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The Franciscan Federation, a national organization founded in 1965 to promote Franciscan evangelical life, held its annual conference on June 21st through June 24th in St. Louis, Missouri. This year's theme was entitled, "A Call to be Saints, Founders and Prophets: Franciscan Writings Addressing Contemporary Issues." The conference held discussions and speeches on Franciscan texts and how they apply to today's modern issues.

At the conference the annual Peacemaker award was presented. The Peacemaker Award is an award presented every year 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 Saint in the congregation's family (authentic incarnation of our TOR charism)
  • A Founder in Franciscan tradition (initiator of a program or ministry)
  • A Prophet in our challenging times (radical witness to justice)

This year the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago selected their foundress, Venerable Mother Mary Theresa Dudzik, as the recipient of the 2019 Peacemaker Award. Sister Jeanne Marie Toriskie, General Vicar of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, and also Director of the Beatification Outreach Program writes why Mother Mary Theresa was selected this year.

"As an authentic incarnation of the spirit of St. Francis, Venerable Mary Theresa Dudzik (1860-1918), a Franciscan Tertiary, saw the poor elderly homeless on the streets of Chicago and brought them into her own apartment, giving them shelter, food, and loving care. Her heart was so touched by their plight that she surrendered her future of a comfortable life as a talented seamstress, to found and become a humble member of the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago in 1894 and to open the first nursing home in the city of Chicago five years later.

As a prophet she spoke not only with her words, but with her whole life, that the poor, homeless, and elderly were our sisters and brothers, not garbage to be left in alleys. True to her Franciscan charism, her daughters are celebrating 125 years of ministry, having taken her original call and applied it to the issues of our times. Venerable Mary Theresa Dudzik is a Saint, Founder, and Prophet who continues to speak to our world today which yet fails to respect life for people of all cultures, ages, faiths, and economic status."

Here are the previous Peacemaker Award honorees:

  • Sister Jeanne Marie Toriskie (2018)
  • 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)