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2016 Winners of St. Francis de Sales Award
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Maria de Lourdes Ruiz Scaperlanda
Sooner Catholic, Oklahoma City, OK 

Maria has written for Catholic media, most especially for the Sooner Catholic newspaper, for more than 30 years. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she excels at telling the human side of many of the tough social and political issues facing our state, Church and nation.

Focusing on just this past year, Maria traveled to Jordan at her own expense to visit Catholic communities there and tell the story of the refugee families being forced from their homes and parish communities. She put a face on a tragedy that helped Catholics understand more fully what was at stake and how Christians were surviving through faith and prayer. Without hesitation she offered to write on those insights and experiences for our readers.

Most importantly, when Archbishop Paul S. Coakley wanted to commission the first official biography of our beloved Servant of God, Father Stanley Rother, he had one person in mind to complete the task with compassion, accuracy and storytelling -- that person was Maria. In December, Maria's book was published by Our Sunday Visitor and quickly sold out. "The Shepherd Who Didn't Run" is a touching and harrowing story of Father Stanley Rother's life and last days as a missionary priest in Guatemala. He was recently deemed a martyr by a Vatican commission and is a step closer to sainthood. Maria's work will be the quintessential reference for his life and service. 


Special St. Francis de Sales Award

Archbishop Claudio Celli
Pontifical Council for Social Communication

 Archbishop Claudio Celli has been an ardent supporter and advocate for the Catholic press around the world. In his position as president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communication he has been a strong and effective advocate for the global Catholic press, especially in the lands of Africa, Asia and South America where the church is most robust and where the CPA ever more turns its attention. He reminds us in the U.S. and Canada of our responsibilities to nurture the Catholic press in developing nations, and he brings all of us together to think ever more deeply about our common obligation to the communication of the church's mission. We are better Catholic communicators for his work.


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