Sister Judith Uhlenkott, 55, died of cancer at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, Cottonwood, ID, on Friday, October 31, 1997. She was born to Alphonse and Pauline [Sprute] Uhlenkott on October 21, 1942, in Long Beach, CA. After World War II Sr. Judy’s family moved back to the Camas Prairie and lived on their farm near Fenn, Idaho. Sister Judy attended St. Joseph’s School and St. Gertrude’s Academy in Cottonwood, Idaho. In 1960 she entered the Monastery of St. Gertrude and made her Monastic Profession as a Benedictine Sister on August 11, 1962.
Sister Judy earned a B.A. in Education from the University of Idaho and an M.A. In Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama. She celebrated her 25th. Jubilee of Profession in 1987.
She taught school in Lewiston, Pocatello, Nezperce and Boise, Idaho. In 1969 she accompanied other Sisters from Cottonwood and the Federation of St. Gertrude to Bogotá, Colombia, to teach at Colegio San Carlos, a school run by the Benedictine monks of Richardton, North Dakota. Thirteen years later, when the Sisters who had been administering Colegio Santa Maria returned to the United States, the Archdiocese of Bogotá asked the Cottonwood Benedictines to administer the K-12 school. Sister Judy served as school superintendent for nine years. She returned to the United States in 1993.
Sister Judy has been a gentle, loving, and profoundly loyal friend and mentor to many, both within and outside her Benedictine community. Her struggle with and embrace of her illness over the past years has been a quiet, yet remarkable inspiration for all those who have known her. The gift of her presence and wisdom will support all those who have loved her.
Sister Judy is survived by her parents, three sisters, Anna Marie Brannan of Auburn, WA, Susan Reinhardt and Jean Uhlenkott, both of Spokane, WA; and three nieces and a nephew.
A Vigil Service for her was held in the Chapel at the Monastery of St. Gertrude on Sunday, November 2 at 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for her on Monday, November 3 at 11:00 a.m. in the Monastery Chapel. The Presider was Rev. Norbert Lemke, S.J., Chaplain at the Monastery. Sister Mary Kay Henry, Prioress, was the Homilist.