Sr. Judith (Elizabeth Louise) Brower, died November 11, 2008, at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, ID. The first of seven children, she was born to James and Edith Fox Brower on August 11, 1946, in Chicago, IL.
She entered the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, WI, in 1963 and made vows in 1965. In 1985, she transferred to the Monastery of St. Gertrude where she made monastic profession on November 25, 1988.
Sr. Judith earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and French from Silver Lake College, Manitowoc, in 1970 and a Master’s degree in Mathematics (Teaching) from Stanford University in 1976. She taught elementary and high school in Ohio, Wisconsin and Nebraska and college at Silver Lake College and North Idaho College (NIC), Coeur d’Alene, ID. She served the Diocese of Boise from 1985-86 as Director of Special Ministries.
In 1997, she returned to the monastery where she began the “Monastery Well” ministry through which people could subscribe to the brief reflections she wrote on daily Gospel passages. She served as Director of the monastery’s Oblate Program from 1997-2000. She completed the Spiritual Guidance Program with Shalem Institute in Boston from 1999-2001 and ministered as a spiritual director in Lewiston, Moscow and Coeur d’Alene, ID until this past August when her health failed.
Sr. Judith served as Liturgy Coordinator for the Monastery since 2003. She conducted retreats at Spirit Center, the monastery’s conference and retreat facility, and gave outreach retreats for churches and service organizations, and designed and managed the monastery’s hand-decorated candle ministry called “Monastery Lights.”
She was very interested in music, especially in singing her original songs, and enjoyed desktop publishing, cooking and photography. Relaxation often included watching Gonzaga basketball, the Chicago White Sox and other sports.
Beyond her numerous activities, Sister Judith will be remembered as a strong and vulnerable woman who sustained lasting friendships, liked to apply her creativity to word-smithing, trying new things, organizing events, sharing meaningful and spiritual conversations, and getting students to trust their talents and succeed in classes they found difficult. Her extraordinary annual rendition of the Easter Vigil Exultet will remain an inspiring and beautiful memory for her monastic community.
Sr. Judith was preceded in death by her father and is survived by her monastic family, her mother, her siblings Jim (Buz), Tom, Bill, Bob, Cathy, Judy and their families.
Sr. Judith’s vigil service was held in the monastery chapel on November 16 at 7:00 pm. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated there on November 17 at 1:30 pm. Sr. Meg Sass gave the reflections.
Uhlorn Funeral Home, Cottonwood, was in charge of funeral arrangements.
Memorials may be made to Monastery of St. Gertrude, 465 Keuterville Road, Cottonwood, ID 83522-5183.