Justice Wilhelmina Wright to receive Faithful Servant Award Nov. 16 at Red Mass

November 1, 2013

Wilhelmina Wright

The 12th annual College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University Red Mass is at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at Sacred Heart Chapel, Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph.

Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Wilhelmina Wright will be honored with the Fidelis Apparitor Award during a reception which follows the Red Mass at the Gorecki Center, CSB. The award will be presented by Judges Sharon Hall and Elizabeth Hayden, both CSB graduates.

The award, which means "faithful servant" in Latin, is given to individuals who have been good and faithful servants of the law. Past recipients of the award have included Jerry Lane, executive director of Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance; Tom Joyce, an attorney with Dorsey & Whitney LLP; Susan Holden, a trial attorney with the Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum & Carey law firm; Judge John Simonett, a former associate justice with the Minnesota Supreme Court; and attorney Richard Pemberton, the 2012 recipient of the award.

Wright was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Gov. Mark Dayton, where she has served since Sept. 27, 2012. She was previously appointed by Gov. Jesse Ventura to the Minnesota Court of Appeals, where she served from Sept. 3, 2002, to Sept. 26, 2012.

Wright also served as a trial judge on the Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul.

Prior to joining the bench, Wright was an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota. She was awarded the United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award in 1997 and the United States Department of Justice Director's Award for Public Service in 2000.

Wright graduated with honors in literature from Yale University in 1986, and received her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School in 1989. After law school, Wright was a law clerk for the Honorable Damon Keith on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Before joining the U.S. attorney's office in 1995, Wright practiced with the Washington, D.C., law firm of Hogan and Hartson, LLP.

The celebrant and homilist of the Red Mass will be Abbot John Klassen, OSB, of Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville. Music will be provided by the CSB Women's Choir. U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan; Wright's former law clerk, Meghan Feliciano; and CSB student Kimberly Vipond will also be part of the liturgy.

The CSB/SJU Red Mass is the only event of its kind to encompass all of Minnesota, both in its scope and its goal of celebrating the important work of judges, attorneys, students of law, policy-makers and civic leaders. The Red Mass tradition, which has its roots in the Middle Ages, marks the beginning of the judicial year in many of the world's largest cities. Red Mass participants ask God to grant the virtues and gifts necessary for the proper and just administration of their duties. The Red Mass name comes from the red vestments and garments that early legal participants wore on this occasion.

The liturgy is open to the public. Tickets for the reception cost $30 and pre-registration is requested by Tuesday, Nov. 12. For questions or interest in being a student volunteer, contact Maureen Opitz at 320-363-5020 or mxopitz@csbsju.edu.