Sisters of St. Joseph’s of Rochester remember John Lewis

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC)—Local leaders are remembering civil rights leader and former congressman John Lewis, including the sisters of Saint Joseph’s of Rochester who had a special relationship with Lewis.

Lewis came here to Rochester to thank the sisters of Saint Joseph’s of Rochester personally, and for one of the sisters that met with him, his legacy is something she says will live on forever. 

“He just had such goodness and such generosity of spirit, he is going to be missed,” said Sister Barbara Lum, of St. Joseph’s of Rochester.

Sister Lum of Saint Joseph in Rochester was part of a group of volunteers working in a hospital in Selma, Alabama, the same hospital Lewis was brought to when he was attacked by police in what is known as Bloody Sunday.

“I had been caring for patients in the emergency room, I stepped out for some reason and he was right there on a stretcher but it was early in the afternoon. And somebody said to me, that’s John Lewis,” said Sister Lum.

John Lewis was in Rochester for Louis Slaughter’s Funeral in 2018.

On another trip to the city, he met with the sisters of saint Joseph in Rochester, thanking them for that day in Alabama.

“Whenever he gave a talk and knew there were sister in the audience, he would bring that up and say the sister of St. Joseph’s of Rochester saved my life in Selma on Bloody Sunday. Very generous in his giving us credit,” said Lum.

Sister Lum described Lewis as joyful and generous, always telling those around him to get into ‘Good’ Trouble’ and campaign for change. She says his passing comes at a time when our nation and those in congress need his wisdom.

“The hatred that is still out there is very discerning. And i’m sure his heart was broken many times in seeing that and yet I believe he was a man who never lost hope,” said Lum.”What I hope is that we can carry John Lewis’s Spirit forward and really make some changes in this world, the kind of changes he tried to make through his whole career, we still, we still need work.”

Sister Lum does believe that the work Lewis did will help create change in the world today. 

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