What is the Pope Leo XIII Award?
The Pope Leo XIII Award is administered by the Leo House Board of Directors through its Board Selection Committee. The award seeks to recognize Catholic clergy, religious and lay persons or organizations who best embody the ideals and values most cherished by the late Pontiff. The award also recognizes those who have served faithfully to advance and enhance the pontifical legacy and heritage of Leo XIII. The Pope Leo XIII Award remains the only national award in the United States honoring the name of a pontiff.
About Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B. – Our 2019 Award Recipient
Mother Dolores Hart, OSB, recently celebrated her Golden Jubilee of 50 years of vowed life on September 17th, 2016. She is a nun at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, which is a contemplative order of 40 Benedictine nuns. Mother Hart may be best known as Elvis’ love interest in “Loving You.” She was also his first on-screen kiss! Due to her rising popularity after that film, she went on to star in 9 more productions until she left behind Hollywood to take holy vows. Hart remains a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, known as ‘the Academy.’ To this day, she is the only nun to be an Oscar-voting member (wikipedia.org).
In 2012, she attended the Oscars on behalf of the HBO documentary, “God is the Bigger Elvis,” which was nominated for an award. View the trailer of the documentary, “God is the Bigger Elvis,” which is available on the HBO GO service.
About The Abbey of Regina Laudis- The Abbey of Regina Laudis was founded in 1947 in Bethlehem, Connecticut. It is a community of contemplative Benedictine women who praise God through prayer and work. A new campaign, known as the New Horizons Renovation Project, will help address critical issues of safety and handicap-accessibility at the Abbey. Your support would ensure they are able to provide better care for the elder members and house incoming younger members. Most importantly, support of the campaign helps them continue serving as a welcoming center of prayer and spiritual solace.
History of The Pope Leo XIII Award
The origin of the Pope Leo XIII Award in the United States connects to the Archdiocese of Chicago and Bishop Bernard J. Sheil (1888-1969). Sheil, founder of the Catholic Youth Organization (“CYO”) in 1930, devised and initiated the award. After Bishop Sheil’s death, the Award continued until 1978 when it was discontinued. No Pope Leo XIII Award has been presented in the United States since that time.
In early 2017, Fr. James Hyde of the Archdiocese of Chicago, happened upon the history of the dormant Pope Leo XIII Award in archival documents. In staying at the Leo House in New York City, the Catholic guesthouse named in honor of Pope Leo XIII, Father Hyde spoke with Leo House Executive Director David J. Smith. The suggestion was made to “resurrect” the former Chicago-based award and to present it annually. The award is now tailored to, and under the auspices of, the Leo House of New York City.
About Pope Leo XIII
Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) is the oldest serving Pope to date (reigning until his death at age 93). In addition, he holds the third longest pontificate behind Pope Pius IX and Saint John Paul II. Due to his issuing eleven Papal encyclicals on the subject of the rosary, he is known as the “Rosary Pope.” Championing intellectualism, he attempted to define the Catholic Church in modern thinking. He inspired the Catholic faith in the youth around the world. Standing up for the rights of workers, he supported fair wages, safe working conditions and the formation of unions. Pope Leo influenced Roman Catholic Mariology, or the systematic study of the person of Mary, mother of Jesus. Pope Leo XIII was a tireless friend and protector of German immigrants arriving in the United States, specifically in New York.