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Newspaper Page Text
MRS. LENORE MEDER, HEAD OF PUBLIC WELFARE, SAYS EVERY
SINNER HAS A FUTURE.
BY JANE WHITAKER
I met her first in the Juvenile Court one day when I sat thinking over
a problem I was called upon to solve. .
A man had appealed to jne in regard to his children, a boy and a. girl.
He had told me that the Juvenile Court officers had had him up in court and
he had fought for the possession of his children and won, but- that once
again they were after Jim, and he realized it would be impossible for him
to take care of his children as the Juvenile Court decreed they should be
taken care of, so he had decided they should be sent for a few years away
from him, but he wanted to pay their board and not have them paupers, and
he earned so pitifully little that he was desperate.
And as I thought over the problem, she sat down beside me and we
.entered into conversation, and without knowing who she was I told her
"Poor thing," she said, pityingly, "send him to me and I will do the best
that can b& done for him."
And she did that best so well that afterward the man came to me and
poured out his gratitude to her. And that was how I met Mrs. Leonora
Meder, president of the Catholic Women's Protective League and just ap
pointed by Mayor Harrison head of the Public Welfare Bureau.
Little by little our acquaintance grew and each time I found more to
admire. When I wanted some prominent woman to advocate the cause of
the waitresses on strike at Henna's,
Mrs. Meder was the one woman of
many I approached who was not only
willing but eager to champion the
She comes from the sunny South,
and it was there that she learned to
love her fellowmen. Her mother
loved humanity before "her to such
an extent that she was a martyr to
the cause, for one stormy day she in
sisted upon visiting a woman in trou
ble, and she contracted pneumonia
Mrs. Meder gained her training in
social service work under the direc
tion of Mattie Love, who for forty
four years was head of the Flower
Mission in Louisville, Kentucky.
She came to Chicago twelve years
ago. She lived at 1045 Rush street'
for eight years and she worked with
the poor here as she had in Louis
ville. Once she said to me: "I have
had many sorrows in my life, and
sorrows bring you nearer to the peo
ple; they give you understanding."
Seven years ago she became affil
iated with the Catholic Women's Pro
tectorate. She is also a member of
the Eli Bates Association and an as
sociate member of Coulter House.
And during this time much of her
work has been along the line of the
protection of girls.
Once I asked her to tell me why
girls go wrong, what are the causes.
She looked at me with a little pain
in her eyes, and her lips tightened.
Then she said:
"There are no general reasons.
Every girl is different. Every girl's
life is different. Every girl's temp
tations are different. Sometimes it
is the fault of nature. If the girl had
married, she would have been a
splendid wife and mother, but lack
ing the chance to marry she drifted
into wrong through the very desire
for love, which after all is a natural
"People are just folks," she said.
"My sympathies are as- much with
the bad as the good. Every saint has
a past and every sinner has a future."
I thought what a wonderful text
that would be for our so-called re
formers to consider. "Every saint