Friday 8 July 2016

Merit of the Highest Degree: Cardinal Carter Receives the Order of Canada

This month marks the anniversary of the first induction to the Order of Canada. Governor General Roland Michener was the first inductee on July 1, 1967, and 90 more were appointed on July 6 that year.

The Order of Canada is currently made up of three grades: Companion, Officer, and Member, in order of precedence. New members are generally appointed two times per year. Individuals are awarded the Order for outstanding achievement, dedication to the community, and service to Canada.

A maximum of 15 people annually are appointed Companions. Specifically, this highest level of the Order recognizes national pre-eminence or international service or achievement. In December 1982, Cardinal Carter was one of three appointed that month and one of only six that year to receive the honour. To date, he is the only Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Toronto to receive an Order of Canada. His investiture was on April 20, 1983.

Cardinal Carter receives the Order of Canada from Governor General Edward R. Schreyer, April 20, 1983


Cardinal Carter wearing his Companion of the Order of Canada insignia


Recipients of the Order of Canada are given a certificate of their appointment:

The Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada
His Eminence Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter
Whereas, with the approval of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Sovereign of the Order of Canada, We have been pleased to appoint you to be a Companion of the Order of Canada
We do by these Presents appoint you to be a Companion of the said Order and authorize you to hold and enjoy the dignity of such appointment together with membership in the said Order and all privileges thereunto appertaining
Given at Rideau Hall in the City of Ottawa under the Seal of the Order of Canada this twentieth day of December, 1982.
By the Chancellor’s Command,
[signed by Edward R. Schreyer, Governor General of Canada, and Esmond Butler, Secretary General of the Order of Canada]

CA AA10.35
Cardinal Carter Fonds 

At the investiture, the recipient is presented with the insignia corresponding to the grade of Order awarded. The design of the Order is a white six-pointed snowflake with a stylized red maple leaf at the centre that is encircled by the motto of the Order. The motto, DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM, means “They desire a better country,” a phrase taken from Letter to the Hebrews 11:16. 

Companion of the Order of Canada insignia in its box.
The outside top of the box has C.C. imprinted on it. A person with this designation may use the post-nominals CC.

AF 319
ARCAT Special Collections

Close-up of the insignia and part of the ribbon. Isn't it a beauty?!

AF 319
ARCAT Special Collections

Cardinal Carter was also a Knight of Malta and a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. The pin below is made up of four different lapel pins mounted on a board. The lapel pin on the far left is for the Companion of the Order of Canada. The two in the middle are for the Knights of Malta: the Bailiff Knight Grand Cross of Honour and Devotion (left) and the Grand Cross “pro piis meritis” pro Merito Melitensi. The lapel pin on the far right is for the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

AF 367
ARCAT Special Collections

We always knew that Cardinal Carter was an important part of the Archdiocese of Toronto, but this honour shows that his influence and dedication were felt nationwide.

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