Kucinich Religious Biography
In His Own Words
"All of us inevitably live our faith, our ethics, our spiritual principles in everything we do, in every word, in every deed. It is integral to who we are."
Interview, January 2000
Kucinich was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but had lived in 21 different places, including a car and an orphanage, by the time he turned 17. His family was Roman Catholic, and Kucinich has said that their worship was a "private practice that included mass" and that they attended more than a dozen different churches as they moved from place to place. The oldest of seven children, Kucinich has said that his upbringing made him "live each day with a grateful heart and a desire to be of service to humanity."
He attended St. John Cantius School, a Catholic high school in Cleveland. Kucinich has said that while growing up he studied the Scriptures and the lives of the saints, and was influenced by the Catholic Workers Movement.
In 1977, at age 31, Kucinich was elected as the mayor of Cleveland, becoming the youngest mayor of any major American city. After losing his bid for re-election following a controversy involving the city's public electric company, he spent time at Christine Griscom's Light Institute in New Mexico, which describes itself as a center for "spiritual healing and multi-incarnational exploration." Kucinich has said that with Griscom he began a "series of discussions on the nature of life, truth, purpose."
He staged a political comeback in 1994 when he won election to the Ohio Senate. He was then elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996. Kucinich's 2002 "Prayer for America" speech spurred his ultimately unsuccessful run for president in 2004.
In 2005, Kucinich married his wife, Elizabeth Harper. He previously was married twice; both marriages had ended in divorce.
According to his campaign, Kucinich is currently a member of St. Aloysius church in Cleveland but attends services "not often." If nominated, he would be the fourth Roman Catholic to win a presidential nomination. If elected, Kucinich would be the second Catholic president, following John F. Kennedy.