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At our bi-annual convention Friends of the Creche seeks to honor individuals and organizations who have contributed to the fostering of creche traditions. 

2001 Recipients at “2001 – A Creche Odyssey”, Lancaster, PA

*Kevin Hanna of Connecticut, 

for his unique interpretation of the nativity in his artwork entitled "Mirror of Hope" displayed at the University of Dayton Marian Library

*Robert F. McGovern of Pennsylvania, for his emotionally moving interpretation of the nativity

*Matthew Powell, O.P, of Rhode Island for his best selling book, "The Christmas Creche: Treasure of Faith, Art and Theatre"

*Award of Excellence

Johann Roten S.M., S.T.D. and

Rita Bocher award of Recognition


2005 Recipients at "Land of Enchanting Nativities" Santa Fe New Mexico

Eileen Canty of Pennsylvania, for her year-round tours of her private collection, her displays in schools, churches museums, and galleries, her donations of creches to charitable institutions, her speaking engagements, her support of crèche artists world-wide; and her writings

Guy and Doris Montham of New Mexico, for their ground-breaking authorship of the first comprehensive book on the Southwest Nativity tradition, “Nacimientos”

2009 Recipients at "Follow His Star",  Salt Lake City, Utah

Judy Davis of El Cerrito, CA, for her past work on the board of directors, co-host of Santa Fe convention and ongoing work on creche exhibit guides and bibliographies

Mary Herzel of Harrisburg, PA, for her onging contributions to the Creche Herald, co-host of our first convention, and serving as  secretary for eight years for the association

2013 Recipients at "Symphony of Nativities" Beachwood/Cleveland, Ohio

Linn Howard of New York, for her and her family's ongoing inspiration and dedication of the magnificent Angel Tree each year at the metropolitan Museum of Art with its Neopolitan crèche figures

The Historic Kirkland Visitors Center, Ohio, in recognition of its decade-long creche exhibits for all the people of northeast Ohio

2003 Recipents at "Creches by the Sea", Hyannis Port, MA

Michel Forrest of Canada, for his imaginative creche settings at St. Joseph's Oratory, Montreal, Canada and at the Marian Library, University of Dayton, Ohio

Judith Foster of New Hampshire, for her work as founding director of the Museum of the Diocese of Manchester, fostering the tradition of the creche though exhibits, educational programs, seminars and public events

2007 Recipients at "Heartland Cradle Song, Dublin, OH

Betsy Christensen of Michigan, 

for her work of twenty five years of creche exhibits in her church and for the inspiration and guidance she provided to many other exhibits around the country


Crèches International for their support through fund raising, publicity and maintenance of the nativity collection at the Marian Library at the University of Dayton for the past ten years

2011 Recipients "A Northern Nativity" Toronto, Canada

James Govan of Chicago, IL, Founding and First President of Friends of the Creche, author of "The Art of the Creche", docent of the James and Emilia creche collection to the Loyola Univeristy of Chicago

Edith Vuchnich of Toronto, Canada,  a force behind creche display for many years in Toronto and inspiration for many more across Canada. Instrumental in aiding many self help groups through sale of nativities at a shop at the YWCA in Toronto

2019 Recipients at "Land of Enchanting Nativities" 

The Board of Friends of the Creche is presenting its prestigious Award of Excellence to The Reverend Father Johann G. Roten, S.M., S.T.D. of Dayton, Ohio.


Father Roten is being honored as a founder of Friends of the Creche, for recognition by the International Federation of Creche Societies (Un-Foe-Prae) for his scholarship and promotion of the creche tradition, for his efforts as Archivist for Friends of the Creche from its founding to the present, for his efforts in creating and continuing the creche exhibits at the University of Dayton now circulating beyond Dayton, for his commissioning and with artist Kevin Hanna conceptualizing the extraordinary sculpture,  Mirror of Hope, for his efforts in creating a creche course at the University of Dayton open to the public, for authoring books and writings on the creche, for directing and developing a creche workshop at the University, and for his personal qualities which encourage love of the creche.  His efforts truly help fulfill the mission of Friends of the Creche to promote the creche tradition.


Originally from Switzerland, Father Roten is at the University of Dayton where he served for fifteen years as the Director of the Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.   He also  served as the Institute's  director of research, art and special projects. He is the internationally recognized expert on everything Marian.  He is the creator and main author of "All About Mary"--the largest online repository of information about Mary.  He has served as the President of the Mariological Society of America and as vice president of the French Mariological Society.  He ministers in Polish, Hungarian and Lithuanian to the ethnic churches of North Dayton, and in 2015 was honored by the Knights of Lithuania with its prestigious Friend of Lithuania award.  

Gail Loche

Whereas Gail Losch has been a member of Friends of the Creche since  2013 and  has served as treasurer in an ex-officio capacity until December 2019

Whereas during that period she worked tirelessly to see that the financial status of Friends of the Creche was in good order and that it complied with the IRS Code for 501 (c)(3) charitable organizations.


Therefore, the Board of Directors has moved, seconded and passed on the 10th day of November, 2019, this Minute of Acknowledgement and Appreciation for her service to be entered in its entirety into the minutes of the 2019 annual members meeting

 Bonnie Pfanenstiel was a member of Friends of the Creche since 2003 and has served on the  Board of Directors from 2010 to 2019, whereas she served as chairperson of the website committee and worked tirelessly to maintain and update the site. Therefore, the Board of Directors has moved, seconded and passed on the 10th day of November, 2019, this Minute of Acknowledgement and Appreciation for her service to be entered in its entirety into the minutes of the 2019 annual members meeting.

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