My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Friday, July 29, 2011

FRIDAY'S FAMOUS - Pope Awards Highest Medal of Service to Family Women

Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal
 The Holy Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice is an award of the Roman Catholic Church. The English translation of "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice" is "For Church and Pope". It is also known as the "Cross of Honour". Three of my ancestors were awarded this medal, the highest medal by the Pope that can be awarded to lay people within the Roman Catholic Church. It is awarded for distinguished service to the Church by lay people and the clergy.
"The award was established by Pope Leo XIII on July 17, 1888, to commemorate his golden sacerdotal jubilee and was originally bestowed upon those women and men who had aided and promoted the jubilee, and by other means assisted in making the jubilee and the Vatican Exposition successful." [from]
Pearl Horst Flemming
My great-grandmother Pearl Alphonsine Horst Flemming (1884-1861) received the medal from Pope John XXIII in 1960. She served the Church and the Birmingham community throughout her life. She was a member of St. Paul's Cathedral and is buried at Elmwood Cemetery. Married to Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955) for 49 years, the couple had 8 children. Her many involvements were listed in her obituary:
"A member of St. Paul's Cathedral she was very active in many Catholic organizations, including the Ladies of Charity, Jefferson County Orphans Home, Band No. 2 of St. Paul's Altar Society, Order of Martha and National Council of Catholic Women." [from The Birmingham News, September 26, 1961]
Zoe Josephine Dawes Cumberland (1887-1974) was Pearl's first cousin - Zoe's mother, Emma Horst Dawes (1865-1923), was the younger sister of Charles Frederick Horst (1856-1912), Pearl's father. Zoe was born and lived all her life in Mobile. She was a member of Joan of Arc Catholic Church in the city. Married to Thomas Parker Cumberland (1883-1973) for sixty-four years, the couple had no children. She is buried at the Catholic Cemetery in Mobile. She, too, was a recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal. Her obituary lists many of the contributions that earned her this award:
"She was honored the Papal Decoration medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, Scroll of Merit from the City of Mobile for outstanding work, a member of the Electra Semmes Colston Chapter of the U.D.C. (United Daughters of the Confederacy), Past President of the Ladies of Charity, Deanery President of the National Council of Catholic Women of Mobile...." [from Mobile Register, August 21, 1974]
Mary Regina Altice Lane (1893-1979) was the half-sister of Zoe and the first cousin to Pearl, and she, too, received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal. Regina and Zoe had the same mother - Emma Horst. After Zoe's father, Patrick Henry Dawes (1861-1889) died, Emma married Charles Monroe Altice (1864-1943), Regina's father. Regina married Maurice Joseph Lane (1885-1942) and they moved to his hometown of Newton, Massaschussetts. Maurice died after only 5 years of marriage and Regina moved back to Mobile. They had no children. She lived 37 years after the death of her husband. In her obituary, her accomplishments were listed:
"She was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women, having served on both the Diocesan and Deanery Boards and received the Pro Ecclesia-et-Pontifice medal from Pope Pius XII. She was also a member of St. Mary's Home Auxillary, Allen Memorial Home Auxillary, Ladies of Charity, Burse Club, Woman's Club, Forum Club and other organizations." [from Mobile Register, June 19, 1979]
Other women from Alabama who are past recipients of the papal medal include Mother Angelica, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network, and Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., Surgeon General of the United States.

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