Congratulations to Catholic Extension’s 2018-19 Lumen Christi Award recipient, Sister Marie-Paule Willem of the Diocese of Las Cruces! 

Sister Marie-Paule Willem, FMM, has spent a lifetime promoting the dignity of individuals and families. She is 85 years old and speaks five languages. As a little girl growing up in Belgium, she lived through Nazi occupation. She had to leave her missionary work in South America after a brutal regime expelled her from the region. Currently, she serves women in detention and leads a growing church in New Mexico. 

Working across many countries, she has been building up communities of faith for more than 60 years. She believes strong families are the foundation of society and the Church. She is a shining example of our mission-driven Church.

Click here to read a story about Sister Marie-Paule Willem, and watch the video below to learn more about our inspiring recipient.  



Catholic Extension's Lumen Christi Award honors an individual or group working in one of America's mission dioceses who demonstrates how the power of faith can transform lives and communities. Lumen Christi recipients are the hidden heroes in our midst. They bring light and hope to the forgotten corners of our country and inspire those around them to be the "Light of Christ" as well.

Click here to meet all 47 of this year's inspirational nominees who are spreading the light of Christ in some of America's poorest places.

Click here to meet this year's finalists. 

Past recipients of the Lumen Christi Award, Latin for "Light of Christ," have included priests, women religious, and lay leaders from across the nation.

The Lumen Christi Award is accompanied by a $50,000 grant to support the recipient's ministry.