Professor Maura Tyrrell Honored

January 20, 2012

On Friday, January 20, during the Congregation of Holy Cross' celebration of its founder, Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., Biology Professor Maura Tyrrell was presented with the 2011 Spirit of Holy Cross Award. The award acknowledges the critical importance of collaborators in living out the vision and mission of Fr. Moreau, to make God known, loved and served in education, parish and mission settings. For more on the Congregation's celebration of Blessed Basil Moreau, visit here.

Award recipients were announced back on September 15, the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows and the Patronal Feast Day of the Congregation. All nine recipeients are being recognized in their local communities this month by the Holy Cross ministry for which they work or serve.

Tyrrell was named the first Rev. Francis J. Hurley, C.S.C. endowed chair and professor of Biology last year. The late Fr. Hurley, known as the "father of biology" at Stonehill, was credited for being ahead of his time in encouraging women in the sciences, so it was only fitting when Tyrell was named to be the first endowed chair established in his honor.

Around campus and amongst the Holy Cross community at Stonehill, Tyrrell is known for being not just a knowledgeable scientific professor, but also an educator in the faith who values Stonehill's Catholic identity and works hard to maintain and deepen it.

In her 36 years at Stonehill, she has worked to educate both the heart and the mind. In 1991, she received Stonehill's Louise F. Hegarty Award for Teaching Excellence and the Sears-Roebuck Foundation award for Campus Leadership.

For the past ten years, she has worked with colleagues and students on a fungal genetics and ecology project that has produced two published and two submitted papers.

A Stonehill student in 1960-1961 and later a graduate of Trinity College, now Trinity Washington University, she completed her doctorate in Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware, specializing in marine biology.

Tyrrell and her husband, George, who is assistant director of Technology Services at Stonehill, have three children and two granddaughters.

"Using the Holy Family as a model, Blessed Basil Moreau built his Congregation to include lay men and women as collaborators," said Provincial Superior Rev. David T. Tyson, C.S.C. "This indelible model has been in place for 174 years, fulfilling not only Basil Moreau's vision, but God's mission. Around the world, thousands of lay collaborators work side by side with us every day in our schools, churches and ministries providing valuable support and service. Just as our Constitutions call on us to be, Holy Cross is one community working together to ‘spread the Gospel ... for the development of a more just and human society.' "

The other recipients for the 2011 Spirit of Holy Cross Award include:
• Robert Coccagna: Volunteer, André House; Parishioner, St. John Vianney Parish, Phoenix

• María Jesús Egaña: Executive Director, Fundación Moreau; Campus Ministry, Saint George's College; Santiago, Chile

• Margaret Lammers: Director of Nursing (retired), Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind.

• Elizabeth Marley: Dining Room Assistant, Holy Cross Community at King's College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

• William O. Reed: Director of University Events, University of Portland, Portland, Ore.

• Joseph A. Russo: Director of Student Financial Strategies, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.

• Julieann Smith: Parish Sacristan, Parishoner and Volunteer, Holy Cross Parish, South Easton, Mass.

• Marion Woods: Dining Room Assistant, Holy Cross Community at King's College, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

About The Congregation of Holy Cross
The Congregation of Holy Cross is a Catholic religious order formed in 1837 in the little town of Sainte-Croix, (which translated means Holy Cross) France when Blessed Basil Moreau, C.S.C., joined a group of parish priests with a band of teaching brothers to fill the educational and spiritual void left by the upheaval of the French Revolution. Today there are approximately 1,500 Holy Cross religious working to educate both the heart s and minds of believers of Jesus Christ in 16 countries and on five continents.

The United States Province of Priests and Brothers is made up of nearly 500 priests, brothers, and seminarians and is headquartered in Notre Dame, Ind. The Province fulfills the original vision of Blessed Basil Moreau to make God known, loved and served. The priests and brothers serve in education, parish and mission settings from Vermont to Texas to Oregon to Florida. They are educators in the faith serving the people of God at their colleges, universities, parishes, primary and secondary schools, social service organizations, and international missions. The United States Province's presence also extends across borders to include the Districts of Chile, Peru, East Africa and a Region of Mexico. To learn more about the mission of the United States Province of Priests and Brothers, please visit us at


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