(The photo above of Sr. Louise Lears was taken by Jim Tobin of NCR and appears at the linked page.)
As it did for Marek Bozek, the National ‘Catholic’ Reporter has run a soft piece about her travails with Archbishop Burke. You may find this surprising, but her faith community supports her. And–finally– there is an admission in print that she supports women’s ordination.
[Update: at least one other blog has picked up on this article, and incorrectly stated that Sr. Lears has been excommunicated. She instead is under interdict]
Community supports ousted St. Louis nun
By Tom Fox NCR Staff
Published: July 2, 2008
Sister of Charity Louise Lears, forced out of all church ministerial roles by Saint Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke, is described by friends and colleagues in near saintly terms.
They call her a bright, energetic, compassionate and faith-filled woman. They see her as a creative, generous and selfless person, a highly effective parish minister. They say she is first rate teacher and preacher. They view her as a person guided by the gospels including an unwavering commitment to justice and the local poor.
It was her belief that all church ministries, including women’s ordination, should be open to women. Curiously, this seems to have been only one of many of her passions and, perhaps, not her central passion, which seems to have been parish work.
Lears is not speaking to the media, but issued as statement saying she was “deeply saddened” by the judgment.
“I love the church. I would never give scandal to the People of God. As a faith-filled woman, I root my life and ministry in scripture, Eucharist, and Jesus’ gospel message of nonviolence and justice. As a Sister of Charity, I vow my life to God with whom I walk in humility, simplicity, and charity.”While Lears’ primary identification is that of a member of the Saint Cronan pastoral team, she is or has recently been a member of a number of other organizations. She is past president of the board of the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma in St. Louis, a board and finance committee member for the Family Care Health Centers in St. Louis, a member of Winter Outreach to Homeless there, also a member of the W’EARTH Housing Coalition, a coalition led by low-wealth women in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood in St. Louis.
She is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University specializing in medical ethics and spirituality nonviolence.
Gina Meyer, a former student in Lears‘ class, Spirituality of Nonviolence, said, “The class completely reoriented my view of human relationships. We learned about Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesus of Nazareth, and many other peacemakers. Beyond that, though, Sister Louise showed us exercises and gave us challenges in our daily lives that made me realize how much my own language and behavior affect those around me.”
I’m sorry, but “We learned about Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and many other peacemakers”?