Jesuit Father Louis J. Lambert died on January 29, 2015, in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, after 61 years as a Jesuit and 48 years as a priest. He was 79.
The Sanford, Florida., native entered the Society of Jesus in August 1953 at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, following in the footsteps of his brother, Jim.
As a young Jesuit, he studied humanities in Grand Coteau and philosophy at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, and taught at Jesuit High New Orleans and Jesuit High in El Paso. He later earned a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from Woodstock College. He and his brother, Jim, were ordained in June 1966. He completed his post-ordination formation at Rathfarnham Castle in Dublin, Ireland.
After two years of graduate studies in theology at Fordham University, he served as academic director and later as assistant to the novice master at the novitiate in Grand Coteau. He later was asked to lead formation efforts for the former New Orleans Province in the 1970s, entrusted with visiting more than 100 men who had not yet made final vows and answering directly to the Jesuits’ top man in Rome.
He was an energetic traveler and not easily deterred. One story has it that if he got caught in a snowstorm, he’d pull over, grab a sleeping bag from the trunk, and sleep in the car. While traveling, he lived on the fruit, peanut butter and water he had packed beforehand. He used his long road trips as times of quiet prayer.
After leaving formation, he spent the next seven years in Africa, first as assistant director at Mwangaza Jesuit Spiritual Center in Nairobi and then as assistant to the regional superior to what is now the East Africa Province.
His final parish assignment was Sacred Heart in El Paso, a fitting job for a Jesuit who long ago said he wanted to learn Spanish in order to help in outreach to Spanish-speaking Catholics.
His brothers James and Ralph Lambert survive him.