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Columbus Dominican Receives Papal Award

WASHINGTON, DC – December 26, 2006 Sr. Elizabeth McDonough, OP, JCD, STL, a Dominican Sister of St. Mary of the Springs and Professor of Canon Law and Systematic Theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum, has been awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. The honor was requested from the Pope by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and was conferred on Sr. Elizabeth by Cardinal McCarrick and Archbishop Donald Wuerl at a ceremony on November 19, 2006, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC.

Sr. Elizabeth is well known as a canon lawyer, professor, author and speaker as well as canonical consultant for several dioceses and many religious communities throughout the world. She attended Albertus Magnus College (New Haven, CT) and graduated from the College of Saint Mary of the Springs (now, Ohio Dominican University) before earning JCB, JCL, and JCD degrees from The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC) in the early 1980s. She earned an STL from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception (Dominican House of Studies, Washington, DC) in 1998. V. Rev, J. Augustine Dinoia, OP, directed her STL thesis, “God Unraveled,” which analyzed the theological monograph accompanying the Nygren-Ukeritis “Religious Life Futures Project” (conducted in the USA in the early 1990s).

Sr. Elizabeth currently holds the Bishop James A. Griffin Chair of Canon Law at the Pontifical College Josephinum (Columbus, OH). She previously taught at Mount St. Mary Seminary (Emmitsburg, MD) and on the pontifical faculty of canon law at The Catholic University of America. She is a member of the Canon Law Society of America, the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Canadian Canon Law Society. Sr. Elizabeth currently serves as one of two non-clergy consultants to the Canonical Affairs Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Past positions of note include canonical advisor to the Cardinal Hickey and Tribunal Judge and Vice Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Washington. She also served as Book Review Editor for The Jurist and as Defender of the Bond and Advocate in the Columbus Tribunal.

Sr. Elizabeth has published more than fifty articles, book reviews, and book chapters as well as one book and multiple entries in The New Catholic Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Catholicism. In addition, as canonical editor of the quarterly journal Review for Religious, she also has authored eighty-eight consecutive “Canonical Counsel” essays on religious life topics since 1990. Her works have appeared in The Jurist, Canon Law Society of America Proceedings, Studia Canonica, The Antonianum, Communio, and Review for Religious. Sister is well known among religious in the English-speaking world, having lectured and consulted in Great Britain, Ireland and Australia, as well as throughout the United States.

Without hesitation, Sr. Elizabeth attributes reception of this papal honor to her more than four decades as a Dominican of Saint Mary of the Springs. In particular, she highlights the support of her sisters and her community’s dedication to study as well as the foresight of former prioress Sr. Camilla Mullay, OP, who requested thirty years ago that she begin canon law studies explicitly “to serve the Church.” Sister Elizabeth notes that another Springs Dominican, Sr. Paulette Boll, OP, was also awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross over a decade ago for her service as a missionary in Peru and her promotion of missions for the Diocese of Columbus.

The medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice was instituted by Pope Leo XIII (17 July 1888, “Quod Singulari”) in memory of his golden jubilee of ordination. At that time, it was bestowed on those who had, in various ways, significantly assisted in and promoted the success of the jubilee celebration and the Vatican Exposition. It became a permanent distinction among the papal decorations in October 1898. Its object is to recognize those who in a general way deserve recognition by the pope because of services done for the Church. The award can be bestowed on religious who are at least forty-five years of age and are professed at least fifteen years.

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