| Sister Mary Jude, a teacher who made a difference
Sister Mary Jude Stockholm, OP
When the Most Rev. Michael C. Barber was ordained and installed as the fifth bishop of Oakland, he thanked three people in particular who had helped bring him to that day: the bishop who baptized him, the archbishop who ordained him a priest, and his eighth-grade teacher.
"You may not realize it but this sister has taught every person in the Diocese of Oakland because she taught me the faith, and I will hand it on to you," the new bishop told those gathered in the cathedral in remarks at the end of the Mass. "In honoring her, I honor all consecrated religious women, all teachers and all catechists in our diocese. Thank you, Sister Mary Jude."
Sister Mary Jude Stockholm, OP, a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, lives in retirement at the convent in San Rafael. She was rehabilitating from an injury and unable to attend the celebration in person.
Next month, the one-time eighth-grader remembered as the go-to altar server for school liturgical activities, will celebrate Mass for the sisters in the convent, and join them for dinner.
It will be the first time since his 1968 graduation from St. John Vianney School in Rancho Cordova that Sister Jude will see the student who went on to become bishop of Oakland.
Sister Jude recalled meeting the bishop's brother, Father Stephen A. Barber, SJ, in San Francisco, some years later, when Father Barber was chaplain at San Quentin Prison and asked to see her.
Sister Jude's teaching career spanned 43 years; she spent 15 as a principal. Her assignments took her to Reno, Stockton and San Rafael; she spent just two years at St. John Vianney.
Her teaching stayed with the bishop. When asked what she hoped her students learned from her, Sister Jude said, "I wanted them to realize that life has responsibilities," she said. "What's important is that those responsibilities have consequences. Whatever you do has responsibilities and consequences."
In her community's sesquicentennial book of biographies, published in 2000, Sister Mary Jude said, "In school, my main goal was to help young people become sensitive adults."
Her biography includes her military service. Before she became a Sister, Sister Jude earned a degree in occupational therapy at San Jose State University, and joined the Army, earning the rank of first lieutenant in the Women's Army Specialty Corps.
But her military service was never a topic of classroom discussion, Sister Jude said.
After her teaching days, Sister Jude became an advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. In 1999, she received the Advocate of the Year award from the Solano Women's Crisis Center in Fairfield.
After moving to the convent, she has continued her volunteer work at nearby Guide Dogs for the Blind, where once a week she worked in the kitchen, serving dinner to students who had come to the San Rafael campus to train with their new dogs. She would socialize with the students, getting to know them and meeting their dogs.
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