working full time for the FCJ Refugee Centre.  Her roles in the Centre have been varied.  For the past four years, however, she has been going regularly to the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre as part of the Toronto Refugees Affairs Committee.  There she is a facilitator and advocate, providing information and connecting detainees with government officials, legal assistance, and their relatives, among others.   Her interaction with detainees conveys precisely that comfort with an emphasis on justice and empowerment.  Lately, in her role as the Centre’s Communications staff person, she is responsible for coordinating public presentations and workshops, as well as maintaining and updating the Centre’s website.

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Our little Society has for its end
     to glorify the heart of Jesus
           by  every means in its power ...     (Marie Madeleine)