Thirty years ago, Felician Sister Louise Marie Olsofka, who was known for her true passion for serving others, as well as for her energy and creativity, created the LoveWalk for the Poor event. Her goal was to provide those in attendance with the opportunity to march in solidarity with the poor, and thereby empathize with the homeless who lived day by day carrying their belongings wherever they traveled. Sr. Louise felt that February was best for the annual event for two reasons: First, the Pittsburgh weather is cold and there is normally snow on the ground, helping participants to more fully understand the difficulties that many homeless people experience. Second, she thought it best to be celebrate the Walk on a date close to Valentine’s Day, to show love to those who are less fortunate.
Although aspects of the walk have changed over time, and the number of marchers has varied, on Sunday, February 9, 80 members of the OLSH community along with the Sisters of the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Convent gathered for Mass. Afterward, many of those in attendance carried donations for those living in poverty out to the Sisters’ cemetery where they prayed over the grave of Sr. Louise and the other Sisters who dedicated their lives as Felician Sisters. The marchers continued to the Angela Activity Center and dropped off their donations for Choices Pregnancy Center and Our Lady’s Pantry.
During his homily at Mass prior to the LoveWalk, OLSH Chaplain Fr. Bill Dorner reminded the congregation how the first reading fit perfectly with the annual event. Isaiah 58:7- 10 tells us, “Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Sr. Louise Marie Olsofka may no longer be with us here on earth; however, those who journeyed on this year’s Walk in her memory sensed that she was there in spirit. The OLSH community is committed to celebrating and honoring her legacy and tradition throughout the school’s history.