The Third Branch
From left to right: Deputy Chief Judge Maxine A. White, Milwaukee County Circuit Court; Nicole Cameli, a law student and Student Coordinator for the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic; Opus Prize Winner Maggy Barankitse from Burundi; Atty. Julie Darnieder, Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic Director; and Christine Ngomirakiza from Burundi.
Milwaukee judges were among those who helped celebrate Opus Prize humanitarian award winners as part of Marquette University's Mission Week.
The Opus Prize is a $1 million faith-based humanitarian award established by the chairman of a Minneapolis construction firm to recognize those who have helped to combat social ills anywhere in the world. For the first time, eight living recipients of the Opus Prize and relatives of two deceased winners were gathered in one place to reflect on their lives and missions.
One of the stops on their visit was the Milwaukee County courts where Dr. Jo Lusi and Nadine Lusi, the husband and daughter of deceased Opus prize recipient Lyn Lusi, met with Chief Judge Jeffrey Kremers, victim advocates and assistant district attorneys. The group also observed court proceedings in Presiding Judge Mary Triggiano's Domestic Violence Court and met with Deputy Chief Judge Maxine A. White to discuss family court operations.
Lyn Lusi received the Opus Award in 2011 for her work along with her husband in establishing the Heal Africa Hospital, which provides primary care, post-rape and sexual violence counseling and safe houses in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where mass rape continues to be used as a weapon of war.
White, along with the advisory board and directors of the House of Peace in Milwaukee, co-sponsored a reception and program for the 2008 Opus Prize recipient Marguerite "Maggy" Barankitse, a woman who has seen the best and worst of humanity in Burundi, where civil war has claimed the lives of over 300,000 since 1993.
Barankitse founded Maison Shalom (which means House of Peace), a multifunctional service agency helping to heal and support 30,000 young people and families who are emerging from two decades of civil war through the establishment of children villages around the country of Burundi. This model is also being replicated in Rwanda and the Congo. In 2008, she opened a hospital in eastern Burundi.
"Despite all of their amazing work, Ms. Barankitse and Nadine Lusi were interested in and toured the legal clinic and the nursing clinic at the House of Peace in Milwaukee to learn more about how to bring these services to the communities that they serve in the war-torn Congo and Burundi," White said.
White added that Marquette law student volunteers and professors, the UW-Milwaukee nurses, the Capuchin clergy, administrators and House of Peace board members expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to share their works with world visionaries and tireless servant leaders.