Sister Judith Waldt
I’m my early 20s, my home parish, St Francis of Assisi, was a big part of my life. It was there I taught third grade, helped to establish a kindergarten, sang in the Folk group, and served on both the Liturgy Committee and the Parish Council.
I had recently moved into an apartment with a college friend. Life was good.
With 8 children, “The Waldt Family” was close and I could easily imagine myself married and raising children with siblings providing lots of cousins.
Religious life simply wasn’t part of the dream.
With a promise that it “wasn’t for people interested in religious life”, I attended a “Singles Retreat” offered by the Mission Helpers of the Sacred Heart.
Much to my surprise, the Mission Helpers were unlike any sisters I had known. Their ministries were non-institutional, vast, and wide. Dinner conversation was as varied as the women around the table; the sister’s stories of their day reflecting a great diversity in ministry and a life shared with those they served.
Something was pulling within me and the following summer I joined a month-long live-in program in Boston sponsored by the Mission Helpers. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, much less what to expect, as I shared in the day-to-day life of the sisters -everything from vacation bible school to parish visiting, from morning and evening prayer to meals and recreation.
As we met with each sister in their ministry, I was surprised to meet a hospital chaplain, a red headed sister in a pink sear sucker suit. At the time, I, too, was a red head and had the same pink sear sucker suit! This was getting too close for comfort. I was glimpsing the myriad ways God speaks.
Having discerned that religious life wasn’t for me, I returned to teaching. However, something or Someone continued to stir within me. Finally, I gave in to the nudge and decided to give the Mission Helpers a try, entering in 1983 at the age of 26.
From the very beginning, I was sent out among the people… youth ministry, service with the homeless, Vacation Bible School, Religious Education… from New York to North Carolina.
After first vows, I was missioned to Annunciation Parish in Florida, eventually becoming the Director of Religious Education and led the founding of a Childcare Center.
I loved summers spent in Boston getting my Masters in Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry. After a short stint as a Family Minister at Baltimore’s Cathedral of Mary our Queen, I was asked to be the Mission Helper’s vocation director, affording me the opportunity for much travel since we are an international community.
My time in Venezuela was life changing. My heart was widened by the sense of community, of joy, of God.
In 1996, I began 12 years of congregational service in community leadership; first as an advisor to the President, then, as President from 2000-2008.
After a wonderful sabbatical in Dublin, Ireland I was invited to minister as Faith Formation Director in Mt. Dora, Florida with the TOR Franciscans. This was a ministry with many faces and facets.
Having spent most of my religious life in Florida, the people and places of Florida have captured my heart.
Life comes full circle. In 2021, I was re-elected to our leadership team as Vice President and have returned to Baltimore where it all began.
Being a Mission Helper of the Sacred Heart, a Woman of the Heart, continues to fill my heart to the brim.