Bishop J. Terry Steib, S.V.D. has announced the winners of the 2009 Martyrs of Memphis Awards.

The recipients were presented with their awards at a Vespers Ceremony at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on January 4. The event was also commemorated the founding of the Diocese of Memphis 38 years ago.


Among the recipients was Sister Grace Saia, SCN.

Sister Grace has served in the educational ministry in the Diocese of Memphis as both a teacher and an administrator. Sister Grace is the founding principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School and St. John Jubilee School. She has also served as principal of Blessed Sacrament School and as assistant principal at St. Michael’s School and Holy Rosary School. She also taught at Our Lady of Sorrow School. She serves on the Catholic Education Advisory Board and is a consultant for Urban Education.

In August, 1878, Yellow Fever struck Memphis. Thousands fled. By October, the epidemic had killed more than 5,000 people who had stayed in the city.

With some outside help, citizens of all races and walks of life, among them priests and nuns, cared for the sick and buried the dead. As a result many of the helpers also lost their lives and became martyrs in their service to humankind.

The Martyrs of Memphis Award was begun by Bishop J. Francis Stafford as a way to commemorate the founding of the Diocese of Memphis and to recognize the leadership of members of the diocese. Bishop Carroll T. Dozier was recognized posthumanously as the first recipient of the Martyrs of Memphis Award in 1986.

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