Sister Judith Brings

Sister Judith BringsOn March 8, 1945, Judith (Judy) Brings was born to Clarence and Eleanor Brings in Columbus, Wisconsin.  She was baptized at Sacred Heart Church in Sun Prairie.  On her first birthday, a younger sister was born, so they share a birthday. When Judy was 21 months old, the family moved to the Brings family farm near Cross Plains, Wisconsin. Three more girls and three boys completed the farm family of eight children.    

The value of hard work and being responsible was instilled in Judy and her siblings at an early age. As the eldest in the family, Judy learned to care for younger siblings, cook, clean, tend the garden, and do farm chores. She was very close to and a big help to her mother. Helping with the harvesting of crops was a necessity growing up on the family farm.  In addition to childcare at home, Judy helped take care of her aunt’s infant twins. 

Judy was taught by the School Sisters of St. Francis during her eight years of attending St. Francis Xavier Catholic School in Cross Plains. The parish had nurtured a large number of religious vocations since its beginning in 1853.  It was common that one or more of the students graduating from the grade school would enter the seminary or the convent. Following the example of many before her, Judy entered the aspirancy of the School Sisters of St. Francis and attended St. Joseph High School in Milwaukee.   

In 1963, Judy entered the postulancy and was received into the novitiate a year later. She received the name Sister Claren, after her father. Sister Claren made her first profession in 1966. The Second Vatican Council (1960-1965) had just concluded and was beginning to have an impact on the Catholic Church and religious life. Religious communities, including the School Sisters, began to make changes in community living. When allowed, Sister Claren changed her name back to her baptismal name, Judith. At the time when many people were leaving religious life, Sister Judy made her final profession in 1976.    

After her first profession, Sister Judy worked at the Sacred Heart Pharmacy for a year, then worked as a teacher assistant for four years. She attended Averno College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1973. 

Sister Judy taught at Holy Spirit School in Milwaukee and at St. Mary’s in Westport, Wisconsin.  She found teaching stressful, so she changed occupations in 1980.  She became a parish visitor for two years at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Monona, Wisconsin.  After receiving training, Sister became a home health aide, caring for elderly individuals living in their homes. Living in Madison, she remained in this ministry until 2018.  She enjoyed and thrived in this ministry.  She became close to some of the families of her clients, caring for them for years, some until their death. She is proud of being the trusted caregiver for an older gentleman who was one of a few African American judges in Wisconsin and a professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. 

In her early seventies, Sister Judy experienced short-term memory loss.  She relocated to Milwaukee and lived with another sister, and she has continued to bring her skills of caring to our sisters at our memory care facility, Our Lady of the Angels (OLA). In time, Sister Judy’s own memory loss worsened, and she now ministers through her prayer and presence at OLA. 

Over the years many fortunate elderly and fragile seniors have benefitted from Sister Judy’s patient, gentle, and loving hands and heart.

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