Br J B Judge


From Br Liam Deasy (staff, 1968, ~1980):

Dear Friends

It is with sadness and requests for prayers for the repose his gentle soul that I send this e-mail to tell you of Bro. John Ben Judge's death this evening in Holy Family Hospital, New Delhi.
He had not been feeling (or looking) at all well since before Christmas and it was after Christmas that he finally gave in and went to hospi with symptoms of what seemed to be jaundice. It did not take the doctors very long to ascertain that he was actually suffering from cancer of the liver and that very little of his liver was actually left. The cancer spread very rapidly and affected his kidneys and finally his whole system so much so that Holy Family put him in ICU for intense palliative care rather than hoping for a cure of any sort. Ben's brother and sister flew out to Delhi to be with him in his last hours. They arrived this morning in Delhi and were at his bed-side immediately. Ben had already slipped into a coma by the time they had arrived . . . and their vigil at his bed-side lasted but two hours before he closed his eyes for the last time and surrendered his gentle soul to his God. Ben will be buried in York Road Cemetery, New Delhi tomorrow (Friday) evening at 16:00 IST. You are kindly requested to pray for the repose of his soul, the support of his family and the intentions of the Brothers on this occasion.
Please pass on the news to any of Ben's past pupils that you may be in contact with.
United in prayer

From the Provincial, Br Gerard Alvarez (served at SMS ~1974), passed on by Br Roy DaSilva (1977):

“Our Brother Ben passed away at about 9.05 p.m. on Jan. 22nd. in Holy Family Hospital.
He woke up on the 22nd morning, buoyed up with the prospect of seeing his sister Anne and brothers Leo and Paddy who were to arrive at 10.30 a.m. that same morning.
At about 10.00 a.m. we received a call from Sister Mildred in Holy Family that Ben was showing signs of deep drowsiness, suggesting the advent of a possible comatose stage, and that it would be advisable to bring the family to the hospital as soon as possible.  He was then administered oxygen which seemed to help his condition.

The earliest that the family, accompanied by Dermot and myself could get to the hospital was at 2.00 p.m. which was the official visiting hours for those in the ICU.  Paddy went in first followed by Anne and Leo, who emerged grateful to have seen their brother alive but who was unable to recognize them or indicate recognition. He seemed to have slipped into a semi comatose state.
The Directors of the Holy Family, Fr. Arthur Pinto and Dr. Jennifer Lobo together with Ben's personal Doctor Ravi suggested that, for the benefit of his family, Ben be moved to a private room. Sister Mildred, who together with other staff was nothing less than an angelic presence to Ben, arranged a speedy and efficient transfer to Room 416 in the private ward.

Anne, Leo and Paddy remained with their brother, Ben, in Room 416, talking to him, recalling childhood and later memories of their times together- in the hope that their brother could hear them. They felt he did.

They prayed the holy rosary and the vibrations of their love and faith certainly touched their brother.  They seemed grateful and calm and happy to be with him, watching and listening to his laboured breathing, despite the oxygen.

Anne and Leo returned at about 8.00 p.m. to gather a few items from St. Columba's before returning to keep night vigil with their brother. But that was not to be. We received a call from Paddy saying that Ben slipped away quietly into the heart of God at about 9.05 p.m.

There was a sense of deep gratitude to God on the part of the family and the brothers that their brother Ben had gone to heaven painlessly, quietly, and gently and spared all the complications that they fear could set in should he have lived much longer.

May Ben's gentle soul rest in Peace.

Tomorrow, January 23rd at 4.00 p.m. we celebrate the Life and Death of a simple and dedicated brother of Edmund Rice through the Eucharist.

May Ben's gentle soul rest in peace and may his spirit of loving dedication continue to live in hearts of the hundreds of young men whom he taught and provided an opportunity for a better and a wholesome future.

Eternal Rest be given to Ben, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.

In deep gratitude to a beautiful brother and to his family,

Love and God bless

Gerard Alvarez cfc”

As an ex student of Brother Judge from his days at St. Columbas, I would like to tell a short story:

Class 9 or 10, I am my usual naughty self and am punished by the teacher and ordered to get out of class and take 4 rounds of the field (a big football ground). As I am dragging my plum self across the halls, I hear a voice “You, Rahul, what are you doing outside class at this hour?” I have been punished, Brother, because I was being naughty.

“What is your punishment?”

“I have to take 10 rounds of the field.”

“WHAT?? That's rubbish, rubbish. Come with me.”

He held my hand, and took me to the walkway which leads from the middle school building to the main entrance gate. “Now, run to that gate, and run back.” I did the same. “Have you learned your lesson, young man?”

“Yes, Brother.” I smiled.

I smile to this day when I remember the kind hearted angel who I was blessed to encounter. I found myself googling my past today, and heard about his demise and by virtue of these words, would like to express my thanks to the almighty for allowing us to experience the warmth of a true saint.

I miss you, Brother. Bless.

—Rahul D Bhutani (St Columba's, 1999)

From Patrick Judge, brother of Br J B Judge, in response to the letter below:

Your words of condolence and comments from other Mount Abu Alumni,  following the death on 22 January of my brother (Bro. John Benedict Judge), were a source of great comfort to the Judge family.

My other brother, Leo, and my sister Anne were indeed fortunate to have made it to New Delhi from Ireland some seven hours before John (Ben) passed away.  May he rest in peace. We were also privileged to have been able to attend the Requiem Mass in Delhi Cathedral and funeral the following day.  We will have some wonderful memories of that occasion.

One aspect that we found very moving was the fact that so many people came up to us before and after the funeral to tell us about the impact that Bro. Judge had made on their lives and/or those of their children.  It was something of a revelation to us to hear witness that this had been the case. We like to think that the good that he did during his years in India, since he first arrived there in 1955, aged 19, will truly be his lasting monument.  He always told us that he was driven by an unswerving purpose to help generations of boys in India to develop their talents through a good grounding in education.  This, he rightly believed, provided the stepping stone to success and independence. He was always rightly proud of those who used those talents to the best possible end.

I was lucky to have visited India on two previous occasions, when my brother was teaching in Salvation High School Dadar and I saw then the impact he had made among the poor boys and their families.  He thoroughly enjoyed his years in Mount Abu and I regret that I did not manage to visit him there.

However, my son, Andrew and daughters, Ciara and Emma, both visited St. Mary's on separate occasions when they travelled in India some years back.

I hope to make amends and visit there with my wife in the next year or so.

We told so many people that John's view always was that he would visit his family in Ireland every three or four years, but that he would then go home to India (his words).

Again, many thanks for your inspirational words.  I would be very pleased if you would pass on our thanks also to all those other Alumni who may have had contact with Bro. Judge over the years.

Every success in your chosen careers.

Kind regards.

Patrick (Paddy) Judge
Dublin, Ireland


Written on behalf of everyone:

Dear Family of Br Judge

I speak for every alumnus of St Mary's, Mount Abu, who had the privilege of studying under Br Judge, in extending our condolences and thanking you for sharing this fine man with us.

“Juggie” was my Principal for 4 years, 1969-1972.  We couldn't call him a father figure because he was more of a big brother (small b).  He enjoyed us, and we enjoyed him.  We ragged him with juvenile taunts and rhymes ("I ate some fudge and I found Br Judge"), and he'd chase us around the field and shout "Da!" as he caught us and punched our arms out.  On his watch the boys and Brothers played practical jokes on each other and we laughed a lot.  These must be cold and quiet days in Abu.  We're sad that our friend has passed on.  We're grateful that it was quick.

The news is still breaking among the Abu alumni community.  Here are reactions from a few boys:

“Stout, ruddy-faced, with a shock of steel-grey hair and always impeccably attired, he personified the brisk, no-nonsense efficiency with which the Christian Brothers ran their institutions. It was under his stewardship that our school took significant steps forward in terms of expansion - but it was his wizardry at advanced mathematics that those who studied under his tutelage will surely remember.  Who else could spin off an equation a yard long the minute he stepped up to the blackboard as easily as whistling a tune?  An unsung genius perhaps was Br Judge, but forever remembered in our hearts.” —Pierre Francis, 1973

“My deepest condolences to each and every Brother and to Brother Judge's family.  To me he was more than what words can express.  An eternal prayer goes out to him each day.  I am today what I am today because of him and all the Brothers who moulded me.  Thank your sir.  Thank you Brother Judge.  We miss you.” —Zarryl Lobo, 1973

“Br J.B. Judge was a truly noble man and I recollect our last meeting with him in Bangalore where his dedication to God and society left you in awe and a wonderful example.  I will offer a mass for his soul.” —Zozden Lobo, 1969

“I was devastated.  Though he gave me my first real pasting with his small leather strap when I did badly in school, I totally respected him and loved the guy.  Every day I hear about another person from my school days passing away ... it makes me feel old and sad about all the times that have gone by.” —Bhairav Trivedi, 1976

Val Noronha