2017 Opus Prize

Prize Award Winner: Sister Stan

Article written by Betty Scheetz​

God calls us all to be his servants; to be his hands, his feet, and his voice to help others. That is an overriding principle of Alpha Sigma Nu and of Regis University and all institutions of Catholic education.

A year ago, a woman from the development office at Regis invited my husband and me (both of us Regis Alumni) to breakfast for an update on Regis. She mentioned that the OPUS Prize was to be hosted by Regis. “It’s a big deal,” she said. We learned that the OPUS Prize is a humanitarian award, honoring unsung heroes. The Prize is hosted by Catholic Universities and Colleges with great involvement of the students. As I listened to her explanation, the quiet voice of the Spirit began to stir inside me; and I asked her to send me more information.

I opened the email and read the ten-page detailed application she sent, then saw the due date. Three days! No way. I denied the Spirit’s call. But when the Spirit wants his servants to act, He persists and called again after giving me a day of sulking with the message, “You will never achieve if you don’t try.” It was a Saturday morning and I immediately shook my husband awake, suggesting, maybe demanding, that we each take sections of the proposal to write and compile the pieces on Sunday afternoon. My husband took the difficult parts writing about the organization and finances. I took the easy part highlighting our friend, Sister Stan Mumuni. On October 11, 2017, the Opus Foundation awarded an Opus Prize of $100,000.00 to Sister Stan for her humanitarian and religious work in Ghana, West Africa.

Seven years ago, Sister Stan answered a call to start an orphanage, Nazareth Home for God’s Children, in a remote area of northern Ghana. This area, ridden with extreme poverty, is largely ignored by the government. The local population receives little opportunity for education. The archaic tribal culture allows the killing of children who are deemed evil by the chiefs and elders. The vulnerable children are often those born with mental, physical, or emotional defects, but can include twins or even a baby patting the mother’s breast too much while nursing. The children may be given poison to drink, thrown into a lake or stream, or sent alone into the bush (wilderness). Sister Stan is a beacon of light to many parents, who defy this culture of death, and bring their condemned children to her.

Two years ago, a charming four-year-old was brought to the orphanage by her parents, because their daughter “kills people.” Sister Stan asked, “How? Did she stab them with a knife? Shoot them with a gun?” Of course, the answer was no. She had been declared evil because several people had died after being in her presence. Today, this healthy, happy girl is doing well in the orphanage and at a private Catholic school.

Sister Stan is mother to more than sixty children that she loves, shelters, feeds, clothes, educates, and tends to their medical needs. Her only source of income is begging. She seeks opportunities for mission appeals in the U.S. as her primary financial support for her children and the orphanage staff of thirty. The $100,000.00 she received from the Opus Award will go toward the care of her children. But her needs are far greater. She must construct a new building to separate the boys from the girls very soon, as the Government has ordered. Her convent, about three-fourths finished, will house postulates already in formation with The Marian Sisters of Eucharistic Love, the religious order she founded. She needs a school for her children and all the children in the village to give them educational opportunities and provide a way out of poverty. Education is key to ending the cruel practice of killing innocent children. Currently, several of her children attend expensive private, Catholic, or specialty schools where she has to pay for housing and transportation. One of her most challenging expenses is to provide for all of the children’s health issues. The nearest medical facility is located an hour and a half away. She has plans to build a medical clinic that will evolve into a hospital over time to serve her children and the entire region. Also, her Toyota pickup, the only means of transporting the children, is unsafe, and wearing out with so many miles over poor roads. She needs a new pickup to haul food and supplies, a fifteen-passenger van to transport children, and a car so she can meet with the Bishop and make the longer trips to Accra, the capital of Ghana on the southern coast.

If this unsung hero moves you, listen for the whisper of the Spirit urging you to be His servant by helping this remarkable woman. I am blessed to call her friend. You can send your donations to her U.S. tax-deductible charity: 

Sister Stan’s Children, Inc.,
6509 Edinburgh Drive, 
Nashville, TN 37221

For more information, visit: Sister Stan’s Children.

Biography of Betty Scheetz

After a brief career in nursing, Betty Scheetz operated her own interior design business for thirty-five years and continues to manage rental properties. She graduated from the Catholic Biblical School in 1989, Biblical Foundations in 1991. In 2001, she graduated from Regis University with a degree in communications and was inducted in Alpha Sigma Nu. Currently, she occupies her time with grandchildren, writing, and serving the poor in West Africa.

Vince Scheetz graduated from Regis College in 1964 with a major in math and minor in physics. He was inducted into the US Air Force in 1965, served as an officer in the field of meteorology at Rhein Main Air Base in Frankfurt, Germany. He obtained his masters in Systems Management from USC, and continued as meteorological consultant in Air Quality until his retirement two years ago. He is active in American Meteorological Society, Knights of Columbus and various organizations. He enjoys bow and arrow hunting for big game, his grandchildren, and working to serve the poor in West Africa.

2017 Opus Prize Award Ceremony

Hyatt Regency Centennial Ballroom
650 Fifteenth Street, Denver, CO
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

An evening of inspiration, celebration and community tomorrow for the 2017 Opus Prize, where our $1 million and two $100,000 winners will finally be announced. In true Regis spirit, we will be honoring leaders in service of others from around the world.

The City and County of Denver Building is lit in orange and blue in honor of the 2017 Opus Prize at Regis University.