Franciscan Peacemaker Award


Franciscan Federation Peacemaker Award

The Franciscan Federation of the Third Order (Brothers and Sisters) join annually holding a Federation Conference. During the gathering a special Peacemaker Award honor is presented to  a member whose individual Community  has cited  her/him as exemplifying  the specific  theme selected for that year .  The theme for this year’s Conference  was “Franciscans and Muslims: lessons from the Past and Prospects for the Future”.  The USA Province chose to recognize  Sister Joanne Riggs for this Peacemaker Award. Joanne met the criteria for selecting a nominee: a Franciscan who embodies openness to the other and someone who, in their service, transcends prejudices, engages in interfaith dialogue or cross-cultural ministry and witness to unity in diversity. The following is a summary of what the sisters named as the reason for nominating  her for this Peacemaker Award.

“Sister Joanne Riggs, smic, has been active in Interfaith dialogue as a member of the Archbishop’s (Newark) Commission on Interreligious Dialogue through ongoing conversations with Islamic leaders in Passaic County, She has also been appointed as an attendee to the Parliament of World Religions.  Through her efforts she has raised the consciousness of her sisters regarding Islam, the need and value of interfaith dialogue, and the needs of Muslim refugees. Where ever she has lived and worked she  has brought needed information and health services as a professional nurse, to not only the Muslims, but the homeless and undocumented persons and to those speaking languages other than English.  She has  stood staunchly against prejudices toward the Muslim community in conversations, committee work, and Christian/Muslim dialogue both as participant and organizer. She has been a voice of conscience for years  in the north New Jersey area where prejudice against so many of the above mentioned is rampant. As a Franciscan she embodies the spirit of Francis through humble service, a wry sense of humor, and a spirit of joy and leadership skills as she exhibits the desire: “that all may be one.”

During the Franciscan Peacemaker Banquet, on June 13, 2018, over 50 sisters and brothers were recognized by their Congregations and received the Peacemaker Award.   Throughout the conference a power point  with a peacemaker photo as well as photos that were taken to show how they are active in the ministry specifically with the conference theme was continually rolling for all the participants to see.

Though Sister Joanne was not able to be present at the conference or Peacemaker Banquet, Sisters Beatrice Yang,  Eleanor Goekler and Saundra McKeta  attended and  when Joanne’s name was called,  Sister Eleanor accepted the Peacemaker Award in  Sister Joanne’s name.  We are grateful to Sister Joanne for all of the good work that she does especially in the area of the Muslim-Christian Interreligious Dialogue.

After returning to Denville, NJ and following Evening Prayer, Sister Joanne was presented her award with all of the sisters at Our Lady of Sorrows present