Judith, also known as Jutta, began her life as a wife and mother, and deepened her pursuit of holiness as a wandering hermit after her husband died and her children had grown.
Born to a German aristocratic family, she was married to a noble. She was inspired by St. Elizabeth of Hungary, a contemporary, and heard the Lord call her to follow him. She not only sought to serve God herself, but also led her household to do the same and was known for her support of the poor, in imitation of Elizabeth.
Early in their marriage, her husband thought Judith dressed too simply, and asked her to take on styles more in keeping with the fashions of the upper class. She gradually helped him see the virtue in detachment from material wealth, and he grew in his own faithfulness. He died while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, leaving Judith to raise their family alone.
Many of her children entered monasteries as they matured, and after all had left the household, Judith gave her life to prayer and caring for the poor and sick. She gave everything she had to the poor except for one ragged dress, and went into the streets to beg for food for herself and for others.
Many people who had known her mocked and ridiculed her, but others treated her with reverence because they knew what she had given up. She wanted to separate herself from their praise, so she left and wandered the countryside, walking barefoot and helping those she encountered on her way.
She made her way into Prussia and took up living as a hermit in a ruined building on the shore of a lake. People sought her out for her wisdom, and she was known for having instinctive insight into Scripture. She once said that three things can bring union with God: illness, exile from home, and voluntary poverty.
People who lived nearby reported seeing Judith raised from the ground in prayer, and she received a number of visions. She died of a fever after living in that place for four years, and miracles were reported to have occurred at her grave.
Judith is patron saint of Catholics in Prussia and Germany, and her image is used here with permission from Catholic.org.
St. Judith, you were a faithful wife and mother who gave your life to the poor and sick--pray for us!