CRL Recognition Awards

Catholic Rural Life presents two recognition awards to recognize outstanding members of rural communities. The Isidore and Maria Exemplary Award is for a farm couple who have made exemplary contributions to the achievement of the Catholic vision of a generous, gracious and pious rural life. The Archbishop O’Hara Advocacy Award for Rural Ministry is for a priest, religious or layperson who has excelled in service and advocacy to rural communities.

Isidore and Maria Exemplary Award

The Isidore and Maria Award is given to Catholic Rural Life members whose work through the tradition of Catholic teaching has led to significant progress toward greater social justice and dignity for rural families and communities.

This award honors a rural couple who exemplify fidelity to a vision and vocation of rural life, which combines family, stewardship and faith.

Isidore and Maria are the patron saints of Catholic Rural Life. They were a prayerful couple, devoted to the Eucharist, served those in need and loved the work of the earth.

Criteria for Selection 

1. Initiative or leadership in parish activities or rural organizations
2. Impact on local parish and wider faith community.
3. How the couple brings to light Catholic teachings in rural life.

Eligibility for Nomination

The nominee must be a CRL member who is married, living on the land (or in a rural community), practicing religious faith and a community role model.

Archbishop O’Hara Advocacy Award for Rural Ministry

This recognition award honors a leader who is an advocate for rural communities and social justice in the spirit and tradition of Archbishop Edwin V. O’Hara (1881-1956) who founded Catholic Rural Life in 1923.

As a priest, O’Hara was passionate about rural life, social justice and the spiritual formation of Catholics. He eventually became the Archbishop of Kansas City and was a creative, original voice in the American Church whose legacy continues in the voices of leaders befitting this award.

Criteria for Selection

1. Effectively advocates on behalf of rural communities.
2. Exemplifies and effectively articulates Catholic teachings in respect to rural concerns.

Eligibility for Nomination

The nominee must be a CRL member who is a priest, religious or layperson.

How to Submit a Nomination

1. Nominations can be made by a colleague, fellow parishioner, friend or family member.
2. Submit nominations in written form (e.g., Word.doc) by January 31, 2021.
3. Describe a nominee according to the Criteria for Selection (above) for one of the two awards.
4. Provide detailed information (750-1000 words): In the first paragraph, tell us who you are nominating. In the second paragraph, tell us why you are nominating them. Click here for sample nomination narrative written for a 2014 award winner.
5. Send your nomination as an attachment to or send a written copy by standard mail to:

Catholic Rural Life
UST Mail #4080
2115 Summit Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105-1078

Previous Award Recipients


O’Hara Advocacy Award for Rural Ministry: Religious Sisters of Mercy, Jackson, MN


Isidore & Maria Exemplary Award: Susan Thielen & Family, Dorrance, KS


O’Hara Advocacy Award for Rural Ministry: Sr. Terry Martin, CND, Hayesville, NC


Isidore & Maria Exemplary Award: Dave and Florence Minar, New Prague, MN

O’Hara Advocacy Award for Rural Ministry: Br. Nick Renner, C.PP.S., Carthagena, OH


Isidore & Maria Exemplary Award: Ron and Maria Rosmann, Harlan, IA

O’Hara Advocacy Award for Rural Ministry: Sr. Ann DiNicolo, BVM


Isidore & Maria Exemplary Award: Scott and Daun Maier

O’Hara Advocacy Award for Rural Ministry: Sr. Ellen Lamberjack, OSF

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