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Sr. Laura Leming, FMI

Sr. Laura Leming, FMI

Written by Amy Lopez-Matthews

“I am a Marianist, first.” Laura Leming, FMI, Ph.D., is a Marianist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. She was raised outside of Philadelphia as the youngest of five children and the only girl. Her great grandparents were Irish immigrants and retired to a small cottage in Cape May Point, NJ, where she spent most of her summers as a child. When she traveled to Ireland as an adult, Laura realized that their cottage must have reminded them of home. It was in Cape May Point that she met the Marianists, which has made all the difference in her life.

When she was in high school, her dad had to be convinced that his daughter should go to college. Laura’s mother helped her navigate that, telling her dad that Laura needed an education, and she was smart. Laura stated that her mother had four boys before her. “I think she was praying one would be a priest – but she got me instead.”

Laura came to UD for a position in Campus Ministry and to live in community with other Marianist Sisters. As a Campus Minister, she had junior and senior women students inquire about her identity as a Catholic feminist.As she attempted to help students navigate this, she was not able to find studies that spoke to this duality, so she decided to do her own research. When she described her topic to colleagues, they told her that it would make for a Ph.D. dissertation – and that she should pursue it.

She has been formed by vowed Marianists who have supported her service and leadership with the Marianist Sisters while using her gifts and talents at UD. She also credits colleagues from other areas of the University – her community within the community – who support one another through the tribulations and joys of their personal lives. She is nurtured by the circles of friends in the Marianist world who “help me be me.”

In the classroom, Laura hopes that her teaching helps students understand and be better informed about the broader, global, interfaith community that they are a part of. As a faculty member, she values a seat at the table where she can have a voice in discussions about how we are moving forward as an institution of higher education with more women represented in the leadership of the University.

When asked what she would be if she were not a faculty member or a campus minister, Laura responded, “If my sisters and the church discerned with me, I’d be a Catholic priest. I am a faculty member because the Church has not yet in its wisdom recognized that some women are called to the Priesthood.”

For fun, Laura takes prayer walks in parks, she reads when she has time, but for her, the most fun of all is being at the beach.