Presentation of Michael Bell Memorial Award to Nazareth House Johannesburg
On 3 0ctober 2016, Council 47 organised the presentation of the Michael Bell Memorial Award for Initiatives for Life in the Organisation Category for 2014 to Nazareth House Johannesburg. The presentation was at Nazareth House in Yeoville, Johannesburg and was attended by Nazareth House Management, some Supreme and Gauteng Regional officers and a number of Knights from Council 47 and former Nazareth House Management Committee member and Council 3 PGK Tony McPhail.
PSK Robin Lydall, International Alliance of Catholic Knights Assistant Secretary for Life Issues told the gathering that the International Alliance of Catholic Knights brings together fifteen Orders of Catholic men, working in twenty-six countries throughout the world. All share the same commitment to the service of Christ and their fellow men and all are deeply committed to promoting the principal of the right to life of every human being from the moment of conception until natural death. It was in pursuit of this commitment that in 1992 the Alliance decided to seek out and recognise, outstanding initiatives in defense of the Right to Life, being taken by organisations and individuals throughout the world, by instituting an international award ‘Initiatives For Life’. The award is named in favour of English pro-life campaigner Michael Bell. Former recipients include Lord David Alton of Liverpool (Youngest MP ever in 1979 and campaigner for Human Rights and religious liberty) and Thomas Cardinal Winning, founder of Initiative for Life in March 1997 focusing on helping women facing crisis pregnancies. Some recent winners include:
- 2013 Individual Category: Mrs. Julie Cook of Australia for her courage and persistence in tackling Abortion Trauma in the context of the current social and political landscape.
- 2012 Individual Category: Bernadette Smyth, founder and director of Precious Life, in Northern Ireland.
Previous South African winners were:
- 2011 Organisation Category: Bienvenu Shelter for Refugee Women and their Children, Johannesburg. Nominated by the South African Knights of da Gama Council 21 Edenvale.
- 2009 Individual Category: Father Stan Brennan for his dedication to the upliftment and encouragement of the poor, including seeking to provide them with life skills and the means to earn a living in order to give them dignity and hope.
- 2001 Individual Category: Father Massimo Biancalani, in recognition of his leading role in developing the Durban, South Africa based Right to Live Campaign of which he is the co-ordinator, and his work in establishing the Mater Homes for crisis pregnancies and women and children affected by AIDS.
PGK John Murphy, Council 47 Sponsor for Nazareth House Johannesburg outlined why Council 47 motivated that Nazareth House Johannesburg should receive the award. In summary, the Nazareth House Johannesburg Sisters have been pursuing their mission of housing the homeless and giving hope to the hopeless for over 100 years. In this time they have saved and prolonged the lives of tens of thousands of people from babies to old aged. These people have always been the most destitute and neglected members of the Johannesburg and surrounding community. The Nazareth House Johannesburg Sisters have quietly but resolutely pursued their work over all this time, often against great financial and other adversity. They have promoted and defended the principle of the right to life over all these years. The South African Department of Health and Social Welfare has recognised Nazareth House as a model institution.
Council 47’s motivation was approved by the Knights of da Gama’s Gauteng Region and in turn by the Board of Directors of the Knights of da Gama of South Africa. It was then submitted to the International Alliance of Catholic Knights who adjudicated the award in favour of Nazareth House Johannesburg for 2014 from the different entries that had been summited from member Knights organisations around the world.
Council 47 Grand Knight Archie Thema presented the framed hand written certificate and the inscribed plaque to Nazareth House Johannesburg Superior Sister Margaret Craig. In his address GK Archie noted that Council 47 has been supporting the Children’s Home for AIDS orphans at Nazareth House Johannesburg since the Council’s inception in 1993. He noted that the two main charity fund raisers run by Council 47 were the annual Charity Golf Day and the annual Spring Charity Ball. A significant portion of the funds raised go to the Children’s Home each year. Each year Council 47 also has a Christmas Party for the approximate 40 children that are now at the Home. GK Archie warmly congratulated Nazareth House Johannesburg management and staff on their fantastic work over the years and for their well-deserved receipt of the Michael Bell Memorial Award. He hoped that the relationship between Council 47 and Nazareth House Johannesburg would continue for many years to come.
Nazareth House Superior Sister Margaret thanked the Knights for the award and for the assistance and encouragement over the years. She also looked for to the continuation of the very positive relationship.
Nazareth House South African Region CEO Werner Laubscher also thanked the Knights for the award and the financial support. He said that receiving this award was very encouraging for the hard working sisters and staff.
After teas and snacks the management of Nazareth House Johannesburg took the guests on a tour of the very extensive facilities that showed very clearly what a great amount of good work is being done at Nazareth House Johannesburg.
If you would like to offer any form of support, financial or otherwise, to Nazareth House, please contact Olivia Low, House Manager at 011 648 1002 and firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on the Michael Bell Memorial Award, click here
Some other pictures from the day's proceedings ...
And an earlier video on Nazareth House Johannesburg ...