News & Press

October 30, 2014 - 21st Annual Bishop James Augustine Healy Award Dinner (November 21)

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About this year’s honoree, Lorraine “Ma” Smith

Lorraine “Ma Smith was raised in Roxbury, the second of 3 children. When growing up, ‘MA”’s mother made sure her children had the opportunity to be involved in many activities. Lorraine was the drill instructor for an all girl Drum & Bugle Corp, the Archbishop Cushing Cadets.; later known as the Cardinal Cushing Cadets. There she learned to march to the beat and played every instrument (by ear). She became the captain of the color guard and then the majorette. She also danced with the Mildred Kennedy Dance School for 18 years. She is Nana to four Grandchildren, Michael (23), Kaci (17), Janiya (7) and Jayla (20 months). “MA” says “no matter what I’m called, whether it’s Nana, MA or Mama Smith, I answer.”

Her upbringing has taught her to serve others. She has chaperoned groups including, the Leaders of

Tomorrow program, National Black Minority Business Association and mentored High School students about black entrepreneurs, traveling to conferences from east to west. She served Nativity Prep High School in Roxbury, an all boys’ school for over 25 years, including being on their Board of Trustees. In addition to helping out at Nativity Prep, she is also on the Board of Directors for the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy in Dorchester.

It was while serving at Nativity Prep; she met Ron Burton, a very gracious man. For the past 23 years, she has volunteered for 5 weeks every summer at the Ron Burton Training Village. Over the past twenty - nine years the Ron Burton Training Village (RBTV) in Hubbardston, Massachusetts has encouraged more than 4000 young men and women in their spiritual, physical and educational growth. Since Ron Burton’s death in 2003, his family has continued his legacy. “MA” is very thankful for the opportunity to be part of this wonderful experience.

She has been part of the planning committee for Kujenga-Viongozi Black Catholic Youth Retreat, a week-end retreat experience for Black Catholic youth held each summer. During this weekend, young people are encouraged to learn about and grow in their faith in Christ. In addition, the weekend helps young people to become knowledgeable about the history of Black Catholics in the Church as well as traditions and teachings of the Church. “MA” is the person that stays up all night during the weekend to make sure everyone is safe.

“MA” is very involved with her parish, St. Katharine Drexel in Roxbury. She has served on the hospitality committee, the parish council, the Associates of the Blessed Sacrament and anyplace where help is needed. Her big passion has been dedicating herself to the St. Katharine Drexel youth group. Under her guidance, they held successful fundraisers for four mission trips to New Orleans after Katrina & Rita to assist victims of the hurricanes. She also helped raise money to attend World Youth Day in Madrid, Spain in 2011.