A Day in the Life of S. Louise Lears
In celebration of Catholic Sisters Week, five Sisters of Charity gave us a glimpse into their extraordinary lives of charity. From serving children with special needs on the U.S./Mexico border to ministering to seniors at an assisted living facility in northern Ohio, our Sisters provide a loving, compassionate presence to all they encounter. The following article features a day in the life of S. Louise Lears.
I live in an intentional community of young lay women and older women religious named for a Catholic Sister peace activist, Anne Montgomery, RSCJ. Our ages range from 21-83; one of us was born in Venezuela; all of us have cross-cultural experiences. Our diverse neighborhood is tucked into the northeast corner of Washington, D.C.
My day starts at 6:15 a.m. when I head out for a two-mile walk through our neighborhood. This is my time to wake up (I am not naturally a morning person!), enjoy the birds, greet neighbors, listen to NPR, plan the day – whatever comes to mind and heart. I finish in time to do 10 minutes of morning yoga and come downstairs for 7:30 a.m. prayer with my four housemates and any guests who are joining us.
The five of us take turns preparing morning prayer, using the monthly booklet Give Us This Day. On some days, our friends Carol and Marita join us by Zoom – Carol from Georgetown and Marita from Mexico. Both lived at Anne Montgomery House for a period of time.
I am the prayer leader each Wednesday. We begin morning prayer with five minutes of silence, allowing God to have the first word. After the prayer leader (me today) offers a short reflection on the readings, everyone has time to offer her own reflections and to pray for “what or whom” is in our hearts. A final blessing sends us off to work or classes. In these 20-25 precious minutes, we hear each other’s concerns, hopes, worries and dreams.
After prayer on most weekdays, I head to the offices of the Franciscan Action Network, popularly known as FAN. I started to volunteer at FAN shortly after I arrived in DC and am officially a “Franciscan-hearted person.” I am learning a lot about Franciscan spirituality and my Franciscan colleagues are learning about our Charity spirituality. Though we are small in number, and some of the staff Zoom in from different states, we focus on multiple national policy issues: climate change, immigration, human trafficking, gun violence, nonviolence, voting rights.
Proximity to the Capitol provides numerous opportunities to speak up and stand up for justice. On Ash Wednesday, two FAN colleagues and I traveled by metro to the area in front of the White House for a noon Prayer Service of Repentance led by members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. We joined 40 peacemakers, forming a circle, praying for the courage to make God’s reign of love, justice, mercy and nonviolence a reality.
If you lead prayer in the morning, you are the cook in the evening! Tonight, we are having salmon, potatoes au gratin and salad. Our conversations at the dinner table are wide ranging, from what happened in our days to updates on our families/communities and breaking world news. The cook is excused from doing dishes, although that “rule” is frequently overlooked because it is more fun to continue the conversation as we clean dishes together!
My day comes full circle in the prayer corner of my room. This is my time for quiet prayer, journaling and gratitude for so many gifts.