Sr. Judith Wood professed her perpetual vows as a Sister of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis in November at St. Basil the Great Church in Brecksville, Ohio, where she ministers as a pastoral associate. The liturgy was led by Fr. Walt Jenne, pastor of the parish, and Sr. Jane Blabolil, president of the congregation.
Sr. Judith grew up in Queens, New York, and Lorain, Ohio. She received her master's degree in theology from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, a master's degree in social work from Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, and is currently completing a PhD in clinical social work. She taught at Trinity High School, served in adult religious education/formation in several Ohio parishes and has taught college courses in theology and social work. In addition, Sr. Judith has provided counseling for survivors of child abuse and other traumas for over 18 years.
Formerly a member of this same Franciscan community, she left the congregation. After some years, she felt a call to return, and now says: "Just as St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians, I believe that God wants to bring to completion the work that the Spirit began in me many years ago." Sr. Judith says she loves her work in the parish coordinating the RCIA program and teaching scripture, as well as leading retreats and prayer experiences. "However," she added, "I learn more from the faith and life experience of parishioners than I can ever hope to share with them."
The SSJ-TOSF is a Franciscan community of 273 sisters and 91 associates. Founded in 1901 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, the congregation maintains congregational homes in Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin. Sisters serve in diverse ministries, including education, healthcare, community services/outreach and parish/diocesan work. They minister in 14 states and in Brazil, Peru and Puerto Rico.