PROVIDENCE — A Lumen Gentium Award in the category of Public Service is the most recent in a long list of accolades documenting Victoria Almeida’s career of service to the Rhode Island public, a career that has emphasized servant leadership and addressing the needs of the state’s most vulnerable.
A respected attorney and shareholder at Adler Pollock and Sheehan P.C., she currently serves as vice chairman of the Rhode Island Parole Board, chair of the Rhode Island Health Services Council, chair of the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island Legal Services Corporation and former president of the Rhode Island Bar Association. In 2010, she was honored by the Bar Association as the first recipient of the Victoria M. Almeida Servant Leadership Award and has received numerous other awards recognizing her service in the public and charitable sectors.
A parishioner at St. Margaret Parish, Rumford, Almeida attributes her career’s focus on serving others to her Catholic faith, in particular her upbringing amid the Sisters of Mercy. She attended Mercymount Country Day School, St. Mary Academy – Bay View and Salve Regina University, all Sisters of Mercy institutions that instilled in her a social responsibility to use her gifts to serve those most in need.
“The value and the charism of [the Sisters of] Mercy — which is become your best self and use what you have become to serve others — is what sticks with me,” she said during an interview at the chancery.
Among her accomplishments, Almeida created a legal initiative to establish free legal services for Rhode Island veterans and members of the armed forces and advocated for more pro-bono legal services for the unemployed, elderly and other vulnerable residents. Throughout her career, she has been unafraid to speak out about her Catholic values and remained grounded in the faith through prayer and daily Mass.
“We have to nurture our faith daily. We have to be fed daily,” she said. “The people I surround myself with by choice and the people I deal with because of the positions I hold, I learn from them.”
Msgr. John Darcy, pastor at St. Margaret Parish, congratulated Almeida and noted her strong support for Catholic education as well as her devotion to Mary as expressed through her participation in an annual pilgrimages to Lourdes.
“Her deep devotion to Our Lady and her lifelong commitment to the poor, the sick and the defenseless are recognized fittingly with her nomination for the 2018 Lumen Gentium Award for Public Service,” he said.
Over the next several weeks, Rhode Island Catholic will feature profiles of the winners of the diocese’s 2018 Lumen Gentium Awards, which formally recognize those who ‘toil in the vineyard’ in service to the Lord, and minister to those in greatest need in their parish or community. The honorees will be awarded during a dinner at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln on Wednesday, May 16. Guests wishing to purchase tickets to the dinner — whose proceeds will support Diocesan Hispanic Ministries — are asked to register online at www.dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards. For any questions about the event, please call 401-277-2121.