On the sunny spring morning of May 12, 2021 at 10 am, several people gathered at the corner edge of the Mary Jerome Ely Hall driveway to dedicate a section of garden area defined by a weeping redbud tree and three rose bushes in memory of Sister Elizabeth Judge.

A longtime resident of Ely Hall and an avid gardener, Sister Elizabeth looked after the whole of the Ely garden, watering the flowers on even the hottest of summer days. Sister Eileen McGrory recalled how her Ely roommate would search the college grounds for bricks to define and separate parts of the garden from the surrounding grass, keeping the flowers safe from the lawnmowers.

Following Sister Elizabeth’s wake and service on April 9, Sister Eileen and Sister Elizabeth Vermaelan agreed that in lieu of flowers, a donation of a rose bush would be an appropriate and permanent tribute. After consultation with the college’s groundskeeper and friend of Sister Elizabeth’s, Mike Gallucci, a total of three rosebushes as well as a tree would be planted in this well-loved and well-tended corner. 

Sister Elizabeth Vermaelen began the dedication service with a prayer, Blessing Prayer for a Garden. Also in attendance were Sister Monica Wood, Gallucci and a member of his staff, other residents of Ely, and a few staff members from the Sisters of Charity Center. A few shared remembrances of Sister “Liz” and her passion for gardening.   

– Teri Tynes, Communications Associate

Blessing Prayer for a Garden

Lord and holy creator of trees and forests, flowers and plants
come and place your blessing of life upon this garden
that we have planted here.
In the Garden of Eden,
You planted both the tree of knowledge and the tree of life.
May this garden be a breath of life for all the earth.
May its leaves breathe forth the life-giving breath of oxygen.
May its branches be living space for those birds of the air that shall rest here.
May those in need of shelter from the summer heat
find in its shade a refreshing refuge.
May it give to all who look upon it the gift of life-renewing beauty.
Lord God, blessed are you who invited Liz Judge
into a life of sacred service to you, to the church, and to all the earth.
By living a consecrated life, she sought the coming of your kingdom here on earth.
We who are fellow pilgrims on our own journey to everlasting life,
rejoice today as we acknowledge Liz’ commitment to a life of dedicated service
to all in need, especially those who are poor.
We pray in gratitude for her unique calling and ask a blessing on this garden space
and on all those who gather today to remember her.

Sister Elizabeth Judge Garden Dedication

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Mary Jerome Ely Hall. May 12, 2021