2015 Jubilarian – Julia Ann “Judy” (Celine Therese) Weirick
Sister Julia Ann (“Judy”) Weirick and her two sisters grew up in Akron, Ohio, and attended St. Mary School where she was taught by the IHMs.
“I had some phenomenal women who were not only great teachers, but they also just enjoyed what they were doing,” she recalls. The commitment to their ministry and the warmth of the sisters appealed to her. She grew up spending time after school with them, becoming very comfortable in their presence.
Her close connection with the sisters drew her to the community. “This is appealing to me,” she thought. “This must be what God intends for me to do for my future.” She fondly recalls her time as a postulant, the dormitory checks, the sisters playing the piano in the evenings, and long walks that ended with cookie and apple treats.
During her first mission, she taught second grade at St. Thomas Aquinas in Detroit; she and three other sisters started the school, which initially had just four grades. She enjoyed seeing the school expand over time. After six years, Sister Judy went to Holy Redeemer, where she taught second grade for six years. She then became principal at St. Charles in Newport, Mich. For five summers while she was principal, she served as the co-director of Camp Stapleton in Lexington, Mich., a camp for underprivileged girls.
Sister Judy left St. Charles to be closer to her parents when their health declined. She taught sixth, seventh and eighth grades at St. Mark in Cleveland for three years, and for the next 17 years, served as the school’s principal.
During a sabbatical, she attended a renewal program in South Bend, Ind. She completed her clinical pastoral education, became a certified NACC chaplain and ministered at St. John Medical Center in Westlake, Ohio. She served as chaplain and director of pastoral care for three years and as the vice-president of mission and ministry at the hospital for 11 years.
Since her “retirement” in 2012, Sister Judy has been ministering as chaplain at the O’Neil Healthcare Nursing Homes in the Cleveland area. She also serves on the board of Lutheran Nursing Home of Concord Reserve. In her spare time, she volunteers at St. John Medical Center and has helped create a Community Garden, a collaborate effort between St. John Medical Center and the city of Westlake.
Sister Judy is inspired to continue her ministry to serve those most vulnerable. She is thoroughly grateful for Vatican II because it “was another way of following your interests in ministry,” and is also grateful for “the companionship of my IHM Sisters.” Her greatest joy is “being able to touch so many lives over the years and how these people, in turn, have enriched my life.”