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2023 Magis awards

Honouring Excellence: St. Paul’s College Commemorates Community Champions at the 2023 Celebration of Giving and Sharing

St. Paul's College Ignatian Society creates amazing event

January 31, 2024 — 

On Tuesday, November 21, 2023, the St. Paul’s College Ignatian Society awarded several members of the St. Paul’s College community with the presentation of the Magis awards at the Celebration of Giving and Sharing. This annual event, organized by the St. Paul’s College Ignatian Society along with devoted alumni and friends, marks a prelude to Advent and pays tribute to the exceptional contributions of St. Paul’s College affiliates—be it alumni, supporters, volunteers, students, staff, or faculty.

The evening commenced with a moving Vespers ceremony at Christ the King Chapel, overseen by Fr. Mark Filips and the Campus Ministry team, complemented by a touching peace tree ceremony. Post Vespers, attendees congregated at Hanley Hall for a delightful Cocktail Reception. St. Paul’s Belltower Café curated a delectable buffet while volunteers from the St. Paul’s College Student Association circulated the room with delicious appetizers.

“I would like to start by saying that there is something so special about when our St. Paul’s College community comes together,” said Bridget Scott, Senior Stick of the St. Paul’s College Students’ Association, who welcomed attendees to the 2023 Celebration of Giving and Sharing. “Growing up, I always heard about how great and how close the community at the College is. I am so thankful that I heard all the wonderful stories from my family, which encouraged me to join such a rich history as St. Paul’s College. As someone nearing the end of my university degree and will soon be an alumna of the College myself, it is inspiring to see so many people come back to the College for this event.”

The Magis Prizes are awarded to those in our community who have exemplified doing more for others in the areas of innovation, peacebuilding, leadership, and service for others.

“On behalf of the St. Paul’s College Ignatian Society, I am pleased to present the 2023 Magis Awards,” said Julia Vossen, co-chair of the planning committee of the St. Paul’s College Ignatian Society. “The Alumni and Friends of the College nominated and selected individuals or organizations who have exemplified what it means to be a person for others. The awards symbolize recognition for individuals or groups within the St. Paul’s College community who have gone above and beyond in fostering Ingenuity and Innovation, Service for Others, Peace and Reconciliation, and Influence and Leadership. They are truly leaders in their respective fields.”

Magis Award for Ingenuity and Innovation

Fr. John Perry, SJ, received the prestigious 2023 Magis Award for Ingenuity and Innovation. His multifaceted career, spanning continents, has profoundly impacted education, theology, bioethics, and humanitarianism. Beginning his journey with the Jesuits in Guelph, Ontario, at 18, he taught at St. Joseph’s College in India and ventured to Bhutan. His commitment to education is reflected in diverse authorship, from genetically modified plants to the history of slavery, torture, and nuclear weaponry’s environmental impact. As a founding member of Quixote House, he helped parolees reintegrate, fostering compassion and commitment. His compassionate presence, non-judgmental listening, and unwavering commitment to the Next Step Thursday meetings at Future Hope have significantly impacted the lives of those he interacts with.

Magis Award for Service to Others

Dr. Sally Longstaffe received the 2023 Magis Award for Service to Others from the St. Paul’s College Ignatian Society. Her career as a pediatrician and educator reflects an unwavering dedication to children’s well-being, earning her acclaim in medicine and education. From inner-city Winnipeg to remote northern Manitoba, she’s championed children’s health, including those with learning difficulties. Her impactful contributions resonate within the Max Rady College of Medicine and the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. As a senior academic advisor, she develops future medical professionals, leaving an indelible mark of compassion and excellence. Dr. Longstaffe’s legacy inspires.

Magis Award for Peace and Reconciliation

Ms. Janine Tougas received the 2023 Magis Award for Peace and Reconciliation. A dedicated storyteller, playwright, and advocate, she has collaborated extensively with Métis communities in Manitoba, using stories to unify and preserve Métis heritage. Notably, her interactive play ‘La chasse au bison au coeur de la nation métisse’ showcased the bison hunt’s impact, reaching 10,000+ students. Through projects like ‘Histoires de la charrette de la Rivière-Rouge,’ Janine fosters Métis pride and educates diverse audiences about this culture. Her fusion of drama, counselling, and expressive arts underscores the power of storytelling for personal growth and community building. Her impactful legacy drives harmony and inclusivity. Dr. Jessica Senehi accepted the award on her behalf.

Magis Award for Influence and Leadership

The St. Paul’s College Ignatian Society proudly honours Philip and Anita Lee with the 2023 Magis Award for Influence and Leadership. Their lifelong commitment to uniting Winnipeg’s Chinese-Canadian community embodies resilience and bridge-building between cultures. Philip, a University of Manitoba Chemistry graduate from Hong Kong, and Anita, a dedicated businesswoman and community volunteer from Canton, China, epitomize service. Philip’s historic role as Manitoba’s 24th Lieutenant-Governor showcased their advocacy for Chinese heritage and community concerns. Their tireless efforts across Human Rights and Multiculturalism councils and landmark constructions like the Chinese Gate and Garden preserve culture. Their legacy, promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities, remains a beacon in Manitoba’s history.

The story of the Buffalo Christmas Holiday Card

As a parting gift, everyone who attended the Celebration of Giving and Sharing received a very special blank Christmas Holiday Card, with a pre-stamped envelope. Skillfully painted by Ms. Meghan Lemoine and digitally formatted by Leigh Vossen, the card features buffalo running into a storm, instead of running away from it. By bravely charging into the storm directly, the buffalo are able to push through and decrease their exposure to the storm. Those that received the gift were directed to not keep it but use it to re-connect with someone whom they have not been in touch with in sometime.

“I’d like to thank you, our community, for being here for this special evening,” said Matthew Semchyshyn, St. Paul’s College Ignatian Society Chair. “Throughout this evening, we have mentioned community. For the planning committee, it was important for us to allow for opportunities for our community to gather and reconnect, as the Celebration of Giving and Sharing has always historically done. Although this is not a Christmas event, for me personally, it has always felt like the beginning of my Christmas traditions. It is a time when I’d return to the College to see friendly faces that I had not seen in a while. It is the magic of reconnecting with old friends that really makes this a special event for me.”

The Celebration of Giving and Sharing has become an annual engagement for our community, a moment to honour achievements and a time to revel in each other’s presence. Our gratitude and appreciation goes out to every volunteer, organizer and attendee for enriching the evening with their participation and collaborative spirit.

For more information on the Celebration of Giving and Sharing and larger biographies of our award winners, see






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