The Common Good
January 2014

Four Questions for Sister Jean Lait, CSF

by Elaina Ramsey | January 2014

Sr. Jean Lait, an Anglican Franciscan sister based in San Francisco, protests drones and their effects on children

Sister Jean Lait prepares pies for a Thanksgiving meal. / Photo courtesy of CSF

Bio: Sister Jean Lait, CSF, is an Anglican Franciscan sister based in San Francisco who protests drones and their effects on children.

Website: communitystfrancis.org

1. Why did you decide to stand up against drones?
During WWII, I experienced the bombing of Coventry in England. As a child of 9 years, I slept under the stairs, anxiously waiting for the bombs to drop. Toward the end of the war, flying bombs known as “doodlebugs” were used. These were very similar to drones and were sent from Germany. They were aimed anywhere. These were bombs where you heard a whistle and then it was silent before the bang.

Thinking back on the fear and anxiety I experienced, the whole idea of drone warfare is just immoral to me. No child should ever be that frightened. No child should have to live in a war zone. That kind of trauma affects you, one way or another. You either use that experience for good or otherwise.

2. What do you and your community do to protest drones?
My order is committed to peace and justice. At one time, my community and I would be out there marching in the streets and protesting. But as one gets older, there are other ways of speaking out against injustice. I’m in my 80s, so the best thing I can do is just be myself and share my story in hopes that it brings awareness to the horrors of drones.

3. After all that you’ve witnessed in your lifetime, where do you find hope?
The fact that young people are concerned about social issues such as poverty and world peace is one thing that gives me hope. I also find hope in this new wave of faith that seems to be emerging. People are speaking out more about their faith and how it informs their views on peace and justice. And my own personal experience of being a sister—living a simple life and a life of prayer—gives me hope, too.

4. Any final thoughts for our readers regarding drones?
Something being sent off from somewhere else to destroy homes and lives is just abhorrent to me. The fact that Americans are using drones is such a tremendous disappointment. I always thought the U.S. was leading the way in peace, justice, and democracy, but we just got caught up using these methods. It’s horrific.

—Interview by Elaina Ramsey

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