Carmel In The News

The Catholic Messenger Davenport, Iowa November 8, 2001

Papal honor for 26

Sister Mary Joan Loebig, O.C.D.
Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice

Bishop requests recognition for laity, nuns, priests

Twenty-six individuals in the Davenport diocese - seven nuns, 15 lay people, and four priests - have received papal honors requested for them by Bishop William Franklin.

In a Mass of thanksgiving planned for Wednesday evening, Nov. 21, at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport, the bishop will formally make the priests Chaplains to His Holiness with the title of Reverend Monsignor, make eight men Knights of St. Gregory and three women Dames of St. Gregory, and confer the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontiface on six nuns and five lay people.

This year is the 120th in the diocese's history, and that milestone is also part of the Nov. 21 celebration, scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

Msgr. Drake Shafer, diocesan Vicar general, said the date, the day before Thanksgiving, was chosen partly with the hope that it would be a time when friends, families and other relatives of the honorees could be free to gather and attend. Msgr. Shafer is on of the new honary papal chaplains.

Three married couples are among the honorees: Thomas and Mary Lazio of Ottumwa, I. Weir Sears and Patricia Sears of Davenport, and Richard and Mary Lou Kleine of Bettendorf.

This is the first time a parish life coordinator has ever been honored -- because such a position did not exist before Bishop Gerald O'Keefe installed Carol Kallberg as coordinato of parish llife for St. Mary parish in Nichols and St. Mary's in Lone Tree in 1989.

Among the sisters honored are the heads of three religious communities in the diocese: Sister Jude Fitzpatrick, CHM president of the Sisters of the Humility of Mary; Sister Marilyn Huegerich, OSF, president of the St. Francis of Clinton; and Sister Mary Joan Loebig, O.C.D., prioress of the Carmelite Monastery in rural Eldridge.

Following are summaries of the personal history of each honored individual and their work for the Church, as described in the petitions of Bishop Franklin to the Vatican: ...

Sister Mary Joan Loebig, OCD

Sister Mary Joan is a native of Wesley, Iowa. She joined the School Sisters of St. Francis of Milwaukee in 1952, teaching on the secondary level in their schools.

In 1976 she entered the Regina Coeli Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns. In that community she has been director of novices, sub-prioress and twice elected prioress.

What is the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice? (click to view picture of medal)

The Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (For the Church and the Pontiff) is a medal bestowed by the pope on persons recognized for distinguished service to the Church.

It was instituted by Pope Leo XIII in 1888 to mark his golden jubilee as a priest.

The shape of the cross and the images engraved on it have been changed a number of times according to the wishes of succeeding popes. The cross is suspended from a ribbon in the papal colors of yellow and white and is worn on the left.


(November 21, 2001, picture of Bishop William Franklin presenting Sr. Mary Jo with award at Sacred Heart Cathedral)

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