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Loyola University New Orleans Presents 2018 Integritas Vitae Award

Loyola press release - November 12, 2018

High honor goes to renowned physician who serves children of Peru

Loyola University New Orleans presents one of its highest honors next week to a renowned physician who left an academic position at Emory University in 1983 to being an apostolate among the poor children of the developing world. Through the Villa la Paz Foundation, Dr. Anthony Lazzara leads Hogar San Francisco de Asis, a home for destitute ill children near Lima, Peru.

“Translated literally as ‘a life of integrity,’ this honor is presented annually to someone who espouses our Jesuit ideals and the qualities Loyola seeks to instill in its students, such as high moral character and a commitment to selfless service,” said President Tania Tetlow. “For the last 35 years, Dr. Lazzara has made the world a better place, as he continues to fulfill his calling to serve the children of Peru.”

Tetlow will present the 2018 Integritas Vitae Award to Lazzara at the 1912 Society Dinner, to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 at Audubon Tea Room, Audubon Park, following her Presidential Inauguration Ceremony on Loyola’s campus. Tickets are required for the event and may be purchased at LOYNO.EDU/1912.

A native of Tampa, Florida, Dr. Anthony “Tony” Lazzara is Jesuit-educated, a graduate of Tampa Jesuit High School and Spring Hill College. He received his medical degree at Tulane University School of Medicine.

In 1983, Dr. Lazzara left a tenured faculty position at Emory University School of Medicine to begin his mission to serve those in need in Peru. Hogar San Francisco de Asis (St. Francis of Assisi Home), where Dr. Lazzara now practices, provides children with necessary medication, treatment, food, and other health-related needs free of charge.

Explaining why he left the United States and a good position at a renowned medical center, Dr. Lazzara says, “I would have to say I felt an unease, a feeling that I was not where I was supposed to be, that the Lord would have me elsewhere.” Feeling this unease, in the early 1980s he spent several months writing to various agencies and received no response. Dr. Lazzara began to grow weary and to wonder about his calling. It was then that a Franciscan happened to come to his church parish, speaking about a mission in Africa for which he was raising funds. Inspired by the talk, Dr. Lazzara wrote to the Franciscan provincial in Wisconsin, and two short weeks later he received an invitation to work in Peru.

Shortly after arriving in Peru, Dr. Lazzara established a foundation, Villa la Paz (Home of Peace), with his father, Anthony, and his brother Michael. Villa la Paz collects funds to cover medical care and food for the destitute in his community. No dollar is spent on administrative overhead or expenses.

At Hogar San Francisco de Asis, Dr. Lazzara works with a team of nurses, cooks, and other staff who help care for children 24 hours a day. The medical team offers treatment for children whose parents cannot afford to buy them the care required to restore them to health. While being treated, children live at Hogar San Francisco de Asis and receive all necessary medications, food, and other needs without charge. Once they are well, the children return to their families. The most frequent illnesses treated are chronic diarrhea, malnutrition, tuberculosis, and chronic respiratory diseases.

Dr. Lazzara and Hogar San Francisco de Asis have been recognized nationally on the PBS television series Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly. He is also the subject of a documentary film, The Patients of a Saint.

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