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Mary Burke '26 and Claire Burke '27 Earn Pope Pius XII Religious Emblems

Rising sophomore Mary and rising freshman Claire Burke received the Pope Pius XII Religious Emblem last week at a Mass presided by Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory at St. Ann's in Tenleytown. The Pope Pius XII Religious Emblem is the very highest religious award in Scouts BSA, according to the organization's website.

To earn the emblem, both students attended meetings, completed homework, attended a religious retreat, and completed a service project.

"I have been working on receiving it every week for multiple months so it definitely took some perseverance. I am very thankful so my senior patrol leader and mom because they definitely paved the way for me," said Mary. "I am happy to get this medal because it truly speaks to the importance of dedicating time and energy to the church, and making God a pillar in my day to day life, along with someone that I can reside in and talk to."

Mary volunteers for a Wider Circle, which "advance[s] equity in the greater Washington, DC region by fostering the exchange of goods, skills, and connections from neighbor to neighbor, and by engaging in advocacy to address the root causes of poverty," according to its website.

She chose the organization because, said Mary, "I am interested in law and government, so I wanted to work on a service project that worked for and to help the society. ... I gained a lot of gratitude for the immense opportunities God has given to me after this. But more importantly, I learned the importance of giving back to those less fortunate, as they are just as loved by God."

Congratulations, Mary and Claire!