Spirit of Saints Francis and Clare Award

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The University of St. Francis awards the Spirit of Saints Francis and Clare Award to a resident in the State of Illinois who provides a living example of the Franciscan values embraced by the university community. The award is named in honor of the university’s patrons, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi, both of the 13th century. The University of St. Francis was founded in 1920 and is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate.

Nominations for the award are sought from the Chicago, Joliet, Belleville, Peoria, Springfield and Rockford dioceses in Illinois as well as the general public. The recipient is chosen by a committee chaired by the university’s vice president for Mission Inegration. The award will be given at the
Winter Commencement.

Award Criteria

Recipients of the Spirit of Saints Francis and Clare Award must meet the following criteria:

  • Be residents of the State of Illinois.
  • Be living examples of the University of St. Francis values: Respect, Integrity, Compassion and Service.

Preference is given to nominees who contribute to the cause of peace and mercy and/or provide service to those in need. The Spirit of Saints Francis and Clare Award is open to individuals of all religions. Awardees are required to attend the Winter Commencement at the University of St. Francis campus in Joliet.

Spirit of Saints Francis and Clare Award Recipients

  • 2003: The Most Rev. Roger L. Kaffer, retired auxiliary bishop, Diocese of Joliet
  • 2004: William J. Appleby Purcell, former director, Office for Peace and Justice, Archdiocese of Chicago
  • 2005: Rev. Mr George Brooks, Director of Advocacy at Kolbe House, Chicago, IL.
  • 2006: Sr. Patricia Downey, OP (Adrian), Rockford Diocese
  • 2008: Mary Ellen Durbin, Executive Director, People’s Resource Center, Wheaton, IL.
  • 2010: Mr. Robert Vogelbaugh, Peoria Diocese, Quad Cities “Mr. Thansgiving”
  • 2011: Natalie Bayci, St. Raymond Cathedral Parish, Diocese of Joliet, IL.