Honoring bold women


How will you celebrate Bold Women’s Day on February 24? Read about how one Wisconsin congregation marked the occasion last year:

Bold Women’s Day 2012 was a special day at Joy Lutheran Church in Prescott, Wisconsin. We celebrated one of the two oldest and boldest women in our congregation. Leora had turned 95 last summer and has been a member of Joy Lutheran for over 30 years. Her nephew, also a long-time member, delivered the morning message and told us about his aunt.

She was born and raised in North Dakota in a family of six girls who all helped their father run the farm. When she was old enough, Leora left the farm and struck out on her own to explore new places and find new work. After a time, she returned to North Dakota, married her husband, and together they continued the hard work of farming while raising a son and daughter.  There was a restlessness, however, in this bold woman and she convinced her husband to retire from farming, move to the Canadian border, and open a restaurant! She was an excellent cook and people came to the restaurant from all over the county and even from Canada. Like farming, it was hard work but she felt God had placed her in her restaurant where she could cook and share her faith with others. 

After many successful restaurant years, Leora and her husband decided to retire for good and move to California to be nearer their son and his family.  Shortly after they arrived, their daughter-in-law died suddenly from cancer, leaving two small children and a distraught husband.  So, this bold woman of faith stepped in to help raise her grandchildren.  Soon after, her husband also died suddenly. Leora was in a difficult position but knew God had called her to be there, even though she was advancing in age. She and her son decided to move the family to Prescott, Wisconsin, to be near other relatives. That is how our congregation came to know Leora. She raised her two grandchildren to adulthood and became a caregiver to her son when he became ill and couldn’t work.

Throughout her life, this bold woman has experienced strength through her faith in God. She has shared her faith with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, and family and she continues to inspire all of us at Joy Lutheran Church! 

Our Joy Women of the ELCA honored Leora by giving a donation, in her name, to Katie’s Fund, named in honor of another bold woman, Katie Luther, wife of Martin Luther.  We thought this was a most appropriate gift because Katharina von Bora Luther was so much like our own Leora. Both were practical and bold women of faith.  Both were mothers, entrepreneurs, and farmers, and both continue to inspire us today.  Our service ended with a song written especially for this service.  It is sung to the tune of “Listen, God Is Calling,” hymn #513 in our ELW Hymnal:

Women bold and caring,                                             
God’s grace shining through them,                        
Leading us in sharing                                                    
Spirit of Joy!

Women followed Jesus
Faithful and strong,
Doing His commandments
All through the land.
Leora followed Jesus
All through her life.
Serving those around her
Showing God’s love.

Now we thank Leora
Sharing her Grace,
And all Bold Women with us
Showing their love.       

This Stewardship Story was written by Marcia Lindseth, a participant in Women of the ELCA at Joy Lutheran Church and president of the Northwest Wisconsin Synodical Women’s Organization.