Diocesan News

Samaritan’s Bravery Earns Him Medal From Bishop

The medal Sean Conaboy received from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio (right) is special to the Diocese of Brooklyn. It commemorated the 150th anniversary of the founding of the diocese. Bishop Kevin Sweeney (left) the former pastor of Conboy’s parish, St. Michael, was full of praise for the subway samaritan. (Photo: Paula Katinas)

WINDSOR TERRACE —  Sean Conaboy has been called a hero for saving a woman’s life on the subway. Now, he can be called something else — a medal winner.

Conaboy, the St. Michael’s Church parishioner who tackled a suspect who was stabbing a woman at the Union Square station two months ago, received a medal from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio at the Diocese of Brooklyn chancery on July 20.

“It’s a wonderful thing to honor somebody who acted as other people stood by,” said Bishop DiMarzio after presenting Conaboy with a medal that marked the 150th anniversary of the Diocese of Brooklyn, in 2003. 

The medal features images of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Brooklyn Bridge, along with a Latin phrase.

“The medal presented to him with the inscription that reads in part the ‘Word was made flesh,’ is telling of how we reach God through the humanity given to us by God,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “Sean has done that by the rescue of this person.”

“I’m honored beyond words,” Conaboy said as he gazed at the medal.

Conaboy, a freelance cameraman, was waiting for a train at the Union Square subway station on the night of May 19 when he saw a man stabbing a woman on the platform. Conaboy jumped on the man and tackled him.

The suspect was arrested at the scene. The victim, Kelli Daley, had been stabbed in the chest, shoulder, and collarbone and was taken to Bellevue Hospital. She thanked Conaboy for saving her life.

“Sean saw a need and he responded,” said Bishop Kevin Sweeney of the Diocese of Paterson. “He was a person of faith who lived his faith every day. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the protection of St. Michael, he stepped in to help.”

Bishop Kevin Sweeney served as pastor of St. Michael’s for 10 years and got to know Conaboy. “He would be there every Sunday at the 8 o’clock Mass,” he said.

Conaboy grew up in Flatbush, attended St. Therese of Lisieux Church, and is a graduate of Nazareth Regional High School. But despite a lifelong Catholic education, July 20 marked the first time he had met a bishop.

“I’ve never met a bishop before, not even at my Confirmation,” he joked.

Turning serious, his thoughts turned to Daley. 

“There is a victim in all of this and it isn’t me. Kelly is someone who will have to find a way forward in her life to heal. She deserves our prayers,” he said.

Ironically, Conaboy wasn’t supposed to be in the Union Square station that night. He usually takes another route to get home.

“I think that he was in the right place at the right time to help,” said Conaboy’s sister, Siobhán Kenney, who attended the ceremony. “We’re very proud of him.”