Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 10, 2004
Teen invigorated by work with Third World poor
Sherwood Park teen 1 of 3 in North America to receive honour
By BILL GLEN
"It showed me I have been given so much in life."
- Anne Senez
So, perhaps, it is little surprise that Senez will be one of only three teens in North America to receive the Saint Mary's Press 2004 Ambassador of Christ Recognition award for enlivening the hearts of teens with her acts of purity.
"I was flat-out surprised I won the award. I was very flattered. I'm really honoured," Senez said.
"The great thing about this award is not that I get some money (US$1,000) for school tuition but there will be money I can spend (US$500) wherever I want from St. Mary's Press. So if I can spend some money on catechumens or on RCIA, I can. But I haven't had a chance to think about it."
Strong willed and never shy, Senez says she rarely has a moment where she is at a loss to express her feelings.
"I am hurt by social injustices, particularly when people put down the handicapped," she said. "Half the time they don't realize what they've done so you either call them on it, or not. But I tend to do so."
Her idol is her Nanna, who lost her husband at 35 years, raising seven children alone.
Her role model is Jean Vanier, founder of l'Arche, the international network of homes for the mentally and physically handicapped.
"Anne is a light to the world."
- Dean Sarnecki
"Anne came to my attention last year at Camp Encounter with 45 other Grade 11 students. She stood up and told us about poverty awareness and World Youth Day (Toronto 2002) and her encounter with God," Sarnecki said.
"She professed her beliefs in God and actually followed them up with action in the community, her school and her Church. I think she is a role model for people of all ages," he said.
"I know that in the high school, she is well respected for her love and kindness towards everyone she encounters."
"One of her greatest faith highlights was attending the World Youth Day events," Sarnecki said. "She said her spirit was enlivened and it gave her a greater vision of God's purpose for her life."
Her work with the underprivileged is something which awes Sarnecki. She has been a leader at school and in her parish in a clothing drive for the homeless in Edmonton, in cooperation with the Marian Centre.
Her heroes include the assistants who live in the l'Arche house. They provide for the residents and only have one day a week off. They amaze Senez because they help the residents every day.
"It gives me strength because they work so hard. They are so committed."
While Senez could boast about her accomplishments, she is remarkably humble. "I'm just a regular teen. I don't put myself on a pedestal. I'm happy where I am right now."
Her Dominican experience has focused her desire to become a doctor. Although she might enter general medical studies next year, she has dedicated her life to helping children in Third World countries.
"I've always told my mom I want to be a doctor. In the Dominican, you see the need for doctors even though the country is slowly getting better. But there are places in Africa where you see the need in the people. I'd love to work with Doctors Without Borders.
"Depending on how long I can stay in school, I'd love to do pediatrics. I think it would be a hard place to work because you really only see the kids when they are sick. But I love children so much."
Said Sarnecki: "Anne is a light to the world. She makes God's presence real through her love, spirit and her belief. Anne's life is a witness to God."
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