As Seen In: de Sales Sheet Magazine, Fall 2021 Edition
The graduating class of 2021 included 100 young men and women who now attend a variety of colleges and universities across the United States. In our annual Five Faces feature, de Sales Sheet readers get to know several of our youngest alumni who were nominated by faculty and staff as outstanding representatives of Mount de Sales Academy.
The Monsignor John Cuddy Spirit of Service Award honors the senior who most exemplifies the same gentle nature, admirable courage, and deep religious commitment of the late Monsignor Cuddy. The recipient shares Monsignor Cuddy’s legacy to open the doors of faith for others and reach out to those in the local community.
“The feeling of joy that you get from helping others is amazing and one of my big takeaways from my time at Mount de Sales,” said Mary Francis Riley, this year’s award recipient. The school’s emphasis on Mercy in Action, a vehicle through which students volunteer in the community, taught her the importance of serving others, especially when she worked at St. Peter Claver’s food pantry and made connections with the clients.
Receiving the Monsignor Cuddy Award was particularly special to Mary Francis and her family. Monsignor Cuddy married her parents, baptized her and her siblings, and was influential in their family’s faith. As an active member of St. Joseph Church, Mary Francis was disappointed when the youth group began to disband, and she helped Patrick Tunnell, MDS theology teacher and a former seminarian, to restart the program. “A youth group is a perfect way to stay in touch with your faith, and it has been neat to see others get involved and grow in their faith,” she said.
“Mary Francis is one of those people whose good heart shines through in everything they do,” noted Mr. Tunnell. “The Cuddy Award is a very important award in that it honors that which is most honorable, but often goes unnoticed, loving others. Mary Francis embodies the love of God that Msgr. Cuddy was well known for embodying himself. She is a perfect example of the goodness that our world so badly needs. I cannot wait to see how she changes the world through her virtues.”
Mary Francis plans to continue helping others as a psychiatrist, and she is currently studying psychology at Mercer University. Mary Francis is the daughter of Art and Kathy Riley, a second-generation Cavalier, and the last of three Riley children to attend MDS.
Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, and serves students in Bibb, Houston, Jones, Monroe, Peach and other surrounding counties. MDS is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.