Sr. Judith Desmarais
Sr. Judith Desmarais

RENTON, Wash. — Providence Sister Judith Desmarais, provincial leader of the Sisters of Providence in the western United States, has received the 2019 Rev. David Walsh Person of the Year Award. Bestowed annually by the National Catholic Offices for the Deaf, the award honors individuals for outstanding service with the community of Catholics who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Sister Judith’s ministry includes teaching religious education at the Washington State School for the Deaf, directing programs for people who are deaf in the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Archdiocese of Portland. She continues her ministry today as an American Sign Language interpreter at St. Patrick Parish in Seattle.

“When you look at all that Sister Judith accomplished in her many years of ministry with the deaf community, making sure adults and children could access and engage in their faith, it’s incredible,” said Redemptorist Father Rich Luberti, pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Seattle, who nominated Sister Judith for the award. “She is the first in the Pacific Northwest to receive the award, which in essence acknowledges the work by all who have served the deaf community in this area.”

The award is named for Redemptorist Father Dave Walsh, who spent his entire religious life working with the deaf and established the National Catholic Office for the Deaf. He died in 2005.