Proclaiming Jesus through education and Christian formation.

Awards and Honors

The mission of the Ursuline Sisters is to proclaim Jesus through education and Christian formation, in the spirit of their founder, Saint Angela Merici. Along the way, the Ursuline Sisters have been recognized for their efforts. Following is a complete list and description of the honors and awards the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph have received as of December 31, 2016.

  • Athena Award

    • 2009: The Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph were honored March 12 with the coveted Athena Award in Owensboro, Ky., an honor that recognizes people who assist women in attaining their full potential. Before a full house at Owensboro’s RiverPark Center, the Ursuline Sisters became the first group to win the award in its 11 year-history. The award began in Lansing, Mich., in 1980, with the three criteria for recipients being, “Demonstrated excellence in their business or profession, devoted time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and most especially, generously assisted women in attaining their fullest potential.” Susanne Harris, a member of the Girls Incorporated board, nominated the Ursuline Sisters after watching a DVD on the sisters’ ministries.
      Kirk Kirkpatrick, the master of ceremonies for the event, said the Ursuline Sisters have devoted their lives to helping others “with an unheralded passion and dedication. Inspired by the words of ‘Act, Move, Believe, Strive, and Hope,’ each day they have devoted themselves to the mission of freeing and nurturing women. They have sought to bring about change in our society through social justice, education and church ministry. Approachable and energetic, they seek to reach out to the voiceless; to enhance the world through peace and harmony; and address the needs of the whole person – body, mind and spirit. They have truly changed lives and opened doors.”
      Attendees at the luncheon learned of the sisters’ crucial role in education, including the creation of Brescia University, and of their efforts in fighting for human dignity rights and an end to government-sponsored torture. “Their focus on the needs of women is demonstrated in the special retreats and programs they offer and designed especially for women,” Kirkpatrick said. “Their collaborative effort with a Chicago psychiatrist established the Contemporary Woman Program at Brescia, a program that was one of the very first in the country to recognize and address the special needs of women. “They have worked with the poor and homeless, giving them shelter, nourishment and the hope of tomorrow,” Kirkpatrick said. “Our honoree has reached out to Hispanic women in the Owensboro area to help them to become self-sufficient. Their work has also taken them to South America where they have worked with hundreds of women teaching them marketable skills and helping them find outlets for their craft projects…. They have served as mentors for women in administration, business, science, the fine arts, education and other fields. Hand in hand together they have unselfishly paved the way for so many.” Congregational Leader Sister Michele Morek accepted the award on behalf of current sisters, and all those who’ve come before since Saint Angela Merici founded the Company of Saint Ursula in 1535.
  • Bishop John J. McRaith Catechetical Leader Award

    • The recipient of the award is a role model as an outstanding human being; committed to diocesan, parish and community service; shows a deep sense of spirituality; is knowledgeable, and committed to continuing their intellectual, spiritual and collaborative growth. Nominees should be (or have been) professional ministers working for a minimum of five years in the Diocese of Owensboro in the field of catechetics. Some ministerial roles to be considered are Director of Religious Education, Coordinator of Religious Education, Pastoral Associate, Youth Minister, etc.
    • 2007-08: Sister Rosanne Spalding
    • 2004-05: Sister Marie Michael Hayden
    • 2003-04: Sister Julia Head
    • 2002-03: Sister Margaret Ann Aull
    • 2001-02: Sister Ann McGrew
  • Boone Lodge at Gaspar River Catholic Youth Camp

    • 2014 – Sister Joseph Angela Boone was honored by having a new lodge at the Gasper River Catholic Youth Camp & Retreat Center dedicated in her name. Sister Joseph Angela was chancellor of the Diocese of Owensboro from 1989-2011, and was named as co-founder of the camp near Bowling Green when the land was purchased in 2006. Boone Lodge will allow the camp to house more groups at one time.http://ursulinesmsj.org/news/lodge-dedicated-in-honor-of-sister-joseph-angela-boone
  • Brescia University Distinguished Alumni Award

  • Brescia University Outstanding Alumnus Award

    • Sister Rose Jean Powers

    • This award honors an alumnus or alumna who has given outstanding service to the Alumni Association and/or Brescia University.
    • 2012 – Sister Rose Jean Powers ‘66
    • 2004 – Sister Michele Morek ‘66
  • Brescia University Scholarships Honoring the Ursuline Sisters

    • Sister Alberta Birkhead Memorial Scholarship – This fund, established by her students around 1970 and still in place today, honors Sister Alberta (Jan 12, 1896 – Nov 13, 1969), a Daviess County, Ky., native who was an instructor at Brescia College from 1946 until her death in 1969. It is for undergraduate students who are majoring in business at Brescia. Sister Alberta taught at Brescia from 1950-68. See related article here: http://ursulinesmsj.org/blog/sister-alberta-birkhead
    • Sister Mary Aloise Boone Scholarship –  Set up to honor Sister Mary Aloise (Aug 06, 1914 – April 30, 1995), a native of New Haven, Ky., who taught at Brescia in 1967. Annual awards for undergraduate students attending Brescia University who will be pursuing studies leading to a career in service to humanity. Applicants must have financial need.
    • Sister Casimir Czurles Biology Scholarship  –  Set up to honor Sister Casimir (July 09, 1907 – Dec 19, 1994), a native of Elizabeth, N.J., who taught at Brescia from 1943-84. Annual awards for undergraduate students attending Brescia University who are majoring in Biology.
    • Sister Francesca Hazel Memorial Scholarship –  Set up to honor Sister Mary Francesca (July 28, 1903 – Mar 22, 1987), who was born in Owensboro, Ky., and taught at Brescia from 1965-73.  Annual awards for undergraduate students attending Brescia University. Applicants must participate in the Contemporary Woman program.
    • Sister George Ann Cecil Leadership Scholarship  – Set up to honor Sister George Ann (Dec 30, 1927 – Dec 12, 1985), a native of St. Joseph, Ky., who served as president of Brescia College from 1974 until two months before she died of cancer in 1985. She taught at Brescia from 1967-85. Annual awards for undergraduate students attending Brescia University, this covers  full-tuition, double room and board in the residence halls or full-tuition, fees and books.
    • Sister George Ann Cecil Scholarship  – Set up to honor Sister George Ann (Dec 30, 1927 – Dec 12, 1985), who served as president of Brescia College from 1974 until two months before she died of cancer in 1985. She taught at Brescia from 1967-85. Annual awards for full-time, first-time freshmen enrolling at Brescia University. Selection based on academic merit and potential. Award amount is for full-tuition, room and board.
    • Sister Marguerite Younker Scholarship  – Set up to honor Sister Marguerite (Nov 21, 1900 – Apr 04, 1981), who was born in Hardin County, Ky., and taught at Brescia from 1951-80.  Annual awards for undergraduate students attending Brescia University who are majoring in Music. Applicants must have financial need and a minimum 3.0 GPA.
    • Sister Marita Greenwell Scholarship  – Set up to honor Sister Marita (Feb. 8, 1926 – June 21, 2011), a native of Rhodelia, Ky., who was assistant director (1971-73) and then director of the Contemporary Woman Program (1973-96) at Brescia College (now University). She continued to help with the program until she retired in 2005. Annual awards for female, non-traditional students attending Brescia.
    • Sister Mary Carmel Browning Kentucky Literature Scholarship  – Set up to honor Sister Mary Carmel (July 17, 1896 – May 24, 1980), a native of Saint Mary, Ky., (Marion County) who taught at Brescia from 1952-80. Annual awards for undergraduate students attending Brescia University who are majoring in English. Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be researching Kentucky authors.
    • Sister Mary Cecilia Payne Education Scholarship  – Annual awards for undergraduate students attending Brescia University who are majoring in Education. Selection based on academic merit. Also, in 2009, the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra Foundation endowed the principal chair of the second violin section in honor of Sister Mary Cecilia (Dec 13, 1905 – July 29, 1987), an Owensboro native whose efforts in music instruction at Brescia College beginning in 1952 led to the creation of the present Owensboro Symphony. Sister Mary Cecilia taught at Brescia from 1952-85.
    • Sister Mary Jean Cotter Annual Art Award  – Set up to honor Sister Mary Jean (Mar 04, 1898 – Nov 15, 1980), a native of Cedar Hill, Tenn., who taught at Brescia from 1949-75. Annual awards for full-time undergraduate students attending Brescia University who are majoring in Studio Art.
    • Sister Robert Irene O’Brien Golden Scholarship  – Set up to honor Sister Robert Irene (April 19, 1891 – Feb 27, 1982), a native of Louisville, Ky., who taught at Brescia from 1955-75.  Annual awards for undergraduate students attending Brescia University who are majoring in Realistic Art. Applicants must have financial need.
    • Spirit of Angela Award­ – “Spirit of Angela” recipients are students who were nominated by faculty, staff or other students because they embody the characteristics or qualities that were evidenced in Saint Angela Merici’s life. Saint Angela founded the Company of Saint Ursula in Brescia, Italy, in 1535, and today the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph carry on her charism in all their ministries. The Ursuline Sisters established the Mount Saint Joseph Junior College in 1925, which was moved to Owensboro in 1950 and renamed Brescia College. In 1998 it became Brescia University.
    • Ursuline Scholarship – Annual awards for first-time freshmen enrolling at Brescia University, the school founded by the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. Applicants must have a high school GPA of 3.7-3.9 and ACT score between 30-31 or SAT 1320-1400. Award amount is for 80% of tuition.
  • Brescia University Service Award

    • 2004 – Sister Marie Bosco Wathen received a 30-year service award. It was awarded by then Brescia President Sister Vivian Bowles, OSU, who said: “Sister Marie Bosco came to Brescia in 1974 as assistant to the director of Building and Grounds. During 1975-1976 she continued as part time assistant to Sister Mary Corda and part time instructor in the education department. In 1976 she accepted a full-time position on the education faculty. She received tenure in 1992, was coordinator of middle grades and associate professor of education. Sister Marie Bosco developed Brescia’s middle grades certification program, receiving commendation from the Kentucky Department of Education. She provided diligent work in innumerable accreditation processes, helping students with certification and supporting students in the student teaching process. When Sister Marie Bosco retired from full time teaching, she stayed with us as part time teacher, monitor of teacher education records, and mentor for students. Now Sister Marie Bosco ministers in Institutional Research … Former students remember her as one who was an inspiration, full of humor and insight and always ready to listen.”
  • Carroll College Honorary Degree

    • 2004 – Sister Dianna Ortiz was given an honorary doctorate from Carroll College, a private Catholic liberal arts college in Helena, Mont., for her work as a human rights activist. After receiving her recognition, Sister Dianna gave an hour-long lecture recounting her ordeal to a group that included both the public and students. “I was moved by the students’ support and their commitment to fighting injustice,” she said. “One never heals from torture, but we’ve learned not to allow it to consume our lives.”
      Sister Dianna has also received honorary doctorates from the College of New Rochelle, a private Catholic college in New Rochelle, N.Y., and Springfield College in Illinois.
  • Catholic Education Community Service Award in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kan.

    • 2010 – The Catholic Education Foundation honored the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph during its eighth annual Gaudeamus banquet for their work in Catholic education through the years. Gaudeamus means “Let us rejoice.”  Congregational Leader Sister Sharon Sullivan accepted the Catholic Education Community Service Award from Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann on behalf of the Ursuline Sisters, 13 of whom were in attendance. The Catholic Schools Foundation provides scholarships to children in need to attend Catholic schools.
  • Catholic Educator of the Year in the Diocese of Owensboro

    • According to the diocese, the outstanding Catholic School Educator must be a role model as an outstanding human being; have a major influence in the lives of students; show concern with the faith development as well as the physical, mental and emotional development of students; and encourage students to improve their abilities and talents.
    • Sr. Laurita and Superintendent Jim Mattingly

      2014 – Sister Laurita Spalding:Sister Laurita Spalding, a teacher since 1968, began teaching in the Diocese of Owensboro in 1973. She has been teaching at Holy Name in Henderson since 2000.http://ursulinesmsj.org/news/sister-laurita-spalding-named-catholic-educator-of-2014

    • 2012 – Sister Mary Timothy Bland:Sister Mary Timothy, a teacher since 1967, began teaching in the Diocese of Owensboro in 1979. She has been teaching in the Owensboro Catholic Elementary Schools since 1986.http://ursulinesmsj.org/news/sister-mary-timothy-honored-as-catholic-educator-of-2012
  • Catholic Secondary Education Award

    • 2008 – The National Catholic Educational Association named Sister Martina Rockers one of seven winners of the Catholic Secondary Education Award. According to the NCEA website, the Secondary Schools Department honors Catholic school educators who deserve national recognition and reflect the richness and diversity of American Catholic education.
  • Catholic Press Association

    • 2003 – Sister Dianna Ortiz, founding director of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC International), was the recipient of two CPA Book Awards during the Catholic Press Association’s annual convention in Atlanta. Her book, The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth, received first place both in the history/biography category and as a book by a first-time author. The book was submitted by Robert Ellsberg, editor-in-chief of Orbis Books. In The Blindfold’s Eyes, written with Patricia Davis, Sister Dianna describes her abduction and torture, her struggle to heal, and her continuing work to tell the world about the others who did not escape —those who have “disappeared” in Guatemala over the last several decades.
  • Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year nominee

    • 2003 – Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center was among the nominees for the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year. The certificate was accepted by Sister Amelia Stenger, who was then Center director.
  • Chile Honors

    • 2004 – Sister Mary Elizabeth (Mimi) Ballard was recognized in Chile on the International Day of Women, March 8, for her ministry to women in Chillán, Chile. In a morning ceremony, Sister Mimi was honored by the Office of the Governor and the National Governmental Organization for the promotion of women. In the evening, she was recognized once more, this time by the Municipality of Chillán. Sister Mimi, who has ministered in Chile since 1978, is director of the Dianna Ortiz Ursuline Center for Women (Casa Ursulina), which provides classes, support groups and a wide variety of services for women in one of the poorest sectors of Chillán.
  • Distinguished Graduate Award

    • 2005 – Sister Fran Wilhelm won the Distinguished Graduate Award from her former elementary school, St. Anthony School in Hereford, Texas.
  • Fr. Charles Saffer Alumni Hall of Fame award by the

    • Brescia University Alumni Association
      The Father Saffer Award is given to an alumnus or alumna and is based on a lifetime of personal or professional achievement (not necessarily financial) that personifies the ideals and basic mission of Brescia University.
    • 2014 – Sister Sharon Sullivan ’75, professor/department chair/academic dean at Brescia
    • 2007 – Sister Vivian Bowles ’69, Brescia president from 1995-2007
    • 2006 – Sister Joseph Angela Boone ’62, math teacher and Dean of Women at Brescia College
  • Earth Day Award

    • 2004 – The Kentucky Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) honored Sister Michele Morek with an EQC Earth Day Award in recognition of the 35th anniversary of Earth Day. During an award ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion, EQC Commissioner Aloma Dew said Sister Michele had a “passion and commitment to her community and the environment. Kentucky is a better place because of her.” At the time, Dr. Michele Morek had been a member of the faculty of Brescia University and was serving as chair of the Division of Math and Natural Science. She was active on Kentucky Watershed Watch,serving as chair of the Scientific Committee for the Tradewater/Lower Green River Watershed Watch program. She conducted numerous environmental education workshops for teachers and student groups and was active in Owensboro Curbside Recycling. “What speaks volumes for her work are her students,” Dew said. “Her caring and desire to make the world a better place has influenced her students profoundly and inspired several to choose biology and the environment as their field of study.”
  • Dedication of Shrine in Glennonville, Missouri

    • 2008 – The Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph were honored with a new shrine of the Pieta (Mary and Jesus) in the new St. Teresa Cemetery in Glennonville, Mo. The inscription reads: In Thanksgiving for the Ursuline Sisters of Maple Mount, Kentucky who served in the Glennonville Schools from 1930 to 2001.” Then Congregational Leader Sister Michele Morek attended a dedication ceremony presided over by the Most Rev. James Johnston, bishop of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Father Glenn Efink, pastor of St. Teresa’s Parish. There is also a memorial garden on the grounds of the St. Teresa School to former Ursuline Sister and teacher Sandy Compas, who was killed in a car accident in 2006. The youth of the parish made the memorial garden for her.
  • Green River Aging Service Award

    • In 1989, Sister Mary Clement Greenwell retired to the motherhouse at age 81, saying that she hoped to help her “aged and sick sisters with the strength the Lord continues to give me.” She went on to help them for 20 years until her death in 2009 at age 101. She had written her philosophy of life down: it read, “Do all the good you can, to all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as you can.” She helped with the sick sisters, made quilts, crocheted baby blankets for Birthright and lap robes for the elderly in nursing homes, embroidered pillowcases for the annual picnic, and continued her outreach activities by going to the Curdsville, Ky., Senior Citizens gathering each Monday for lunch and visiting, for which she received the Green River Aging Service Award from the Green River Area Development District. GRADD is a regional planning agency serving the communities of Daviess, Hancock, Henderson, McLean, Ohio, Union and Webster counties in Kentucky. It offers assistance in the fields of aging, health and social services; community and economic development; transportation planning; and workforce development.
  • Holy Redeemer Prayer Garden Dedication

    • 2005 – Members of the Vacation Bible School class at Holy Redeemer Parish in Beaver Dam, Ky., surprised Sister Luisa Bickett with a prayer garden dedicated in her honor. It included a statue of Saint Francis and a bench. A plaque on the wall behind the garden reads: “This garden is dedicated to the honor and glory of God in recognition of the faithful service of Sister Luisa Bickett, OSU. May all who pray here know the love, peace, and joy of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 2005” Sister Luisa did outreach in Ohio County from 1984 – 2011.
  • Honored by Friend/Former Student

    • 2015 – A businessman honored by the Archdiocese of Louisville during its “Salute to Catholic School Alumni” made a special point to credit Sister Mary Matthias Ward for helping him become a success. John S. Asher, primary spokesman and vice president for Racing Communications at Churchill Downs since 1997, was honored with the Community Service Award at the ceremony held at downtown Louisville’s Galt House. Upon receiving the award, Asher made sure to acknowledge the impact that Sister Mary Matthias, his grade school teacher at St. Paul School in Leitchfield, Ky., had on his life. Sister Mary Matthias was present for the ceremony. She was serving as director of Local Community Life at the Motherhouse at the time. “I taught John Asher in grades 6, 7 and 8,” Sister Mary Matthias said. “He was a student always wanting to excel, always willing to take suggestions. The school had no athletics so learning was important. We did a lot of creative things such as: science fairs, history fairs, spelling bees, math contests and acting out scripture,” she said. “I tried to make learning interesting and fun.” She learned how much Asher credited her for his education after he mentioned her during a speech he gave at a national convention.
  • Human Rights Award

    • 2012 – Sister Dianna Ortiz was honored by the Program for Torture Victims (PTV) at their Human Dignity Awards dinner in Los Angeles. She received the Human Rights Hero Award for her work as a human rights activist after surviving torture. She was one of three people honored as visionary leaders. PTV works with torture survivors from more than 65 countries and has developed a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation, which includes seeing a case manager, physician and psychotherapist.
  • KY EXCEL Champion Award

    • 2011 – The Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph were honored with the KY EXCEL Champion Award by the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection. The Ursuline Sisters were among six recipients of the Environmental Excellence Awards at the Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment at the Lexington Convention Center. The awards were presented by Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear. The department recognized the efforts and activities of individuals, businesses and organizations that are committed to protecting and improving Kentucky’s environment. The Ursuline Sisters were honored because they recycled 16,000 pounds of materials between September 2010 and July 2011. The Ursuline Sisters have worked for more than 25 years to become Earth-friendly and educate others about sustainability. Sister Amelia Stenger accepted the award on behalf of the Ursuline Sisters.
      http://ursulinesmsj.org/news/ursuline-sisters-honored-with-the-ky-excel-champion-award
  • Kindness Revolution Award

    • 2009 – The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality in Memphis, Tenn., was the recipient of the Spirit of Kindness Award given by the Kindness Revolution. Ed Horrel, founder of the Kindness Revolution, presented the award to co-directors Ursuline Sister Maureen Griner and Ursuline Associate Judy Gray at the Kindness Revolution meeting. The Dorothy Day House was nominated for the award by volunteer, friend and Ursuline Associate Michael Synk. The Kindness Revolution is a movement of businesses committed to displaying values such as kindness, courtesy, dignity, and respect through their leadership, corporate culture and customer service. Members include St. Jude Children’s Hospital and FedEx.
  • Lakemary Center Award

    • 2016 – Sister Pat Lynch was honored for her many years of service to the Lakemary Center during a celebration at the Armacost Car Museum in Grandview, Mo. Sister Pat was presented with framed pictures of the Lakemary Center, with a note that read, “In tribute to the vision of our founding friends who dreamed of a better life for individuals with developmental disabilities. Thank you for your faith and friendship which has sustained us throughout our first 50 years.” Sister Pat served her first 15 years in ministry at Lakemary as a speech therapy aide (1971-72), speech pathologist (1974-81) and education coordinator (1981-86). She continues to serve on the board of Lakemary, while ministering as office manager/campus minister at the Didde Catholic Campus Center at Emporia State University, in Emporia, Kan. Sister Pat was elected to the leadership Council for the Ursuline Sisters, so she moved to Maple Mount and was installed into office on July 17, 2016.
  • Liberty Bell Award

    • 2002 – Sister Fran Wilhelm was presented with the Daviess County Bar Association’s Liberty Bell Award at the Owensboro Country Club, Owensboro, Ky. The annual award is presented to a non-attorney community leader who strengthens the effectiveness of freedom and law through outstanding service as a community volunteer.
  • Lumen Christi Award Nominee

    • 2015 – Every year, Catholic Extension’s Lumen Christi Award honors an individual or group working in one of America’s mission (under-resourced) dioceses who demonstrates how the power of faith can transform lives and communities. These individuals or groups have shown a special dedication to serving others. Sister Fran Wilhelm was a nominee due to her long-time ministry at Centro Latino which she co-founded in 1993. It welcomes Hispanic immigrants to Owensboro, Ky., and helps them with a variety of needs, including shelter, employment, transportation and translation. Prior to this, Sister Fran was a teacher, served in South America and California missions, led a prayer house and directed charismatic renewal.
  • Magnificat Award

    • 2014 – Sister Mary Ellen Backes was honored with the Magnificat Award in the Diocese of Springfield, Ill., where she has served as pastoral assistant at St. Joseph Parish since 1995. The Magnificat Award is a diocesan recognition established in 2002, which was the 150th year of the diocese. Sister Mary Ellen was an Ursuline Sister of Belleville, Ill., prior to their merger with Mount Saint Joseph in 2005. The honors program said this about Sister Mary Ellen: She is director of the RCIA program and religious education for the Parish School of Religion and the former St. Joseph School; an ex-officio member of the pastoral council; a member of several subcommittees; a participant in ecumenical gatherings and activities, and organizer of a weekly adult bible study. She was a member of the first graduating class of the Spiritual Direction Training Program at Mount Saint Joseph in 2006 and offers spiritual direction in Springfield.
  • Maple Leaf Award

    • Every year since 2000, at least two graduates of the former Mount Saint Joseph Academy or Junior College have been awarded the Maple Leaf Award, given to those who “personify the values of their Mount Saint Joseph education in contributions to their local faith communities, civic communities, and/or Mount Saint Joseph.” http://ursulinesmsj.org/alumnae/maple-leaf-award
    • 2017–Sister Mary Irene Cecil A45
    • 2013 – Sister Michael Marie Friedman A64
    • 2011 – Sister Rosemary Keough A56
    • 2004 – Sister Marie Julie Fecher A40
    • 2000 – Sister Agnes Catherine Williams A23
  • Marian Award and Saints Hall of Fame

    • 1998 – This award is bestowed upon faculty, staff and administrators of Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, Overland Park, Kan., for their life-long commitment to the ideals and values of the school. Recipients are identified and selected by the president and/or board of trustees. During the Inaugural Saints Hall of Fame Gala & Tribute in 2013 – when the school was celebrating its 25th year – faculty and staff who were past recipients of the Marian Award, including Sister Kathleen Condry, were grandfathered into the Saints Hall of Fame.
  • Minot Catholic Schools Hall of Fame, Minot, ND

    • 2010 – Two Ursuline Sisters who are natives of North Dakota were among the honorees at the Hall of Fame banquet sponsored by Minot Catholic Schools. Sister Dorothy Helbling taught math and physics at Bishop Ryan High School in Minot from 1958-74, and Sister Mary Ellen Backes is a graduate of Bishop Ryan and was a student at Minot State College from 1968-71. Both were Ursulines of Belleville, Ill., before the 2005 merger with Mount Saint Joseph. The Belleville Sisters got their start in America in North Dakota, before moving the motherhouse to Belleville in 1945. Inductees into the Hall of Fame were the orders of women religious who had taught in the Diocese for more than 65 years, including the Ursuline Sisters. The Hall of Fame helps preserve and strengthen the schools’ motto, “Ever to excel” and recognizes individuals who have provided students with examples of what to dream and aspire to be.
  • Clarence H. Moore Award from the Pan American Health Organization (World Health Organization)

    • 2014 – Water With Blessings, a ministry founded by Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph Larraine Lauter, was chosen as the 2014 winner of the Clarence H. Moore Award for Excellence in Voluntary Service. This is one of six Awards for Excellence in Inter-American Public Health of 2014, awarded by the Pan American Health Organization Foundation, an affiliate of the World Health Organization. Created in 1989, the award highlights the benefits that the voluntary/nongovernmental sector contributes to the public health mission and to improving the lives of the peoples of the Americas.
      Water With Blessings trains women in 21 countries across the developing world to become “Water Women,” learning how to use a simple filtration system to provide clean water to families in their community. There are now more than 4,000 Water Women across the world. Several Water With Blessings representatives traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept and celebrate the award, which includes a prize of $5,000, which Water With Blessings will apply to sponsorships for 80 new mothers in the program. The award letter from Dr. Jennie Ward-Robinson, president and CEO of the PAHO Foundation, says, “The selection of your organization, recognized by an independent jury of professionals, speaks truly to the organization’s noteworthy impact on public health in the Americas.” Water With Blessings was the only winner from the United States.
  • NAACP Award (Dr. Herman E. Floyd award for outstanding service)

    • 2001 – Sister Fran Wilhelm, director of Owensboro’s Centro Latino, received the Dr. Herman E. Floyd Award for outstanding service to the Owensboro-Daviess County community at the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet. Sister Fran received the award “for her tireless work with the Hispanic and Latino community, and her work for and with the community as a whole,” explained local NAACP president Kenith A. Riley. The award is named for the Rev. Herman E. Floyd, who was pastor of the Tenth Street Baptist Church and a state and local civil rights activist. This was the second awarding of this recognition—not an annual award, but one given periodically on the basis of merit. In introducing Sister Fran, President Riley told of hearing people describe her as “Owensboro’s own Mother Teresa. She is what all who are in service to others ought to aspire to be.”
  • National Blue Ribbon award

    • 2012 – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized St. James Elementary in Elizabethtown, Ky., as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School based on its overall academic excellence. The principal of the school at the time was Ursuline Sister Michael Marie Friedman. St. James was one of 269 schools honored across the country, and one of five private schools recognized in the state of Kentucky. The U.S. Department of Education honored the schools at a recognition ceremony in Washington, D.C.  “We are excited!” Sister Michael Marie said. “The Blue Ribbon Award is a validation for us that the strong work ethic instilled in students each day really pays off.  It is a good affirmation for the students and families, who have supported Catholic education in this region. St. James is a stewardship parish that values Catholic education and its school. The parishioners’ sacrifices for Catholic education continue each day. The Blue Ribbons on each school building are displayed with pride. Everybody owns a little piece of that Blue Ribbon.” The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement. St. James was recognized as being an “Exemplary High Performing” school. Founded in 1870, St. James is one of 38 elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville serving 420 students in grades PK-8.  The school planned to move to a new building in October 2012. Note: Sister Michael Marie was principal of St. James from 1990-2015.
  • Notre Dame Center for Liturgy Spirit and Truth Award

    • 2001 – Sister Maureen Griner was recognized for her significant contributions to pastoral liturgy. The Spirit and Truth Award was established in 1999 to recognize members of Liturgy Network, the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy’s organization for liturgists in parishes and diocesan or denominational offices of worship across the United States, Canada and other countries. Sister Maureen received her Masters of Music Education from the University of Nebraska in 1979 and her Masters in Liturgical Studies from the University of Notre Dame in 1987.  She served in schools, parishes and diocesan offices in Missouri, Nebraska, Tennessee and Kentucky.  She was director of music for the Catholic Diocese of Memphis and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. She also served as the founding director of the Liturgical Ministry Institute, a diocesan program designed to form and educate participants in the basics of liturgy, liturgical music and liturgical ministry.
  • Rothko Chapel Oscar Romero Award for Commitment to Truth and Freedom

    • 2005 – Sister Dianna Ortiz, then executive director of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC), accepted this award from the Rothko Chapel in Houston. It was the first time in the award’s history – since 1986 – that a North American individual/organization was honored. This is a human rights award that honors those who are willing to risk their lives to promote human rights for all people. TASSC, based in Washington, D.C., and founded by Sister Dianna in 1998, is the only organization founded by and set up for survivors of torture. The award was named after Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador. Martyred in 1980, he symbolized “the voice not silenced in the midst of oppression, death, torture, militarism and intimidation of many kinds.” The award was presented by Michael Ratner, co-author of “Guantanamo: What the World Should Know.” Sister Dianna survived imprisonment and torture in Guatemala while serving as a missionary teacher of Mayan children in 1989.
  • Owensboro High School Hall of Achievement

  • Owensboro Symphony Endowed Chair

    • An Ursuline Sister of Mount Saint Joseph who was one of the pioneers of the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra was honored on behalf of all Ursuline Sisters with an endowed chair at the symphony. Sister Mary Cecilia Payne directed the Brescia String Ensemble at its first concert in 1952. Over the next 15 years, that group grew and evolved into what is today the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. Sister Mary Cecilia died July 29, 1987, at age 81.The principal chair in the second violin section was endowed in Sister Mary Cecilia’s memory at the Jan. 24, 2009 symphony concert, and is established in honor of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph, in recognition of their role in music education in Owensboro and the surrounding region. The principal chair in the second violin section was previously endowed by Dr. Frank Yarbrough, but with his and the symphony foundation board’s consent, Dr. Yarbrough’s endowed chair was reassigned to the assistant concertmaster’s chair to make the second violin available to honor Sister Mary Cecilia.
  • Paul and Sheila Wellstone Mental Health Visionary Award

    • 2004 – The Washington Psychiatric Society, the association of psychiatric physicians in the National Capital Region, honored Sister Dianna Ortiz with this award at a dinner in Washington, D.C. “Your work as head of the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, your own courage in facing the unspeakable horrors you endured in Guatemala, and your unswerving dedication to uncovering the truth of your own experiences and those of others is an inspiration and challenge to all of us in the mental health community,” wrote WPS Executive Director Walter Hill in a letter to Sister Dianna.
  • Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award

    • 2000 – Sister Dianna Ortiz was honored with the Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award, which is given annually to the person who gives outstanding witness to the theme of Pope Paul VI’s World Day of Peace message, “To reach peace, teach peace.” Pax Christi began giving this award in 1978 – the first winner was Dorothy Day.
  • RiverPark Center Volunteer

    • 2003 – Sister Elaine Burke was one of the top 10 volunteers at the RiverPark Center in Owensboro, Ky.  She served 262 hours in 2002. She began volunteering at the performing arts center in 1993 and has consistently been among the top volunteers, serving as an usher, greeter or ticket-taker. “She makes everyone feel welcome,” said RiverPark Volunteer Coordinator Jaynan Day in 2010. In 2009, Sister Elaine volunteered 327 hours, which put her in fifth place that year. “She’ll help usher the children and keep them in line,” Day said. “The children love her.”
  • Saint Joseph and Paul Church 125th Anniversary

    • 2011-2012 – As part of celebrating its 125th anniversary, Sts. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church in Owensboro, Ky., held a dinner and program on Nov. 6, 2011 to honor the Ursuline Sisters and priests who had a history with the parish. Ground was broken for St. Paul Church in 1887, and it was announced it would merge with St. Joseph Church – which was across the street – in 1948. A panel of sisters and priests who were from or served at Sts. Joseph and Paul told stories and answered questions during a panel discussion, including Sister Joseph Angela Boone, who taught at the school from 1949-51, and 1959-61; Sister Emma Cecilia Busam, who was raised in the parish and taught there from 1961-66; Sister Suzanne Sims, who attended first through fourth grades at the school; Sister Catherine Marie Lauterwasser, who attended sixth through eighth grades at the school; and Sister Mary Sheila Higdon, who attended the school all 12 years.Earlier that year on March 12, five members of the parish came to the Motherhouse to record stories of the sisters who went to school at the parish or who taught there. Present were former students Sister Catherine Marie Lauterwasser, Sister Philomena Cox, and Sister Emma Cecilia Busam, who also later taught at the school; and former teachers Sister Jean Madeline Peake, Sister Lennora Carrico, Sister Frances Miriam Spalding, Sister Clarita Browning, and Sister Ann Patrice Cecil. Sister Eileen Howard stopped by for a little while, she was a music minister at the parish in the mid-1980s. Unable to attend were former teacher Sister Jane Miriam Hancock and former student Sister Melissa Tipmore.A slate plaque presented to the sisters reads: “What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life. To be with each other in silent unspeakable memories. With great appreciation for the Ursuline Sisters for their dedication to faith and education: St. Hubertus Academy 1919-1924, St. Joseph Academy 1924-1948, Sts. Joseph and Paul School 1948-1978. 125-year-old slate from Sts. Joseph and Paul Church Steeple, 1887-2012.”
  • Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne Award

    • 2009 – The former Ursuline Sisters of Paola were honored with the Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne Award by Sacred Heart Church/Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne Shrine of Mound City, Kan. The honor goes to an individual or community who has served in imitation of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, who started the first house of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus outside France, when she came to St. Charles, Mo., in 1818. The Ursuline Sisters were recognized for their contributions in the field of education in the Archdiocese of Kansas City for over 100 years, and for their efforts in promoting vocations to priesthood and religious life. Sister Angela Fitzpatrick accepted the plaque and figurine from the Archbishop Joseph Naumann during Mass at the Sacred Heart Church in Mound City, Kan.
  • Owensboro Rotary Club Fellowship

    • 2007 – Sister Suzanne Sims is the recipient of a Paul Harris Fellowship, awarded by the Owensboro Noon Rotary Club “in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world.” A sum of $1,000 was contributed in the name of Sister Suzanne/the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph for Rotary Foundation projects worldwide. A member of the Rotary Board of Directors, Sister Suzanne chaired a committee for a water project initiative in Uganda, a Rotary International project in which the Owensboro club participated. She was also active in the Rotary’s Readifest program for at-risk schoolchildren.
  • SALT Award

    • 2008 – Sister Dianna Ortiz was honored by the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) with the M. Shanara Gilbert Human Rights Award. SALT recognizes the contributions of activists whose passion for social justice has driven their lives. This award is named after a after a City University of New York Law School professor who dedicated her life to equality, equity and justice. She was killed at the age of 45 in a car accident while visiting South Africa. In her memory, SALT honors those who believe in fighting for a better world. The award is not bestowed annually, but when there is an exceptional person or institution whose struggle for human rights requires recognition.
  • Shamrock Award

    • 2009 – The Shamrock Study Club in Paola, Kan., honored the Ursuline Sisters of Paola with a framed certificate in appreciation for their selfless service to the Paola community for 113 years.
  • Sierra Club Award

    • 2008 – The Mount Saint Joseph Conference and Retreat Center was honored as Kentucky’s representative in the Sierra Club’s National Faith Appreciation Report, which highlights one exceptional faith-based environmental initiative from each of the 50 states. The focus on the environment began with an environmental audit of the grounds, which resulted in a 10-year Environmental Action Plan that began in 1997. The goals of that plan that have been met include installation of geothermal heating and cooling systems and other “green” energy-saving features; best management practices for the farm such as no-till cropping and other soil conservation measures; extensive use of perennial flower beds and other low-maintenance plantings; recycling and composting.
  • Sister Agnes Catherine Williams Stewardship Award

    • 2007 – Sts. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church in Owensboro, Ky., presents its Sister Agnes Catherine Williams, OSU, Stewardship Award each year. This award honors the late Sister Agnes Catherine (1905-2007), who dedicated her life to educating God’s children, many of whom went to Sts. Joseph and Paul School. During her time at the parish, she also supervised student teachers from Brescia College (now University) and coordinated the speech clinic. Even after retirement, one of her most-treasured possessions was a small book that contained the name of EVERY student who was placed in her care. She also had many students remain in contact with her, which showed how much she was remembered, respected and loved.
  • Sister Annalita Lancaster’s Pine Grove Memorial

    • 2015 – Clementsville, KY – Sister Annalita Lancaster was known for many attributes — the eight years she served as superior of her community, being an expert on the history of the Ursuline community and on Father Paul Volk, the priest who brought the sisters to Maple Mount, and even being the community’s first director of Mission Effectiveness. But to a group of students who attended St. Bernard High School in the tiny central Kentucky town of Clementsville from 1958-65, Sister Annalita is remembered in the rustling of the pines. Sister Annalita, who died in 2014, in her 71st year as a sister, served as a teacher, organist and principal at St. Bernard. While there, Kentucky increased its course requirements for a high school diploma, meaning the students at St. Bernard suddenly needed more classes and books. As principal, Sister Annalita knew that what the students really needed were marketable skills which, in those days, included typing and bookkeeping, but the equipment was too expensive. To alleviate this obstacle, Sister Annalita worked with the National Forestry Service to plant 500 pine trees, earning a dollar for each tree planted. St. Bernard had its new courses and technology, as well as a baby pine forest that flourishes today. Her former students never forgot how Sister Annalita’s ingenuity helped them. On Aug. 29, 2015, a plaque was unveiled in her honor that reads: “We, the former students of St. Bernard School, honor Sr. Annalita Lancaster, OSU (1958-1965). To whom we owe our greatest achievements in life as a result of her teaching. She was the mastermind behind the planting of the beautiful pine forest on the hill above our school. She instilled in us faith in God and ourselves. Fondly remembered, with deep gratitude.”
      Read the full story here: http://ursulinesmsj.org/news/sister-annalita-lancaster-remembered-for-planting-encouragement-and-pines
  • Sister Darlene Denton Make a Difference Award

    • 2011 – Sister Darlene Denton spent 13 years on the board of Shively Area Ministries, never tiring in her desire to help the agency that serves the disadvantaged in a blue collar section of Louisville, Ky. When Sister Darlene died in 2011 at age 63, Shively Area Ministries refused to let her spirit go. That same month at its Fall Event Fundraiser, the first Sister Darlene Make A Difference Award was presented in her honor to Sister Jean Anne Zappa, an Ursuline Sister of Louisville who served as the agency’s mission advancement director since 2009. “Shively Area Ministries would not be what it is today without Sister Darlene’s visionary leadership,” Roxanna Trivitt, executive director of Shively Area Ministries, said in announcing the creation of the award. “She had what I like to call, ‘stubborn righteousness.’ She wouldn’t give up finding us a new place that would further our mission of serving people in poverty and crisis. I thank God that He allowed her to see our dream come true.” The Sister Darlene award will be presented annually to a staff member or volunteer whose visionary leadership results in a positive change for Shively Area Ministry’s mission.
      http://ursulinesmsj.org/news/louisville-ursuline-receives-first-sister-darlene-denton-award
  • Sister Fran Wilhelm Stewardship Award

    • 2013 – Sts. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church in Owensboro, Ky., presents its Sister Fran Wilhelm, OSU, Stewardship Award each year in recognition of a parishioner’s service/ministry with the Hispanic community. The inaugural award was given to Sister Fran, or la Hermana Panchita, as she is affectionately called. She has served the local Hispanic community since 1993 through Centro Latino. The church said: “Inspired by her deep faith in Jesus and strengthened by the Sacraments, Sister Fran puts her faith into action through her daily service to the needy. She uses her gifts in service to the Hispanic community in a selfless way, always responding to the needs she sees around her. This includes leading the Spanish choir; providing interpretation and transportation; helping with Sacramental preparation; counseling adults, and endless other areas of service and ministry to Hispanics. Sister Fran emulates Jesus’ mandate to see him in the poor and marginalized.” In 2016, it was decided that future awards would be given to Hispanic parishioners.
  • Sister Kathleen Condry Faith and Friendship Award

    • This award is given to a few select seniors at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, Overland Park, Kan. Sister Kathleen Condry served as the school’s principal (1988-96) and its president (1996-98) for 10 years.
  • Sister Martina Rockers Excellence in Teaching Award

    • 2003 – Sister Martina Rockers was the first recipient of the Ken-A-Vision Outstanding Science Teacher Award. (Ken-A-Vision is a manufacturer of science equipment in Kansas City, Mo.) That award is now known as the Sister Martina Excellence in Teaching Award, a $1,000 award going to a high school teacher of science, math or technology with more than 15 years of service who have maintained a standard of excellence within and outside the classroom. The Science Pioneers, of Kansas City, Mo., present the award each year. Sister Martina has taught in Kansas schools since 1946. She taught at Bishop Miege High School in Roeland Park from 1958-2013, and then returned in 2014 after a brief health leave. There is also a Sister Martina Scholarship fund that was established in 1998. In 2016, it was selected as the Fund-A-Need project for the school’s spring auction, and Sister Martina wrote the letter for the fundraiser, which raised $59,000.
  • Sister Sharon Sullivan Endowed Scholarship

    • 2010 – This new scholarship was set up by the education department to honor Sister Sharon Sullivan and her service to Brescia University in Owensboro, Ky., as she was leaving to become congregational leader of her Ursuline community.
  • Society of American Archivists Sister M. Claude Lane award

    • 1994 – Sister Emma Cecilia Busam received this award for her significant contribution to the field of religious archives. She had been a member of the Society of American Archivists since 1983, which is the year she retired from education and began building an archive for her Ursuline community. In 1991, she also became the archivist for the Diocese of Owensboro, Ky. When she retired in 2011, Bishop William Medley renamed it the “Sister Emma Cecilia Busam Archives.” She is one of the founding members of the Archivists for Congregations of Women Religious.
    • 2012 – Sister Emma Cecilia was honored with the Kentucky Archives Month Certificate of Merit for Significant Service as an Archivist. Barbara Teague, state archivist and records administrator and State Historical Records Advisory Board coordinator, came to Mount Saint Joseph to present the certificate.
  • Sophia Awards

    • The Sophia Award, established in 1999, is given to parishioners in the Diocese of Owensboro who are age 65 and older.  Sophia is a Greek word meaning wisdom. These individuals have lived a life of stewardship, giving time, talent and/or treasure. The nominee can be a lay person – individual or married couple – or a member of a religious community or an ordained deacon or priest. A person can be nominated on past outstanding contributions (living or deceased).  The person with the most nominations from his or her parish will receive the award from the bishop at a special Mass. Each of the 79 parishes may have a recipient. Several Ursuline Associates have also won this award.

      Sr. Joseph Angela Boone

    • 2010 – Sister Margaret Ann Aull, Holy Name of Jesus, Henderson, Ky.
    • 2010 – Sister Mary Jude Cecil, Rosary Chapel, Paducah, Ky.
    • 2010 – Sister Teresa Riley, St. Mary Parish, LaCenter, Ky.
    • 2009 – Sister Joseph Angela Boone – Diocesan Sophia Award
    • 2007 – Sister Jean Claire Ballard (posthumous), Saint Joseph, Central City, Ky.
    • 2005 – Sister Marie Michael Hayden, St. John the Baptist, Fordsville, Ky.
    • 2005 – Sister Helen Leo Ebelhar shared the award with her sister, Beverly Ebelhar – St. Mary Magdalene, Sorgho, Ky.
    • 2004 – Sister Joan Walz and Sister Mary Agnes VonderHaar, Sacred Heart, Hickman, Ky.
    • 2002 – Sister Mary Irene Cecil, Our Lady of Lourdes, Owensboro, Ky.
    • 2002 – Sister Mary Matthias Ward, Saint Leo, Murray, Ky.
  • Speak Truth to Power Traveling Exhibit

    • 2000-2010 – Sister Dianna Ortiz was one of those featured in a photographic exhibition of powerful black-and-white portraits of “human rights defenders who are changing our world” by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Eddie Adams, with text by Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, and curated by Nan Richardson of Umbrage Editions in New York. It debuted at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., then traveled to other venues including Boston Public Library; Columbia University; Northwestern University`s Dittmar Memorial Gallery; National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; Puerto Rican Museum of Art; Toledo Public Library in Ohio; San Francisco Public Library, and the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego. Afterwards, it was showcased in international locations. Besides the large photographs, there was also a PBS video documentary made titled, “The Kennedy Center Presents: Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark.” There is also a “Speak Truth to Power” book.
  • Teacher of the Year in New Mexico

    • 2002 – Sister Sara Marie Gomez was noted “Teacher of the Year” by her fellow teachers at Sacred Heart School in Farmington, N.M., where she was teaching fifth-grade religion. She taught there from 1972-73 and then from 1997 to the present day (2016). She is also the director of religious education for St. Joseph Parish in Aztec and Holy Trinity Parish in Flora Vista, both in New Mexico.
  • Ursuline Centennial Honors in 2012

  • U.S. Catholic Award

    • 2003 – Sister Dianna Ortiz, author of the award-winning book “The Blindfold’s Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth,” was honored with the U.S. Catholic Award for furthering the cause of women in the church. She became the 25th recipient of the annual award and joins a list that includes death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean, the Catholic Theological Society of America, and the late teacher and evangelist Sister Thea Bowman. Sister Dianna accepted the award on behalf of members of her organization, the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, and on behalf of all who have suffered torture. She was abducted, tortured and raped in Guatemala, where she was serving as a missionary with the Ursulines and teaching indigenous children. Claretian Father John Molyneux, editor of U.S. Catholic, said, “Sister Dianna Ortiz has made tremendous contributions to the church and to women in the church by having the courage and strength to tell her story and to confront those who were complicit in the harm that was done to her and others … She is a powerful example of the transformative work of women in the Catholic Church.” Sister Dianna received a standing ovation from the more than 200 people who attended the award event at Loyola University in Chicago.
  • Voice of the Voiceless Award from the Annunciation House

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      2005 – Sister Dianna Ortiz was honored by the Annunciation House with its second Voice of the Voiceless award. Annunciation House is an all-volunteer organization serving immigrants and refugees on the U.S./Mexico board. It operates two shelters in El Paso, Texas. In its announcement, the group wrote: “The experience of Sister Dianna and her powerful advocacy on behalf of victims of torture brings voice to the experiences of so many of the guests who have passed through our houses through the years. Our guests struggle to have their stories heard, many have themselves been victims of torture, others of economic and political polices that have caused large-scale violence, prolonged separation from families or homelands and extreme poverty. Sister Dianna reminds us of how quick we are to discredit their pain, to blame them for the situations in which they find themselves, to reject any larger responsibility for policies which cause human suffering.”

  • Volunteer/Woman of the Year

    • 2000 – The Sister Rita Lavigne was named “Volunteer of the Year” by ECKAN – the East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation – for her work with the poor.2008 – Sister Rita was honored by the Paola, Kan., chapter of the Shamrock Study Club as their “Woman of the Year” for her “valuable contributions to our community, often without receiving recognition … for her efforts.” One of her primary projects was coordinating the Food Pantry located at the Ursuline Sisters of Paola Motherhouse, which was a project of the Paola Association for Church Action (PACA). Her then Superior Sister Kathleen Condry wrote about how Sister Rita was often called away from meals or prayer to fill food orders, “and Rita did it all with charm and a smile on her face.”
      Sister Rita passed away in 2015.
  • War Resisters League

    • 2007 – The War Resisters League honored Sister Dianna Ortiz at its 42nd annual Peace Awards reception in New York City. She accepted the award on behalf of the group she founded, the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition. TASSC provides resources to torture survivors. Based in Washington, D.C, it has launched a campaign to repeal the Military Commissions Act which, in effect, legalizes torture. TASSC has a Truth Speakers program designed to empower and involve torture survivors. The War Peace Award honors those who have taken leading roles in defense of human rights and whose work represents the league’s nonviolent platform of action. The other recipient of this year’s Peace Award was the Center for Constitutional Rights which advocates for those with the least access to legal resources. It has focused on the rights of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.