On June 30, 2013, during a 9:15 a.m. Mass, St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Littleton welcomed a new Catholic—91-year-old Lila Lipscomb.
Lipscomb is no stranger to religious practices. Her neighbors took her to Protestant services regularly as a child. Her journey toward the Catholic Church did not begin until later in her life.
“After my husband died, I felt like I needed to join the Catholic Church,” she said.
One of the first steps of the process toward becoming Catholic for Lipscomb was meeting with Sherwood Owens, director of adult faith formation at St. Frances Cabrini. Owens recalls the meeting very well.
“She said, ‘You know, I don’t understand the people that don’t believe the Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus. I know it is.’”
Owens admits that he thought it might be best to speed the process up a bit, allowing Lipscomb to enter the Church quicker. But Lipscomb did not want a free pass.
“I wanna go with the rest of them,” she said, referring to the other catechumens.
She was set to enter the Church at the Easter Vigil in March, but a fall on Holy Saturday resulted in an injury that kept her laid up. And while she could have been received into the church at the hospital or while recovering at home, she wanted to enter the Church in a physical church.
“She has a humble spirit, full of grace,” Owens said.
Lipscomb’s journey has the power to influence others to take a leap of faith, even during inopportune times.
“She’s a great model,” Owens said. “This shows that it’s never too late and that the Holy Spirit works in our own time.”
There is no question that Lipscomb sees herself as equal to everyone in her group. She has a binder filled to capacity with paperwork associated with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults Catholic faith formation process and prays a decade of the rosary each day. Her passion in officially joining the Church is evident.
“I love going to Cabrini,” she said. “I go to adoration every Wednesday.”
Owens echoes her desire to grow closer with God and his people.
“She’s never felt entitled,” he said. “She just wants to be in a relationship with the Lord.”
Even for those not associated with the Church, Lipscomb can be an influence, according to Owens.
“You’re never too old to do anything,” he said. “She’s the model for that too.”