Rick and Karen Santorum to receive 2010 Poverello Medal

.- Citing the “outstanding” pro-life and pro-family witness of former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and his wife Karen, the Franciscan University of Steubenville has announced it will bestow the 2010 Poverello Medal upon the couple.

The medal, the university’s highest non-academic honor, will be presented by university president Fr. Terence Henry, TOR, at a formal reception on March 11 at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

Fr. Henry said the Santorums have dedicated themselves to the pro-life cause and have stood up for “the sanctity and dignity of the human person.”

“They are true pro-life heroes, and Franciscan University is happy to honor them, especially during this time of increasing attacks on the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. Their witness as a pro-life couple inspires us all to keep fighting the good fight.”

Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 and served in the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2007.

A Franciscan University press release reported that he authored legislation that outlawed partial-birth abortion and led successful efforts to pass the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act and the Combating Autism Act.

He also led efforts to help the fight against AIDS in Africa and to secure religious liberty and the rights of women in totalitarian regimes.

Rick Santorum is now a radio show host, a newspaper columnist and a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He authored the 2005 bestseller “It Takes a Family.”

Karen Garver Santorum is both a nurse and an attorney. She worked for several years in a neonatal intensive care unit where she treated premature and very sick infants. She is an active member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

A stay-at-home mother to the Santorums’ seven children, she authored the book “Letters to Gabriel.” It tells about the love and heartbreak her family experienced at the premature birth and death of the Santorums’ child Gabriel.

The Poverello Medal is named after St. Francis of Assisi, who was called Il Poverello (“the little poor man.”) It commemorates those who show strength of character and Christian charity in their love for and service to the poor. Past recipients include Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

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