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Sister Judith Thaddeus Piszyk (given name Janina Stefania Piszyk) was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 3, 1929; a daughter of the late Peter Piszyk and Anna Marczak Piszyk, she was Baptized and Chrismated on May 29, 1932 at St. Casimir Church and was confirmed on May 25, 1940 by Rev. Ambrose Senyshyn, OSBM.
Sister Judith Thaddeus Piszyk, OSBM, was drawn to religious life by the example of the nuns who taught her at St. Nicholas School in Chicago. The Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great impressed her with their commitment to children. She knew she wanted to do something worthwhile with her life; she decided she too wanted to “live in such a life of dedication.”
She entered the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great on March 2, 1945 and made her Temporary Profession (First Vows) on August 22, 1948. Her Solemn Profession (Final Vows) took place on August 24, 1952.
Sister Judith earned her B.S. in Education at Villanova University and her M.S. in Education at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Her education included Spiritual Direction at Cenacle of Our Lady of Divine Providence in Clearwater, FL and courses at De Lourdes College, Des Plaines, IL and other schools.
Sister Judith Thaddeus worked for more than 50 years as a teacher. From 1948 to 1999, she taught, and was principal, in classrooms across North America: St. John Baptist, Newark, NJ; St. Vladimir, New Kensington, PA; SS Peter and Paul, Cleveland, OH; SS Peter and Paul, Auburn, NY; Holy Ghost, Chester, PA; Immaculate Conception, Hamtramck, MI; St. John the Baptist, Pittsburgh, PA; St. Basil Elementary School, Phila., PA; SS Cyril and Methodius, Olyphant, PA and St. Nicholas, Chicago, IL.
Then, from 1999 to 2003, Sister Judith worked in pastoral ministry in McKees Rocks, PA and with the elderly in St. Petersburg, FL.
For the next seven years after that, she worked as the Bishop’s Secretary in the Chancery in the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese of St. Josephat in Parma, Ohio. She said it was her favorite time in ministry. “Not only was I able to help the Bishop, but it also allowed me to minister spiritually to lay people in ways I had not had the opportunity before. We had a vibrant healing ministry. It was especially rewarding to be able to spend hours in prayer, spiritual direction and praying for healing among the people of God,” she wrote. “I got an appreciation of how hungry souls are for a deeper knowledge of their faith; their dedication to a life of prayer, and their longing for guidance in their desire for a closer walk with God.”
There were numerous other ministries that Sister Judith was involved with: the orphanage at St. Basil Home, Phila., PA; catechism in various parishes; mission work in Queenstown, Canada; St. Andrew Missionary Apostolate, Knox, IN; St. Basil House of Prayer, Phila., PA; Assistant House Superior at Motherhouse - Fox Chase Manor, PA; Assistant Superior in Health Unit, Motherhouse- Fox Chase Manor, PA; and Vocation Director.
In 2010, Sister Judith Thaddeus finally “retired” to the Order’s Motherhouse in Fox Chase, Pennsylvania. But even in retirement, Sister still faithfully served God’s people and she prepared children to receive the Sacraments. “Sister Judith was a woman of great faith and character; she had a deep spirituality, but also a cheerfulness and a sense of humor that brims over and brings a smile to the faces of other people,” notes Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski, OSBM.
Sister Dorothy Ann shared that Sister Judith Thaddeus was also a poet; she had written hundreds of poems over the last several years that she shared with the community on feast days and special occasions. Recently, the treasurer of the province stepped down after 23 years of service; during the reception the Sisters had, Sister Judith Thaddeus brought the house down with a poem that incorporated multiple references to episodes in the Bible – especially the Gospels – that dealt with finances. “Needless to say, Sister Judith Thaddeus is a beloved figure.”
For her part, Sister Judith Thaddeus said her greatest joy in living her vocation is the time she spends in prayer, living among women who share the same goals to which she has dedicated her own life — “and the peace which monastic life affords me and the wonderful children and people whom I have had the grace to serve during these years.”
“My ‘pearl of wisdom’ would be that with prayer, one should always desire to be in the Will of God,” Sister Judith Thaddeus says, “accepting all that life holds for us, knowing that with St. Paul we can realize ‘all things work out for those who love God.’
Sister Judith is predeceased by her siblings: John, Leo, Joseph, Edward, Stephen, Anna, Pauline Kargol and Patricia Roman. She is survived by many nieces and nephews.
Sister Judith's viewing will be held on Friday at 4:30 PM at Holy Trinity Chapel. Parastas Prayers will be sung at 6:30 PM.