The Order of the Fleur de Lis is an organization of Catholic men incorporated under the laws of the state of Louisiana as a not-for-profit organization, and it recently honored a parishioner of St. Stephen in Chattanooga. The order’s domain is a five-state region consisting of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
The objectives of the order include: support and defend the holy Catholic Church and its teachings; promote patriotism and good citizenship, and encourage public morality and unselfish service to God and country; assist and publicize the activities of other organizations that also promote the above; and memorialize and popularize the memories and achievements of Catholic leaders in religion, the arts and sciences, philanthropy, education, exploration and archeology, government and international relations, medicine and jurisprudence, and other established professions.
The Order of the Fleur de Lis encourages and recognizes leadership in living the values and principles of the Catholic faith by presenting the Monsignor Joseph Susi Award of Honor to an individual who has excelled as a Catholic leader in any one of the following: religion, family values, youth, aging, politics, patriotism, the arts and sciences, education, philanthropy, public morality, management, labor, the media, or medicine and jurisprudence.
Some of the previous notable recipients of the award are: Archbishop Phillip Hannon, archbishop emeritus of New Orleans; Honorable Corinne Claiborne Boggs, former member of Congress and ambassador to the Holy See; and Dr. Norman C. Francis, president of Xavier University of New Orleans.
The 2020 Monsignor Joseph E. Susi Award of Honor was presented to Victor Williams of Chattanooga on Sept. 27 at St. Stephen Church. Mr. Williams was nominated by Knight Commander Raleigh E. Cooper III of Hixson. Mr. Williams was one of seven nominees for the 2020 award. Mr. Williams’ nomination included his leadership in the Knights of Columbus, leading the effort to raise $15,000 for an ultrasound machine for Choices Pregnancy Help Center, and his ongoing service to St. Stephen Church. In addition to giving the award, the Order of the Fleur de Lis donates a $500 honorarium to a charity of Mr. Williams’ choice. Mr. Williams selected the Choices Pregnancy Help Center for the honorarium.
Order of the Fleur de Lis members from the Diocese of Knoxville include Cardinal Justin Rigali, Bishop Richard F. Stika, Father John Orr, diocesan chancellor Deacon Sean Smith, Deacon Paul Nelson, Commander Michael Wills, Mr. Cooper, and C. Michael Horten.