Eighty years is a very long time, but for someone who has lived those eighty years dedicated to a fight for social justice, it is not nearly long enough.
This month, we are celebrating the 80th year in the life of Father Leslie Schmidt, a Glenmary priest of humble beginnings, one of twelve children born in a farm in the middle of the country. A man who very early on decided that he wanted a life worth living; focused on a God of mercy and justice and love.
Father Les, as we all know him, pretty much lives out of his car. In any given month he will travel from Indiana to Virginia, through North and South Carolina, on his way to Georgia, or Mississippi, or maybe Tennessee, wherever he might be needed; living the life of a “regional priest”. He follows the mission of the Glenmary Catholic society of brothers and priests dedicated to serving the spiritual and material needs of those living in impoverished counties in the South and Appalachia. He eats food on the go, sleeps in cheap motels, on someone’s couch, the local church or will stay up through the night if he is needed somewhere, and yet, he has the lanky built and the energy of someone a fraction of his age.Read more about Working for Justice: Celebrating Father Les Schmidt's 80th Birthday