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Nun and former principal receives Loyola's highest honor

Loyola press release - December 3, 2012

Sister Imelda Moriarty C.C.V.I., former principal of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School in Metairie, is the recipient of Loyola University New Orleans’ 2012 Integritas Vitae Award, the university’s highest honor. Moriarty was recognized at the 1912 Society Dinner on Dec. 6 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.

The Integritas Vitae Award is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies the qualities Loyola seeks to instill in its students such as high moral character and a commitment to selfless service done without expecting rewards or public recognition. The award also recognizes honesty, integrity, justice and the preservation of human dignity. Past recipients include Mother Teresa of Calcutta, New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, H ’87 and the late Archbishop of New Orleans Philip Hannan.

“I am highly honored to accept this prestigious award, especially from Loyola University, an institution responsible for sending out so many dedicated scholars to proclaim the good news to the world. I am also very humbled as I could count very many more deserving candidates,” Moriarty said.

Born in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, Moriarty came to the U.S. during World War II and entered the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. She received her Bachelor of Science in elementary education there and her master’s degree in elementary education from Texas University in San Antonio. When Moriarty was assigned to St. Catherine of Siena School in 1970, she started as a math teacher. Within five years, she was selected principal, a position she held for nearly 30 years. Although no longer serving as principal, Moriarty still works at the school as the assistant librarian.

Loyola alumnus and current board of trustees member Donald Faust '73, M.D., knew about Moriarty's unwavering manner growing up and eventually sent his children to St. Catherine’s.

“She ran that school with a firm but gentle hand, and teachers and parents loved her for it. If you went to her and wanted to send your kids there, it wasn’t enough to say you heard St. Catherine’s was a good school, you had to be serious about wanting a great Catholic education, a quality that is in line with Loyola’s mission,” Faust said. “She is the perfect choice for the Integritas Vitae Award.”

Under Moriarty’s leadership, a capital campaign at St. Catherine’s raised funds to erect a multi-use building, which was named the Barrett Complex in memory of a former pastor. The building boasts an auditorium and nine spacious classrooms to house kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs. She also spearheaded the reconstruction of the school gym and cafeteria building along with the creation of an art and computer room. During her tenure, Moriarty was also responsible for bringing together the St. Catherine's community to build a state-of-the-art playground.