Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, Sisters of Life to receive 2013 Evangelium Vitae Medal

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Mother Agnes Mary Donovan Mother Agnes Mary Donovan

Mother Agnes Mary Donovan and the religious community of which she is the superior general, the Sisters of Life, will receive the 2013 Evangelium Vitae Medal.

“Mother Agnes and the Sisters of Life labor with tireless love and joy to build a culture of life,” said David Solomon, chair of the governing committee of the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life. “By their prayer, particularly centered around the Mass and the Eucharist, and outreach to women facing difficult pregnancies and their babies, those who suffer from the aftermath of abortion, and the youth, Mother Agnes and the Sisters of Life are much-needed witnesses of the beauty and sanctity of life. Through their compassionate commitment to the respect for all human life, Mother Agnes and the Sisters bring joy and hope to the world today in a way that is truly heroic. We are honored to award them the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal.”

Founded in 1991 by Cardinal John O’Connor, the Sisters of Life is a contemplative and active religious community of women. As in most religious communities, its members take the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, but also a fourth vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life. In addition to their contemplative prayer, they provide hospitality and support for pregnant women and lead “Hope and Healing” retreats serving women and men who have suffered from abortion.

Evangelium Vitae Medal Evangelium Vitae Medal

Agnes Mary Donovan was among the first eight women to join the community, which now has more than 70 members. Before entering religious life, she earned a doctoral degree in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1985 and served on the psychology faculties of The College of William and Mary and Columbia University, where she was director of research of Columbia’s Literacy Center. A licensed clinical psychologist, she also worked in a private practice. She became superior general of the Sisters of Life in 1993.

The Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal honors individuals whose outstanding efforts have served to proclaim the Gospel of Life by steadfastly affirming and defending the sanctity of human life from its earliest stages. The award, which is announced annually on Respect Life Sunday, the first Sunday of October, consists of a specially commissioned medal and $10,000 prize, to be presented at a spring banquet that will be held on April 3. Richard Doerflinger, associate director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Pro Life Activities, and Helen M. Alvaré, associate professor of law George Mason University, are previous recipients of the medal.

Contact: Angela M. Engelsen, associate director of the Center for Ethics and Culture, 574-631-1868,