Regis College, Toronto
November 24, 2007
In the Book of Genesis, God presents the Covenant to Sarah and Abraham as a gift to be received and a task to be assumed. The gift is the tri-fold promise of a home, many descendants and that Sarah, Abraham and their descendants will be a blessing to all peoples of the world. The task is to leave the past behind, venture out into the open desert and take the risk of receiving God’s bounty.
Ruth daCosta comes among us today as one who has lived God’s Covenant in deep solidarity with the most vulnerable members of our society. As the Executive Director of Covenant House, Toronto, she has inspired a team of faithful collaborators to provide sanctuary and education for thousands of homeless youth. Combining gift and task, Ruth and her team restore trust among those who have been abused, cultivate the potential of discarded youth and renew the promise of family life.
Native to Toronto, Ruth pursued her postsecondary education at York University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before receiving a Master of Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Ruth has extensive leadership experience in the youth social service sector. Before assuming her role at Covenant House in 1989, she served as a Director of Residential Treatment for the Metro Children’s Aid Society and the Executive Director of the West End Creche for the Inner City Children’s Mental Health Clinic.
In the service of her colleagues, Ruth has contributed numerous research papers and training programs. She has served on boards for the Central Neighborhood House, Opportunity House, The Ontario Association of Mental Health Centers, the Metro Children’s Aid Society, the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, the Children’s Aid Society Foundation, the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation and the Child Welfare League of Canada.
Ruth has remained faithful to the Covenant. She has ventured into the desert of our city to share her many talents with forgotten youth. Today, she is blessed with the appreciation of countless youth who thank her for accompanying them as they assumed their rightful gifts and tasks in our society.
Very Reverend Fr. Chancellor, please rejoice with us, as we bid you to admit to the degree of Doctor of Sacred Letters, honoris causa, Ms. Ruth daCosta.