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The Franciscan Federation, a national organization founded in 1965 to promote Franciscan evangelical life, held its annual conference on June 11th through June 14th in Buffalo, New York. This year's conference theme was entitled, "Franciscans and Muslims: Lessons from the Past & Prospects for the Future." During the conference, there were discussions and presentations on the history of Christian and Muslim relations beginning with the Crusades and St. Francis's famous encounter with the Sultan of Egypt, al-Malik al-Kāmil, up until today, with the challenges Muslim immigrants face. This conference theme was central to the criteria to this year's Peacemaker Award.

The Peacemaker Award is an award presented at the Franciscan Federation conference to honor one member of each congregation. This award has a different set of criteria every year. This year's requisites for the award were the following:

  • A Franciscan who embodies an openness to the other
  • Someone who, in their service, transcends prejudices engages in interfaith dialogue or cross-cultural ministry and witnesses to unity in diversity.

This year the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago selected Sister Jeanne Marie Toriskie as the 2018 recipient of the Peacemaker Award. Sister Jeanne Marie has had a long history serving in social justice and has had a heart for others' plights since her teen years, when she helped those with undiagnosed learning disabilities with their homework and science projects. Sister also marched for migrant workers in the grape boycotts of the late 1960 and then later for workers' rights in Chicago to demand pastoral care for immigrant detainees. She also joined the Archdiocese of Chicago initiative for immigration reform and is an active member of the Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants, participating in their public witness events and helping to design their banners.

Sister Jeanne Marie Toriskie entered religious life in 1960. She later became a teacher and taught various subjects at different schools over the years. Her first teaching assignment was at St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Youngstown, Ohio (1964-1971), and then at Madonna High School in Chicago (1971-1979), where she taught German and was the foreign language department chairman. Sister then taught science and reading at Five Holy Martyrs School in Chicago from 1979 to 1983. In 1984, Sister Jeanne Marie became principal at St. Florian School in Chicago and served there until 1989 and then principal at St. Stanislaus Bishop and Martyr School in Chicago until 1999. Sister returned to teaching in 2001 when she became a professor at St. Xavier University in Chicago, teaching in the School of Education, and then later as a Coordinator of the STEM laboratory. In addition to her education background, Sister was active in leadership in the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. She was a General Councilor from 1998-2003, and from 2008-2013, and then the General Vicar from 2013 to present time.

Sister has a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in German from Youngstown State University, a Master of Arts in Library Science from Dominican University, a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Loyola University of Chicago. In addition to her extensive education, Sister holds professional memberships in Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Phi Delta Kappa, and is an active participant in many others as well. Sister is also the Promoter for the Cause of Venerable Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik, foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. "I am so honored that my Sisters have selected me for the Peacemaker Award. My heart continues to be touched by the plight of the poor, by workers who labor hard yet cannot earn a living wage, by immigrants who flee violence and trafficking in their homelands yet cannot find a welcome here in the land of the free. May we all be peacemakers, like St. Francis, who urged everyone to be instruments of peace."

Here are the previous Peacemaker Award honorees:

  • Sister M. Bernadette Bajuscik (2017)
  • Sister M. Francis Clare Radke (2015)
  • Sister Doloria Kosiek (2014)
  • Sister M. Gabriel Lazarski (2013)
  • Sister Georgeann Kinel (2012)
  • Sister M. Andrea Puchalaski (2010)
  • Sister Theresa Mary Obremski (2007)
  • Sister M. Claudiana Jachimowicz (2005)