Sister Judy Sullivan, SDS has been called to several different vocations over her lifetime and describes each as a different path on her life journey of faith.
“I have been a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, volunteer and religious sister,” Sr. Judy says. “After my sophomore year of high school, I entered the Salvatorian candidature. I loved community life and teaching, but after six years, I felt called to something else. Two years later, friends arranged a blind date with Bob Sullivan and we were married a short time later.”
Bob was a young widower with two children. He and Judy had three children and their family of five was soon overflowing with school and parish activities. Bob was also starting his own dental supply company. When Bob died in 2001, Judy pondered what direction her life should take next. She was an active volunteer in her parish and she was mom and grandmother to an ever-growing family.
“I was attending retreats and had a spiritual director, but always seemed to be looking for something more. On one of the retreats, I realized I was really looking for someone ̶ God. I needed to deepen my relationship with God. I was still in regular contact with some of the Sisters of the Divine Savior and was serving on their Community House Chapel project,” Sr. Judy says.
At one point, the idea of a second call to religious life stunned her. “I am a mother and grandmother of 16. This is impossible, it can’t be,” she recalls thinking. Looking for guidance, Judy turned to her friend and then-Provincial, Sister Marion Etzel, SDS. “Is this even possible? What can I do for the Congregation at this point in my life?” Sr. Marion’s reply: “It’s not what you can do, but who you are.”
Mulling over Sr. Marion’s words, Judy also spoke to her adult sons and daughters. When she received their affirmation, Judy re-entered the formation process with the Sisters of the Divine Savior. Learning to balance her renewed call to religious life with her role as mom and grandmother was an important part of her years in formation. Eventually, it all came together on a single path in her faith journey. Sr. Judy professed her perpetual vows in August 2009, surrounded by members of the Salvatorian and Sullivan families and friends.
Sr. Judy says, “I am filled with gratitude and thank all who have journeyed with me. At every step, I was encouraged, supported and affirmed during my call to different vocations. Life is good. Community life is good. Thank you, God.”