Louise Jennet Lusignan

louise lusignan
Louise Jennet Lusignan

The Reverend Louise Jennet Lusignan, a parish priest in the Episcopal Church, died at home at Collington, a retirement community in Mitchellville, Maryland, on September 28, 2022, a few days shy of her 79th birthday. She is survived by her beloved husband, Michael, her brother Thomas Cornish, nieces Meredith Cornish, Jenny Cornish, and Molly Seefried, nephew Charlie Cornish, and by Michael’s nieces and nephews.

Born on October 4, 1943, in Berkeley, California, Louise graduated from Pomona College in 1965 and headed east, where she taught at schools in Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., and earned an MA in Teaching from Antioch Putney Graduate School of Education in Vermont.

She then headed north to Canada, where she served as a volunteer with the Company of Young Canadians, working with the North American Indian Travelling College in Cornwall Island, Ontario. Her appreciation for the Native Americans’ deep family and community bonds would influence her later path in life.

Louise left Canada with a Masters in Library Science from the University of Western Ontario and worked in Boston, Massachusetts, before moving to Washington, D.C., where she worked for the Canadian Embassy and consulted with other area libraries.

She and Michael met in Washington and were married in Michael’s home state of Ohio in 1974. On a vacation in Colorado in 1978, Michael became lost while hiking a canyon alone. When searchers found no sign of him, Louise, in despair, flew back to Washington and St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, where she had been serving as a lay volunteer. When she asked the community to pray that Michael would be found, a parishioner gently suggested praying instead that he would find his way out. Dehydrated and hallucinating, Michael did find his way out. The experience drew Louise more deeply into the life of faith and the church community she had found.

By 1984, having served in nearly every task that arises in the life of a parish, including working as parish administrator, Louise felt called to ordination. In 1988, she graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary and was ordained a priest at St. Columba’s. She served there until 2000, when she became Associate Rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in McLean, Virginia. She worked closely with rectors Bill Tully at St. Columba’s and Ed Miller at St. John’s until retiring in 2013.

Louise and Michael moved to Collington in 2015, where she continued pastoral work and where they built a new community of friends.

Louise is remembered for her warmth, sense of humor, deep commitment to pastoral care and love of cats. “My idea of a great day,” she once wrote, “is to putter around the house, take a long walk, either alone or with Michael, sit on the deck with a cup of tea, or stretch out to read a murder mystery with our two cats, Polycarp and Miss Punk, on my lap.”

A celebration of Louise’s life will take place at St. Columba’s on Saturday, October 22, at 2 pm, followed by a reception. Donations in her memory may be given to St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.; St. John’s Episcopal Church, McLean, Virginia; and the Humane Rescue Alliance, Washington, D.C.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dear Louise joined us in marriage in 1999 at St. Columba’s. Being someone of high expectations, we were expected to declare our vows with no prompts from her. In spite of being nervous, we were, thankfully, able to meet her expectations. During her homily and from her own experience, Louise told us that, in the absence of children, we would nurture each other. Of course, Louise was right and we still think of her sage words to this day. Rest In Peace, Louise. You have served us well.
    Judy Mansfield and Vince Treacy

  2. We became members at St. Columba’s in 1988, soon after we moved to the Washington DC area. Louise and Michael were an incredibly essential part of our life spent in the Nation’s Capital. We became dear friends after Louise asked us, along with the Clarks (Lacey and Steve + young son Perry) to be youth advisors. We remember preparing for the night-time portion of every youth lock-in…Louise blessing us with the sign of the cross as she and Michael departed the church campus and we prepared for the night ahead!
    St. Columba’s was a special place for us, and Louise enhanced that experience. Each of our 3 children were baptized by Louise (Alyssa in 1991, Aubrey in 1994 and Giles in 1997). She and Michael were like an endearing aunt and uncle to our children. The Lusignan’s, Ufer’s and Clarks enjoyed many gatherings together, especially during the Advent Season.
    Sadly, we moved from the DC area in 2001 but were able to make several trips back throughout the years. We are most grateful that after a long delay, due to Covid, we were back this past May and our 3 families, once again had a most delightful time together.
    We are having a very difficult time realizing that we won’t find any more letters or Christmas packages in our mailbox, or have the ability to come to DC and hug Louise and catch up on the latest events going on in our lives. Louise richly blessed all of us and we are eternally grateful for the time we had with her.

  3. Louise was one of my closest friends throughout our four years at Pomona College, so many of my college memories include Louise. She was the only one in my friend group who had a car at school, (a VW bug) and we loved the freedom it gave us to leave campus. Our most frequent outing was a pretty short one – a quick run to Baskin Robbins for an ice cream cone.

    Louise was quiet and reserved, but had a wicked sense of humor. I would think we were having a serious discussion, and she’d just slip in a wry comment that would stop me flat, and then I’d crack up. Her timing was impeccable.

    We both were spiritually searching through our college years, so it seemed so fitting when she felt called to the priesthood later in life. I know that it was a source of deep joy and fulfillment.

    Pre Covid I would visit Louise when I traveled back to the DC area to visit family. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to make one last trip to see her before she died. She was a good friend, and I treasure the memories.

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