The youngest of three children, Judith (Judy) Brown was born November 6, 1929 in Bronxville, New York. Never knowing one brother because he died before she was born, Sister Brown remembers her eldest brother as her hero. His death during World War II “was a great tragedy” for her. Now an only child, Sister Brown followed in her mother’s footsteps and attended Eden Hall Academy of the Sacred Heart in Torresdale, Pennsylvania. Looking back on those years, Sister Brown remembers them with great fondness—learning a lot and coming to know the Society of the Sacred Heart. It was also during these years that Sister Brown realized her vocation.
After graduating from Manhattanville College in New York City in 1951, Sister Brown entered the Society alongside seven of her good friends. She made her first vows on March 8, 1954 at Kenwood in Albany and began teaching Latin. It was here that she discovered working in the schools to be “an increasingly happy and rewarding experience.” So she continued. Over the next thirty years, Sister Brown worked in various schools holding different positions, only taking time away twice—to make her final profession on February 8, 1960 and to obtain a graduate degree in 1973. The positions she held included class mistress in the Sacred Heart schools in Greenwich, Connecticut and Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Head of Middle School at Convent of the Sacred Heart (91st Street) in New York, and Head of the Religious Department in Greenwich.
Although she loved each of these experiences, it was her time as Head Mistress at the Sacred Heart School in Halifax, Nova Scotia that she found to be the most rewarding. She described her six years there as “a wonderful and extremely challenging” time. At the end, in 1991, she knew it was time for a change of direction in life.
Desiring that change but unsure as to what to do next, Sister Brown took an eight month sabbatical in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was during this time that she felt a draw toward pastoral ministry. She began her training at Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City in 1992 and served as chaplain at two Sacred Heart retirement homes successively—first at Kenwood in Albany and later at Barat Residence in Halifax. In 2003, Sister Brown retired to Kenwood in Albany and lived at Abba House from 2008 to 2012. She now resides at Teresian House.
As written by one of her supervisors in her pastoral education program: “[Sister Brown] is a deeply compassionate, intelligent, and spiritual woman who is also competent, thorough, and creative… Along with her intensity, she has a wonderful capacity to laugh at herself. Her sense of humor is often self-healing and infectious… [Sister Brown] has a natural, intuitive gift for pastoral care ministry and her sincere and warm concern comes across loud and clear.”