Sister of Providence Judith Desmarais honored for work with the Catholic Deaf Community

Sister Judith Desmarais, SP, provincial leader of the Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province, has received the 2019 Reverend 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 Catholic Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.

Sister Judith’s ministry with the Catholic Deaf Community includes teaching religious education at the Washington State School for the Deaf, directing programs for the Catholic Deaf in the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Archdiocese of Portland, and working with the Deaf Religious Community, Our Lady of Seven Dolors, in Montreal. She continues her ministry today as an American Sign Language interpreter at St. Patrick Church in Seattle.

Fr. Rich Luberti, C.Ss.R, Pastor at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Seattle, nominated Sister Judith for the award. “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 Fr. Rich. “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 Fr. Dave Walsh, C.Ss.R, a Redemptorist priest who spent his entire religious life working with the Deaf and established the National Catholic Office for the Deaf (NCOD). Every year NCOD hosts a Pastoral Week geared for pastoral workers with the Catholic Deaf Community. After Fr. Dave Walsh died in 2005, NCOD began annually recognizing a pastoral worker for outstanding service with the Catholic Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community in his honor.

Sr. Judith was honored with the award in absentia on Tuesday, January 15, during the annual NCOD Pastoral Week in Fort Worth, Texas.

(Read Sister Judith’s bio/award nomination at