Shining the Spotlight on Two Who Shine Their Light on Others
Philadelphia-area Residents Honored by SHCJ for Commitment to Those in Need
ROSEMONT, PA — Can you identify the most successful among us? What do you think are the indicators of success…jewelry, cars, houses? In the words of one astute observer, “The capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance.” And it is that capacity to care for others that is the hallmark of the truly successful person. Identifying those who exhibit a capacity to care is what guided the Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) in selecting the 2011 recipients of its Faith in Action and Holy Child Spirit Awards. This year’s honorees, Robert A. Pollock and Anne Healy Ayella, have been successful in all areas of their lives. However, their tremendous capacity to care for others has singled them out for special recognition at the 2011 Holy Child Awards Dinner. The dinner will be held March 31 at the Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova, Pa. to celebrate their achievements.
You Can’t Retire from Good Works
After a successful Wall Street career, Robert A. Pollock was retiring. But when Mr. Pollock left his salaried position, he assumed a new career — full-time volunteer.
Mr. Pollock was introduced to the Sisters of the Holy Child in the 1970s when he and his wife, Jane, enrolled their daughters in the Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child in Summit, N.J. Mr. Pollock joined the school’s Board of Directors, serving as board chair for four years. As a tireless advocate for the SHCJ, he raised two million dollars for the school’s new gym. He was invited to serve on the SHCJ Investment Advisory Committee and has the distinction of being the first layperson to chair that committee.
Through his willingness to help, as shown by his tireless service, Mr. Pollock embodies the guiding principle of the Society, “Actions Not Words.” Mr. Pollock’s many acts of service in his volunteer activities speak volumes about his commitment to addressing the wants of the age. In addition to his work with SHCJ, he has spent decades volunteering with the American Red Cross, the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society and the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
Mr. Pollock says, “I have been blessed all my life in every aspect, but I have always had the desire to help those less fortunate. There are so many people in need of assistance.” Though Mr. Pollock considers himself blessed, the many recipients of his kindness consider themselves blessed too. For his unselfish commitment to others, the SHCJ is honoring him with its 2011 Faith in Action Award, an award that recognizes those who exemplify the characteristics of Cornelia Connelly, the Founder of SHCJ.
Sister Ruth Dawley, SHCJ, said “Robert serves as an example to all. Not content to simply have faith, Robert’s faith guides his actions and his efforts have significantly improved the lives of those around him.”
Mr. Pollock is a member of Our Mother of Consolation parish in Philadelphia, Pa.
Embracing the Spirit of SHCJ
Anne Healy Ayella, the 2011 Holy Child Spirit Honoree, had a first hand view of how Cornelia Connelly’s teachings are put in action every day to meet the wants of the age. Mrs. Ayella’s career decision was influenced by her faith.
She is an alumna of the former Holy Child Academy in Sharon Hill, Pa. and for more than 30 years, Mrs. Ayella has worked in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Nutritional Development Services, most recently as the Assistant Director in charge of community relations and outreach. She travels throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia advocating for the needy in parishes and schools. She is also the Diocesan Director for Catholic Relief Services and is active in the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. She often lobbies in Harrisburg and Washington for programs and funding to address the needs of the hungry.
With more than 16 million children in the United States going hungry every day, Mrs. Ayella is passionate about addressing their needs. “When we provide food to the hungry, we give hope,” she said. “In a world where so many people have so much, it is difficult to imagine that some struggle for food on a daily basis,” she added.
Mrs. Ayella’s efforts embody the Society’s underlying principal of “meeting the wants of the age,” through her focused commitment to ensuring that hunger will no longer be an issue. She will receive the Holy Child Spirit Award, which honors individuals who demonstrate the characteristics of service represented in the Holy Child tradition, including justice, compassion and social action. “Her deep commitment to improving the lives of others permeates all she does. She is an outstanding example of faith in action and is deeply deserving of this award,” said Sister Anita Quigley, SHCJ.
In addition to her activities with the Diocese, Mrs. Ayella is a SHCJ Associate and serves on the Mission Advancement Advisory Board of the American Province of the SHCJ. She is a member of Annunciation B.V.M. parish in Havertown.
About the Awards Dinner
The Third Annual Holy Child Awards Dinner is open to all. It will be held at 6:00 p.m. on March 31, 2011 at Overbrook Golf Club in Villanova. Mr. Pollock and Mrs. Ayella will be recognized for their outstanding service and the dinner will be an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and the way they have helped and comforted those in need. Tickets are still available. For more information, go to www.shcj.org/american or call 610.626.1400.
About the Society of the Holy Child Jesus
The Society of the Holy Child Jesus (SHCJ) is an international community of Roman Catholic Sisters founded by Cornelia Connelly in 1846. Composed of three provinces (American, African and European), the Society provides outreach to more than 8,500 individuals through education, as well as sponsored and collaborative ministries at various social service organizations throughout the United States, Chile and the Dominican Republic. For more information, visit the Amercian Province website.