Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province, choose Sister Judith Desmarais as provincial superior
the Inland Register
(From the October 18, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)
Sister Judith Desmarais SP (IR photo courtesy of the Sisters of Providence)
Providence Sister Judith Desmarais, Provincial Councilor, was selected to become provincial superior of Mother Joseph Province at the provinceís annual provincial chapter meeting in Renton, Wash., last month.
She will continue the balance of the term vacated by Sister Karin Dufault, who is leaving for Montreal, Quebec, in November to become general superior of the international congregation.
Sister Judith, whose election was affirmed by General Superior Kathryn Rutan and the General Council on Sept. 21, will serve through Dec. 31, 2014. She and Mother Joseph Provinceís other provincial councilors, Sisters Jo Ann Showalter and Maureen Newman, will identify a process for naming an additional provincial councilor to serve the remainder of the Provincial Councilís term of office.
Sister Judith was born at St. Elizabeth Hospital in the Yakima Valley and grew up on a hop farm in Moxee, Wash., in a family with five children. She attended Holy Rosary grade school in Moxee and St. Joseph Academy in Yakima. After high school she entered the Sisters of Providence at Providence Heights, Issaquah, Wash., in 1962 and made first profession in 1965. She made perpetual profession in 1971 at Holy Rosary Church in Moxee.
In 1991, Sister Judith was elected provincial councilor for the former Sacred Heart Province. She held that position for four years and became interim provincial superior during the fifth year.
In July 1997, during the General Chapter in Montreal, Sister Judith was elected to a five-year term as a general councilor and she subsequently was re-elected for a second term in 2002. In her role, she was privileged to set up the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Center at the offices of the General Administration. As the SP board member on UNANIMA International, the NGO in which the Sisters participate, she became involved in the issue of trafficking of women and children, and has continued to work on this in Seattle.
Serving the Deaf Community is a passion for Sister Judith. This call came about during her years of teaching in primary grades in Vancouver, Wash., at St. Joseph School, where she became involved in the religious education program for the students at Washington State School for the Deaf. Sister Judith ministered for 14 years as director of ministry with deaf people, first for the Archdiocese of Seattle and then for the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore.
After teaching primary grades for nine years she attended an interpreter training program in sign language at Seattle Central Community College. During her years of community leadership, she has continued to be involved with deaf people through interpreting liturgy and attendance at various events in the United States and in Montreal. While on the General Council in Montreal she was closely connected with the deaf Sisters of Our Lady of Seven Dolors.
After her council position in Sacred Heart Province, Sister Judith attended the CREDO spiritual renewal and sabbatical program at Gonzaga University in Spokane in 1996-97, enjoying a year of opportunities with international students, theological courses and personal development workshops. She also had the chance to embrace a Third World experience with Sisters of Providence in the Philippines.
Sister Judith holds a bachelorís degree in social sciences from Seattle University and a masterís degree in theology from St. Maryís College in Moraga, Calif.