In her 29 years as a librarian, Sister Alexis Lucas, SDS ministered to Milwaukee’s cross section of humanity—young and old, students and dropouts, professionals and street people—as well as people of all faiths. Sr. Alexis died on September 8, 2014 at the age of 83, just four days before she was to be honored at a Jubilee Mass for 65 years of religious profession.
Born in 1931 to Larry and Catherine (Solar) Lucas in Beaverdale, Pa., Diocese of Pittsburgh, the youngest of four girls and four boys was given the name Margaret. She attended one year of high school before entering the Sisters of the Divine Savior Congregation in 1946. Upon entering the novitiate in 1948, she received the religious name Alexis. Sr. Alexis pronounced her first vows on August 13, 1949 and perpetual vows exactly six years later in Milwaukee.
After completing her high school education at Divine Savior Convent, Sr. Alexis attended Divine Savior Junior College at the SDS Milwaukee Motherhouse, and then earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Mount Mary College. For 15 years, Sr. Alexis taught in Wisconsin elementary schools, including Mother of Good Counsel in Milwaukee, Holy Trinity in School Hill, St. Therese in Schofield, and Holy Name in Wausau. She also taught at St. Mary’s School in Landover Hills, Md.
Earning a master’s degree in library science from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee launched Sr. Alexis’ longtime service with the Milwaukee Public Library System. Over the years, she continued with classes and workshops to improve her competence in the field. After retiring from active ministry in 1998, Sr. Alexis was often seen riding Milwaukee county buses or walking through Milwaukee neighborhoods, reaching out to people in need of comfort or friendship. She referred to them as “my poor” and sometimes even bought things for them. She also had her “spiritual contacts” in the community to whom she gave rosaries, scapulars, prayer cards and assurance of her prayers. In this way, Sr. Alexis lived the Gospel proclaimed in Matthew 25:40: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for me.”