Sister Margarita Martin Receives Award


sister-margarita-awardTo begin each new year, the community of Athens, Georgia, commemorates the Emancipation Proclamation by honoring individuals and groups at their Emancipation Proclamation and Pioneer Awards Observance. Held on January 1, the remembrance is one which is both spiritually and educationally rewarding.

At this year’s event, one hundred and fifty years after the effective date of the proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln to free those in bondage in slave states, Sister Margarita Martin, acj was singled out as one of its distinguished honorees.  Hailed as an “unsung hero”,  Sr. Margarita received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for her work at Oasis Católico Santa Rafaela, and with the immigrant and Spanish speaking population of Athens.

According to Observance Chairman Marvin J. Nunnally, “The Emancipation Proclamation and Pioneer Awards Observance has shined light throughout Georgia saluting unsung heroes of the community. The theme of this year’s event, To Serve the Least of These set the tone for highlighting seventeen individual, civic and corporate stewards.”

Those who know Sr. Margarita understand and appreciate how deserving she is of this recognition.  The driving force of Oasis Católico Santa Rafaela, the Handmaid ministry that she operates along with two additional Handmaids, Srs. Marietta Jansen and Angela Cordero, Sr. Margarita is a tireless advocate for Spanish speaking immigrants.  Her unwavering commitment and dedication to those who are “the least among us” is an inspiration and underscore the difference she has made in the lives of countless men, women, and children in the Georgia community.

But this is not the first time Sr. Margarita’s achievements have been noted. In 2009, she was presented with the “Dr.Martin Luther King Jr.  Award” by the Athens Area Human Relations Council.   The next year, the East Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross selected her as the recipient of the “2010 Community Impact Hero Award.”  Incidentally, in 2012, Sr. Margarita marked her fiftieth anniversary as a Handmaid of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

It is clear in all that she is and does that Sr. Margarita believes in the power of the human spirit, and in the empowerment of those who do not have a voice or need to find a way to make their voices heard.  Fortunately, for the people of Athens, Georgia, Sr. Margarita’s voice rings loud and strong, bringing with it sincerity, compassion, understanding, and most importantly, hope.