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Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Benedict Leadership Institute Award Recipient

Belmont, N.C.  — The Benedict Leadership Institute at Belmont Abbey College is thrilled to recognize Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. as the recipient of the 2022 Benedict Leadership Award. This award highlights the incredible achievements of men and women whose lives reflect the heroic leadership of St. Benedict.

Belmont Abbey College founded the Benedict Leadership Institute in 2016 to develop and inspire Catholic leaders to transform society in light of their faith. Archbishop Chaput is the fifth recipient of the Benedict Leadership Award and is devoted to helping others find ways to live meaningfully under the truth of the Gospel. “At Belmont Abbey, we live by the Benedictine hallmarks and believe that they are key in living a life of virtue,” says Abbot Placid Solari of Belmont Abbey College. “Archbishop Chaput embodies the qualities of St. Benedict through his passion to build greatness in his community, empowering others to be successful, and utilizing faith in leadership.” These qualities make Archbishop Chaput a worthy recipient of the Benedict Leadership Institute.

God’s calling on Archbishop Chaput’s life was evident to him at a very young age. He was born in 1944 in Concordia, Kansas to a French Canadian father and Native American mother and was part of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation early on. At thirteen, he decided that he wanted to become a priest and attended a Catholic Seminarian high school. In 1970, he was ordained to priesthood by Bishop Cyril Vogel and went on to pursue a Master of Arts in theology from the University of San Francisco. Archbishop Chaput taught at the collegiate level until he became pastor of the Holy Cross Church in Thornton Colorado in 1977. This began his episcopal career where he served as Bishop of Rapid City, SD (1988-97), Archbishop of Denver, CO (1997-2011), and Archbishop of Philadelphia, PA (2011-20). He is a leader that tirelessly encourages people to share God’s word with confidence and joy.

“The Benedict Leadership Institute exists to highlight Catholic leaders who impress upon society the importance of living by faith, and encourage other leaders to live by this example. Archbishop Chaput has dedicated his life to this mission with a seemingly boundless energy”, says Conor Gallagher, Executive Director of the Benedict Leadership Institute.

Archbishop Chaput retired at the age of 76 after heading the archdiocese for almost 10 years. In retirement, Archbishop Chaput published his third book “Things Worth Dying For”, where he tackles life’s most important questions such as why we’re here, the important things that Christians should be willing to die for, and how we can seek to live and die meaningfully. As the Archbishop told the Catholic New Service, he hopes that after reading his latest book that “anybody who is a serious Christian will take the Gospel more seriously, their lives more seriously and the world around more seriously.” His work is an inspiration to believers and non-believers alike, as well as other Catholic leaders.

“Chaput’s enthusiasm, evangelization and wisdom have impacted the faithful on both a global and personal level. From the American prairies to Rome, Chaput has engaged and mobilized the laity, tirelessly worked to right the wrongs and heal deep wounds in the Church, and fought for religious liberty at home and abroad”, says Gallagher. Archbishop Chaput’s efforts are widely recognized across the Catholic community.
Recipients of the Benedict Leadership Institute Award deliver a public address in their area of leadership, and are presented with a $10,000 cash award.

The Benedict Leadership Institute was founded in 2016 by Belmont Abbey College to develop and inspire Catholic leaders to transform society in light of their faith. The Benedict Leadership Award, conferred annually, is a key activity of the Institute, and aims to recognize outstanding men and women whose achievements reflect the heroic leadership of St. Benedict.

Prior recipients include Justice Clarence Thomas (2020 -delayed due to Covid 19), Mr. Michael P. Warsaw (2019), Mr. Leonard A. Leo (2018) and Mr. Carl A. Anderson (2017).
Belmont Abbey College, home of the Benedict Leadership Institute, is a private Catholic liberal arts college located near Charlotte, NC. Founded in 1876 by Benedictine monks, it is recognized by the Cardinal Newman Society as one of America’s top Catholic colleges.

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