Sister Judy Popp in her 47th year helping families make ends meet
In the early seventies, Judy Popp SL spent a year at the Motherhouse, thinking she would return to teaching the following year. Instead, when a social work posi-tion opened up at the nearby Abbey of Gethsemani, she applied. She was hired and hasn’t looked back.
Judy spends an hour in her office three times a week, but the job is not a part-timer. She typically helps around 100 people in a six-month period.
I really do enjoy the work. I enjoy the people, talking to them. It really makes me appreciate what I’ve got, as well as the fact that we can help them.Judy Popp SL
Sometimes, Brother Christian at the monastery calls to ask if she’ll drive out to check on someone. Recently, two people needed assistance, one with rent and the other with rent, utilities and insurance. She keeps boxes of food in her garage to deliver to those in need. Often, leftovers from the Motherhouse dining room will go to a family. Judy says it’s becoming harder for people to get by as the federal government cuts back on food stamps.
Many of her clients are single mothers who don’t receive child support. One woman is raising four children, ages 10, 12, 14 and 16. Another, whose son died a year ago, is raising three girls.
Judy is helping one unemployed man pay for repairs on his father’s old house. As she says of the people she helps, “They just can’t quite make it.”
“I’ll probably keep at it for five more years, until I’m 85.”