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Sister Judith Mangin

Sister Judith Mangin

“Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. …” (Matthew 11:29)

“Both the Hebrew and the Christian scriptures name qualities looked upon as gifts of God to God’s people and from these assorted qualities the Church has formed traditional lists of the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Among these fruits is meekness. Suggested synonyms are gentleness, humility, lowliness. It can be described as a quietness and gentleness of nature. The meek person is not defensive of her own territory and can disarm people by her openness and lack of self-assertiveness. Meekness is a virtue which by nature and grace was particularly characteristic of Sister Judith,” said Sister Alexa Suelzer in her commentary for Sister Judith Mangin, who died Feb. 10.

The youngest of nine children, Irma Regina Mangin was born Feb. 16, 1926, in Washington, Ind., to Joseph and Margaret (Clauss) Mangin. The grade schools she attended included St. Mary and Longfellow Consolidated, both in Washington. She graduated from Washington Catholic High School and entered the Congregation July 21, 1944. She professed first and perpetual vows Jan. 23, 1947, and 1952, respectively. Sister Judith earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and a master’s degree in education from Indiana University.

Sister Judith spent more than 25 years teaching elementary school. She began in 1947 teaching at Holy Trinity, New Albany, Ind. Her other Indiana classrooms included St. Francis Xavier, Vincennes; St. Margaret Mary, Terre Haute; St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Philip Neri, Indianapolis; and Annunciation, Brazil. In Illinois, she ministered at St. Sylvester, Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Leo, St. Thaddeus, and St. Mark, Chicago; and St. Mary Carmelite, Joliet. She also spent time at St. Ann, Washington, D.C., and St. Patrick, Fayetteville, N.C.

“As a teacher, Sister Judith was quiet and reserved, but when necessary she spoke up. On one occasion, just as her pupils were lining up for dismissal carrying their new red spellers, word came not to allow any student to take a speller home unless it was paid for. ‘Baloney,’ said Sister Judith. ‘Baloney,’ and marched her students, spellers in hand, out of the building,” shared Sister Alexa.

“After more than two decades of teaching elementary grades, Sister Judith had a welcome interval of cooking at the Cathedral rectory in Indianapolis. She loved to cook but was often interrupted as she served coffee and peanut butter sandwiches to the vagrants who showed up daily at the back door,” shared Sister Alexa.

After a brief stint with the religious education program at St. John, Loogootee, Ind., Sister Judith turned her attention to adult education. These ministries included United Southside Community Organization and Martin University, both in Indianapolis. She returned to the Woods in 1996 and volunteered in many different ways.

“Among Sister Judith’s papers were some jottings, evidently from a workshop, which let us see some of her insights about life. She wrote: ‘I count with God. My weakness inclines him to help me. God doesn’t need me to be perfect.’ And again: ‘All people need love. Caring means suffering at times.’

“On a lighter note, in the same journal Sister Judith notes some unfulfilled desires: ‘to reach my ideal weight, to see Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon and to sing beautifully.’ Rejoice Sister Judith; all these desires and more are now realized, for has not Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth?’” concluded Sister Alexa.

The Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Judith was celebrated Feb. 16, with the Rev. Daniel Hopcus presiding. She is survived by one sister, Rita Bowling, of Washington, Ind.

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