In the company of over two hundred friends, family, and former students, gathered from around the world, Alice von Hildebrand celebrated her 90th birthday at a festive dinner held in Manhattan on Oct. 30.
She was presented with a rare gift on the occasion: investiture as Dame Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great. The evening’s special guest, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, presented the award to Alice von Hildebrand in honor of her exemplary personal witness as a philosopher, teacher, author, and leading Catholic voice on cultural matters.
In his remarks accompanying the award, Cardinal Burke celebrated the many contributions Alice von Hildebrand has made to Catholic culture, and especially her unflagging work in advancing the philosophical work of her late husband, Dietrich von Hildebrand, through the Legacy Project named in his honor.
“It brings me great joy to be with you tonight to celebrate the 90th birthday of Dr. Alice von Hildebrand who is a beloved and deeply esteemed friend. With you, I thank God for the gift of life which, through the cooperation of her good parents, He gave to her and has sustained in her for more than 90 years.
Read Cardinal Burke’s full remarks here
“There is yet another cause of joy tonight, for Pope Francis, in recognition of the outstanding and faithful service of Dr. Alice von Hildebrand to the Church and to society in general has on September 19th of this year deigned to confer upon her the title of Lady Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory in public recognition of the esteem in which she is held in the Church. Regarding the title of Lady of Saint Gregory, Blessed Pope John Paul II, on July 25, 1996, wrote of his great pleasure in conferring the title upon those “who, excelling in vigilant genius, have undertaken and brought to completion many works on behalf of society, both Christian and civil.
“In celebrating the birth and baptism of Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, we think immediately of her husband of revered memory, Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand, to whom she was so devoted, first as his student and then as his wife and co-worker in the study of truth taught to us both by faith and reason, and in the life of truth through love of God. How fitting it is that the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project is the host of our celebration, for, since its foundation by John Henry Crosby, Dr. von Hildebrand has worked tirelessly with him for the realization of its noble purposes.
Click here to see the diploma investing Dr. von Hildebrand into the Order of St. Gregory.
“In thanking God for the gift of Alice von Hildebrand to us and to so many whose lives she has transformed by her teaching and her writing, let us join with her in preserving the memory of her beloved husband and in making his important writings, philosophical and theological, more available and better known, especially in the English-speaking world. In honoring her tonight, let us rededicate ourselves to the work of the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project.”
To support the work of the Legacy Project, click here.
The newly-minted Lady Alice, in accepting the honor, spoke of the importance of gratitude, of love and friendship as “remnants of the earthly paradise,” and of how she came to value philosophy through her husband’s witness:
“His approach showed that philosophy is not an abstract discipline. It is life. It involves my heart, my intelligence and my will, and therefore opens a vista of greatness and beauty that most of us are not aware of… He showed me that what we call Christian philosophy is not an abstraction, it is simply reason baptized by faith.”
It was a great honor for all of us at the Legacy Project to celebrate the life of Alice von Hildebrand, and with her, it is our privilege to continue the work of her late and illustrious husband, Dietrich von Hildebrand.
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Just received the following impressive report regarding the celebrated Lady Alice von Hildebrand: