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History of The Franciscan International Award

Each year the Order of Friars Minor Conventual presents an award to an individual or to an organization which is committed to serving the Ideals of Christ, especially as they were proclaimed by St. Francis of Assisi. This Franciscan International Award is presented yearly by the Conventual Franciscans on behalf of Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center, Prior Lake, Minnesota.

The Franciscan Order was founded in 1209 as an Order within the Roman Catholic Church by St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis had many devoted friends and benefactors among the inhabitants of his native Italy. Many of these were especially honored by being awarded honorary membership with the Franciscan Order. So, from the very beginning of the Order, individuals who served others in an outstanding way were given a "Franciscan Award" for their acts of charity. That custom endures to the present day and was the basis for reestablishing the Franciscan International Award In 1959.

The recipient of the award is requested to be present for the Award Presentation that takes place during a banquet, usually held in the Minneapolis-St Paul area. The recipient is requested to give a few words (25 minutes) of acceptance. The acceptance speech may properly express the work of the recipient who merited the Award. The banquet both recognizes the accomplishments of the recipient and promotes Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center. Any profits realized from the ticket sales help support Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake.

The actual presentation is made by an official of the Franciscan Order, either by the Minister General of the Order or his delegate. The Archdiocese of the Saint Paul and Minneapolis is represented at the Award Presentation by the Archbishop or his representative.

The award itself consists of a walnut plaque and shield bearing the Franciscan Coat of Arms, with the proper information about the recipient of the Award.


1959  Mr. and Mrs. I.A. O'Shaughnessy -- Family Life

1960  Archbishop William Brady - Journalism

1961  Mr. Lawrence Welk - Family Entertainment

1962  Mr. Charles Kellstad - Business

1963  Dr. Finn J. Larsen - Science

1964  Dr. Charles W. Mayo - Medicine

1965  Mr. Ara Parseghian - Athletics

1966  Mr. F.K. Weyerhaueser - Conservation

1967  Alcoholics Anonymous - Social Service

1968  Mr. James T. Griffin - Promoting Ideals Among Youth

1969  Mr. George Harris - Promoting Civic Welfare

1970  Baroness Catherine DeHueck Doherty - Womanly Virtue

1971  Mr. Harry Reasoner - Communications

1972  Dr. Billy Graham - True Ecumenism

1973  Dr. & Mrs. J.C. Wilke - Pro-Life Movement

1974  Governor Patrick C. Lucey - Criminal Justice Reform

1975  Mr. and Mrs. Joe Rigert - Interracial Justice

1976  Dr. B.F. Pearson, M.D. - Healing Ministry

1977  Mr. Francis MacNutt - Spiritual Healing

1978  Dr. Mildred Jefferson, M.D. - Pro-Life Movement

1979  Fr. Bruce Ritter, O.F.M. Conv. - Youth Ministry

1980  Mr. John E. McCarthy - Work in Refugee Affairs

1981  Fr. William B. Wasson - Work with Orphaned and Disabled Children

1982  Lorand and Anna Andahazy - Classical Arts

1983  Fr. Urban Wagner, O.F.M. Conv. - Founder of Franciscan Retreats

1984  Gerald and Patricia Mische - Global Awareness Education

1985  John Michael Talbot - Contemporary Christian Music

1986  Wilko B. Schoenbohm - Service to the Disabled

1987  Sesame Street Staff - Excellence in the Education of Children

1988  Sister M. Giovanni, SSND - Work with Today's Youth

1989  Rabbi Max A. Shapiro - Work in Jewish-Christian Dialogue

1990  Loaves and Fishes Too - Feeding the Hungry

1991  Madonna Kerber - Volunteer Work with Prisoners and the Disadvantaged

1992  Father Kenneth J. Roberts - Catholic Priest\Evangelist

1993  Sisters of St. Clare - Dedicated Lives of Prayer and Contemplative Living

1994  Carolina Mata-Woodruff - Advocacy for Migrant Workers

1995  Rainbows for all God's Children  - Healing for Those Who Grieve

1996  Archbishop John Roach - Outstanding Church Leadership

1997  Marty Haugen - Composer of Liturgical Music

1998  National Evangelization Teams - Catholic Youth Ministry

1999  Habitat for Humanity - Housing for the Poor

2000  Mary Jo Copeland of "Sharing and Caring Hands" for mobilizing help to the poor.

2001  Janet Krocheski -- For Leadership for Life.

2002  Friars Regis Armstrong, Bill Short, and Wayne Hellmann, for Franciscan Scholarship

2003  Sister Helen Prejean -- Advocate for those on Death Row, their victims, their families, and the families of their victims.

2004  Jacob Wetterling Foundation -- for promoting and protecting the integrity of children.

2005  Camp Heartland -- for providing summer recreation to children with HIV/AIDS

2006  Worldwide Marriage Encounter -- for supporting and celebrating Marriage

2007  The Knights of Columbus -- for service to one and all.

2008  Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, DD, for Servant Leadership

2009  The Cristo Rey Network, transforming Urban America One Student at a Time

2010  Fr. Juniper Cummings, OFM Conv. for Building and Rebuilding the Church 
         FIA Dinner 2010

2011  FIA Dinner 2011 CaringBridge

16385 Saint Francis Lane - Prior Lake, MN 55372 - 952-447-2182 - email: secretary@franciscanretreats.net