Editor’s note: Each year, St. Lucy’s Church in Syracuse presents its Dorothy Day Award to a member of its community. Named for the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, the Dorothy Day Award honors individuals who share Day’s dedication to peace, social justice and hospitality to the poor. The award began at St. Andrew the Apostle
Church in 1994; the tradition was carried on at St. Lucy’s when the two parishes merged in 2009. This is the first year that the award will be presented to two recipients: Grace Flushe and Jack Linsky.
Wanting not only to do good but also to be good — this was the legacy of Dorothy Day. She created community and friendships with those who were most needy.
Grace Flushe wanted to “do good” when she volunteered at St. Andrew’s Parish to head the committee that was tasked with supporting a refugee family. That one family grew to three or four families. Elaine Bassano said this of Flushe: “The affection of four Congolese families for Grace Flusche is, I think, the most touching testimony to her devotion to those in need, displaced from their homes and arriving in Syracuse with 25 children among them and nothing but the clothes on their backs. Grace organized for their basic needs: moving expense, found them jobs, living quarters, connected them with medical care, enrolled their children in schools and advocated for their placement and services.” The children would spend time at Flushe’s home after school, just to “hang out” and play games. This friendship was just as effective in helping the children adjust as the services.
Flushe has always gravitated toward the most needy. She worked for Children Services in her home country of England and then, after coming to Syracuse, worked for Child and Family Services as a counselor. In 1975, she began her work at Transitional Living, where she stayed for 30 years helping folks transition into their own apartments as an intake counselor.
These are the same gifts she has given to refugee families. As Grace puts it: “I wanted to be that friend, but the friendship was reciprocal.” She also credits her husband, Mike Flusche, who not only supports Grace in her work, but also is directly involved.
Jack Linsky is a lifelong resident of the West side. He embodies Dorothy Day’s message of “community”: live in the area you serve.
Linsky participates in many community organizations as an active member of the West Side Initiative, the Deaf community of St. Lucy’s, and the parish’s St. Kateri Committee. He has also worked for Nojaim Bros. Supermarket for more than 59 years. When given the opportunity to move out of the neighborhood, he chose to stay and live with others in community. Like Dorothy Day, Linsky takes a “common sense” approach to helping those in need and realizes that he and others need to concentrate efforts on these pocket areas of poverty right in our midst. He lives and breathes the sense of community that inspired Dorothy Day to live with those marginalized and those in need.
The 2015 Dorothy Day Award Dinner will be held May 7 at 6 p.m. at the St. Lucy’s Parish Gym, across the street from the church at 432 Gifford St., Syracuse. Proceeds from the dinner benefit the Dorothy Day House, an emergency shelter for women and children run by Catholic Charities of Onondaga County. For tickets or information, call Sister Pat Bergan at (315) 422-2244.