News Center

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Former Lafayette diocese bishop honored by Franciscan Alliance

Bishop William Higi receives tje Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel
Award from Sister Jane Marie Klein.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Bishop Emeritus William L. Higi, was presented with the Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel award at the Nov. 12 Franciscan Alliance Leadership Conference.

The award is presented to a person whose service to our Franciscan Alliance health ministry most clearly reflects the personal attributes of the Venerable Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, Foundress of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. Bishop Higi accepted the award from Sister Jane Marie Klein, Chair, Board of Trustees for Franciscan Alliance.

The award honors Bishop Higi for holding some of the personal qualities that characterized Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel, including leadership, joyful service, compassion, perseverance and acceptance of the will of God. Bishop Higi is a servant leader, dedicated to the betterment of others. He walks humbly in the service of others, his God, his Church, his Community and our health care ministry.

Bishop Higi well understands the importance of our health care ministry in the community. He was instrumental in the merger between St. Elizabeth Hospital and Greater Lafayette Health Services and the merger of both into Franciscan Alliance.

Bishop Higi has been a loyal and steadfast supporter of our Congregation and health care ministry for over 25 years. In the early 1970’s, he was instrumental in re-establishing Perpetual Adoration in the St. Elizabeth chapel.  Bishop Higi was born in Anderson, Ind., on Aug. 29, 1933. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 30, 1959 and served as associate pastor of Saint Bridget’s Church in Logansport for nine months before being transferred to the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, where he served as associate for five years. He was named Secretary to Bishop John Carberry in August 1962; Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese in 1965, Chancellor in 1967 and Vicar General in 1979.

He also served as pastor of Saint Augusta parish in Lake Village from June 1970 until his ordination as Bishop of the Lafayette Diocese in June 1984.

Bishop Higi joined with the management team and community leaders in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health – Lafayette East hospital and led the dedication of the new facility. 
One of the roles of a Bishop is to be a defender of the faith.  The Healthcare Ministry is certainly part of the “Faith” that needs to be defended.  On more than one occasion, Bishop Higi assisted us in making sure that the Sisters of St. Francis’ Health Ministry was supported and defended. 

Even though the office of Bishop is a very hectic and demanding job, Bishop Higi exemplifies the beatitudes in his outreach to others. On many occasions he can be seen walking the hospital halls and visiting the ill.

His entire life has been dedicated to enriching the spiritual lives of his flock, to caring for those less fortunate, to supporting education and health care ministries, to guiding priests and providing a moral compass that we can all follow. 

The award presented to Bishop Higi is a miniature version of a statue of Mother Maria Theresia that is located in a sitting area in the midst of the apple orchard at the Convent in Mishawaka. This is the sixth Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel service award presented.

About Franciscan Alliance
A trusted leader in providing faith-based, integrated health care, Franciscan Alliance, whose mission is “Continuing Christ’s Ministry in our Franciscan Tradition”, brings together the latest technology, innovative procedures and the brightest, most compassionate people to serve our patients in Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. Throughout our 13 hospitals and many medical practices, we offer a number of nationally recognized Centers of Health Care Excellence.

For more than 135 years, Franciscan Alliance has stayed true to our founding mission to care for everyone who comes through our doors. We treat our patients with the best possible care by following the guiding ethical values embodied by our founding congregation, the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration. Always mindful of our faithfulness to the values and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, we minister with joy, care and compassion according to the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi and our founder, Mother Maria Theresia Bonzel. For more information, please visit