Sister Judith Monahan died July 29, 2019 at Saint Joseph Villa. Her Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated August 2, 2019 in Saint Joseph Villa Chapel where relatives, friends and her sisters in community rejoiced in celebrating a life that for Judy was a “journey inward.”
In Montclair, New Jersey, parents Lawrence and Helen Lokeman Monahan welcomed daughter Judith into her life’s journey on January 26, 1938. Judy attended public schools in neighboring West Orange. She learned heartbreak early in life when her father was killed in action in Normandy during World War II. Her mother lovingly reared Judy and her brother alone until Judy was eleven. Having met Robert, Helen married and the family grew with the birth of Judy’s sister Louise.
It was at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Orange that Judy met the Sisters of Saint Joseph and eventually was taught by them at Our Lady of the Valley High School. Having attended nursing school for a year, she soon realized with a generous and spontaneous heart that God was inviting her to serve him and his people. Judy entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Joseph in September, 1957. Her Novitiate began in April, 1958 when she received the name, Sister Helen Lawrence. In 1965, with a deepening of her inward journey, Sister made her final profession of vows.
Sister Judy began her classroom ministry as a second grade teacher. She served God’s people in the dioceses of Camden, Philadelphia, Newark, Baltimore and Charlotte. Her longest and perhaps her happiest, thirty years at Saint Ann Parish in Charlotte, North Carolina, were lovingly spent in ministering to youth, and to parishioners as pastoral associate. Her warm, welcoming, joyful personality thrived in the South and embraced all whom she encountered. In communal living, her sisters attested to her sense of humor, her novitiate stories of adventures and misadventures, and especially her innate gift of southern hospitality. It was with reluctance, yet generous submission to God’s will, that in 2018 she retired to Saint Joseph Villa after suffering a stroke.
The life and untiring zeal of the sojourn of Sister Judy Monahan was indeed inward and a testament to the spirit of the Congregation expressed in our Constitutions, that as Sisters of Saint Joseph “we imitate Jesus in his untiring zeal and healing presence; Mary in her living faith and constant fidelity to grace; Joseph in the loving manner of his service and his cordial charity to all.”
The “journey inward” of Sister Judy Monahan, was a genuine, heartfelt focus on God whom she loved and sought and found in all of the circumstances along life’s way. We rejoice, praise and thank God that she has reached her destination: eternal life in his loving embrace.