Catholics honoured with Order of Canada

  • April 13, 2007
OTTAWA - A pair of Catholics have made the grade as Canada’s governor general has announced 87 new appointments to the Order of Canada.
The best-known of the two is youth activist Craig Kielburger, the 25-year-old Thornhill, Ont., native who at the age of 12, along with his brother Marc, established Free the Children, an international network dedicated to eradicating child labour, in 1994. Since its establishment, Free the Children has become an influential international organization that involves more than one million children in its projects. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, losing out to former U.S. president Jimmy Carter. Kielburger has been appointed a member of the Order of Canada.

"Craig Kielburger is a shining example of the power of youth," reads the citation released by Governor General Michaelle Jean's office. "His passion for social justice, coupled with his spirit of giving, has attracted people of all ages to join him in his crusade against child exploitation, making him a potent agent in defense of children's rights."

Also honoured is Sr. Katherine Bellamy of St. John's, Nfld., recognized as a member of the Order of Canada for her involvement in the arts, music in particular. She is one of Newfoundland and Labrador's most influential music educators, said the governor general's citation, and has made music an integral part of a child's education. She has established school-based choirs "that have challenged, inspired and enriched generations of young singers," said the citation.

She has had a great impact on her community. For many years Bellamy has been organist and choir director of the Basilica of St. John the Baptist and has been actively involved in community outreach, founding Emmaus House, a local food bank, and co-founding Voices for Justice in Housing and the Community Food Sharing Association.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service in various fields. There are three different levels of membership — companion, officer and member. It is Canada's highest honour for lifetime achievement.

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