Sister Jane Herb, IHM, of Monroe, Michigan, the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and a longtime Catholic educator, received the 2021 Notre Dame Award for Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Education following a Mass Friday evening on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.
Sister Herb has worked as a teacher, principal and diocesan superintendent, as well as leading her order, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the LCWR. John Staud, the director of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), and Rev. Lou DelFra, C.S.C., the director of pastoral life for ACE, presented the award.
“We give this award to Sister Jane in recognition for her diverse and manifold contributions to Catholic education, and we at ACE have been blessed to work with her directly for almost 20 years,” Staud said. “In doing so, we also recognize and honor the generations of women religious who built, led and staffed Catholic schools. We stand on the shoulders of Sister Jane and those like her who have dedicated their ministries to serving children in our Catholic schools.”
“I am humbled and honored to receive the Notre Dame Award for Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Education,” Sister Herb said. “While this award recognizes my commitment to Catholic education, it was a gift to receive this on behalf of the countless women religious who have contributed to Catholic education for centuries, with humble beginnings in 1783.”
Sister Herb was elected president of the LCWR in 2020. As president, she leads about 1,350 members who are leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States, representing about 80 percent of the 49,000 women religious in the country.
Sister Herb was a coach, math teacher and chair of the math department at Regina High School in Harper Woods, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, when she entered religious life at 33. She later became principal of Our Lady Star of the Sea High School in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan, before working as regional director for the Archdiocese of Boston. Sister Herb then became the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Albany, New York, a position she held from 1997 to 2012.
Sister Herb also serves as the president of the IHM community. She was first elected in 2012 and again in 2018. She also serves as an executive coach to students in ACE’s Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program, which forms aspiring Catholic school leaders as they earn a master’s degree in educational leadership. Sister Herb has also taught courses in the program.