Wednesday, September 13
Good Shepherd Chapel at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake
7330 S. Lovers Lane Road, Franklin, WI
9:30 a.m. – Reception of Body followed by a wake service
10:30 a.m. – Mass of Christian Burial followed by interment in the community mausoleum
Br. Leonard Zaworski, SCJ, died at home last night, September 6. A member of the Dehonian community at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake, he was 80 years old.
Originally from Baltimore, Br. Lenny professed his first vows in 1968 and his perpetual vows in 1975. Much of his life was devoted to social justice and serving those who were often found on the peripheries of society.
For many years he was a community activist in the Rio Grande Valley, helping to give voice to the poor. “We tried to empower people who never felt that they could make a difference,” he said. “We helped them to find the courage to participate in the system, to seek change.”
In Texas he served at St. Lawrence parish in San Antonio, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Raymondville and with Valley Interfaith in McAllen. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees (theology) from Marquette University in Milwaukee. Prior to discerning his religious vocation he served six years in the US Coast Guard.
In January, 1998, Br. Lenny went to India for a sabbatical, during which he studied Indian spirituality. At the time the Dehonian presence in India was just beginning and he spent time in one of the district formation communities. At the end of the sabbatical he sought permission to remain in India. He also assisted in Vietnam.
Throughout his years of ministry, Br. Lenny continued to have a passion for social justice and wanted to share it with others. In 2001 he created Directives for Social Justice, a collection of short quotes taken from the first three volumes of Fr. Leo John Dehon’s Social Works. The twelve-page document arranges quotes by topic, including “The Service of the Church,” “Work for Social Justice,” “The Social Dimension of the Commandments,” and “Economic Justice.” Click here to access it.
Ministering in a silent language
In retirement, Br. Lenny sought a new ministry: Braille translation.
“When I retired I wanted to find a meaningful ministry,” wrote Br. Lenny. “Entering into retirement was easy at first. After spending 12 years in India, I enjoyed being back in the United States. But I knew that as I grew in age I would become more limited, so I wanted something that I would be able to continue as I got older.
“A few years before I retired, I spent a year in Baltimore when my mother’s health began to deteriorate and I took a year-long course in Digital Media at Johns Hopkins University. One of the things that stuck with me from the course was the constant concern about how to include elements in whatever projects we worked on that would serve the needs of people who are sightless.”
Br. Lenny learned the Milwaukee Public Library had a service for the blind called “ABLE” (Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement). Through ABLE, people trained in Braille transcribe books, sheet music and other materials for the blind.
“When I discovered ABLE online and learned that it was possible to do Braille transcriptions on a computer, I called the Braille office and was invited to visit,” said Br. Lenny. “It was very challenging, but I found that I am good at it. I am very happy to have had the opportunity to work and learn alongside people who are blind, who witness to me their courage, patience, and strength of character.”