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A List of the Catholic Top Ten

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Feb 02, 2012

Inside the Vatican named its top ten Catholics of 2011 in January. No two Catholics would choose the same ten, but some of these have news stories or library articles on They are:

  • Fr. Cassian Folsom, OSB, a Massachusetts native who refounded the monastery in Norcia, Italy, the birthplace of St. Benedict.
  • Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, a convert from Judaism born in Brooklyn, who founded her own order within the Benedictine family—Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope—in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, born in Shanghai, and a fearless defender of the Church in China as the sixth Chinese cardinal in Church history.
  • Birgit Wansing, a consecrated German woman in the Schoenstatt Movement, who for 25 years has transcribed the writings of Cardinal Ratzinger/Pope Benedict from pencil-written drafts to the computer.
  • Sister Patricia Murray, from Ireland, a Loreto Sister who leads 170 religious communities in the “Solidarity with South Sudan” project.
  • Marino Restrepo, a Colombian native whose kidnapping in 1997 caused him to return to his faith, obtaining altar vessels and vestments for poor churches and founding the lay mission Pilgrims of Love.
  • Dr. Ornella Parlini, an Italian scientist who specializes in the study of placental cells in effective stem cell therapies, rendering embryonic cells unnecessary.
  • Mercedes Wilson, born in Guatemala, living in Washington, DC, and a tireless pro-life advocate who has served in Vatican delegations at United Nations conferences.
  • Cardinal Kurt Koch, the Swiss theologian who now heads the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Religious Relations with the Jews.
  • Archbishop Pietro Sambi, selected posthumously after playing a long, significant and courageous role in the Church’s diplomatic service.

You may have your own top ten. For me, the Pakistani martyr Shabhaz Bhatti comes to mind. Each of these men and women illustrates a different mode of service to Christ, the Church and the world.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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