Sister Mary St. John Judd, MM

Born: January 6, 1880
Entered: July 4, 1939
Died: December 3, 1966

Around 7:30 this morning, December 3rd, our dear Sister Mary St. John (Mabel Louise Judd) peacefully passed from our midst into eternity. Sister was 87 years old, and on January 6th, 1967 would have celebrated her Silver Jubilee of Profession. Sister leaves no immediate relatives, but a host of friends both within and without the Community, in all of whom she maintained a lively interest through faithful correspondence.

Sister was assigned to Bethany in 1961 after first participating in the Decennial program of that year. Age and declining health had combined earlier to terminate her teaching years at MRC begun with her Profession in 1942. She fulfilled this College responsibility with the same excellence of performance which led the School Board in Holyoke, Massachusetts, to acclaim her “as an outstanding member of the High School faculty, one of the truly strong teachers we have” at the time of her resignation, (after thirty-seven consecutive years as a member of the Holyoke High School faculty) to enter Maryknoll in 1939. Sister had received her B.A. in English from Mt. Holyoke College in 1901 and the following year began a teaching career which continued through most of her life. Even at Bethany she had classes in English literature with a small group of Sisters until just about a year ago. Sister endeared herself to all as much for the intellectual gifts she possessed as for the delightful humor, enthusiasm, and easy grace of expression which characterized her whether teaching, writing, conversing or just being the very comfortable companion she was.

Sister made many friends during her years at Holyoke, and notable among these was our first Sister Mary St. John, who was instrumental in her conversion, and whose subsequent entrance into the Community must have deepened Sister’s own personal conviction and desire. “Since childhood” she wrote in her application “I have been interested in the foreign missions, and the command of Christ to ‘go teach all nations.'” The Maria Mission Circle formed at Holyoke was a direct result of Sister’s appreciation of the mission apostolate. The Circle enjoyed a large membership, many of whom were non-Catholic. This group prepared packages for the missions -particularly for our Sisters in China. Each Sister received a separate package, specially-wrapped, into which the then Mabel Judd, would often tuck a personal message which usually included a quotation from Scripture, which was her great love stemming from earliest memory and training in a devout Protestant family. Sister Mary St. John was proud of her name, out of love and respect for the dear friend who bore it before her, but most especially because it was both the suggestion and selection of Mother Mary Joseph for her, mentioned at the time she was interviewed by Mother, and confirmed later when she was Received.

She wanted to become a religious the better to enable herself to “put first things first” as she told Mother, and her life of devoted, faithful service was ever a living testimonial of the deepest witness in her soul.

The Requiem Mass will be held in the Motherhouse Chapel, Monday, December 5, at 11:00 A.M., when we will unite with our Sisters everywhere in praying for the happy repose of our dear Sister’s precious soul.