Judge, Thomas Augustine
JUDGE, THOMAS AUGUSTINE
Founder of the Missionary Cenacle; b. Boston, Mass., Aug. 23, 1868; d. Washington, D.C., Nov. 23, 1933. His parents were Irish immigrants. Following education in the public schools, he entered the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Fathers) at Philadelphia, Pa., and was ordained there in 1899. Early experience among Latin immigrants and in preaching parish missions awakened his interest in the problem of defections from the Church. To assist the clergy in dealing with this matter, he organized a lay apostolate in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1909. These lay missionaries, later known as the Missionary Cenacle Apostolate, were successfully established in numerous parishes in New England and the Middle Atlantic states. In 1961 they numbered approximately 2,000 members.
Judge was appointed in 1915 as superior of the Vincentian missions in the Diocese of Mobile, centered at St. Mary's Mission House, Opelika, Ala. From the lay apostles who joined him in this mission field there evolved two new religious congregations. The missionary servants of the most holy trinity, for priests and brothers, received papal approbation in 1929; the missionary servants of the most blessed trinity was approved in 1932. These congregations, and their lay missionary associates, known collectively as the Missionary Cenacle, were directed by their founder, who was relieved of his office as superior at Opelika, from 1920 until his death. In 1923 Bp. George J. Caruana of San Juan requested that foundations be established in Puerto Rico. Judge assigned all who could be spared to those missions and personally led them in their initial work. This experience caused him thereafter to give continuing attention to the needs of the Church in Latin America.
Bibliography: j. v. benson, The Judgments of Father Judge (New York 1934). a. k. walker, Russell County in Retrospect (Richmond, Va. 1950). a. m. kraut, "Thomas Judge and the Catholic Laity in the Rural South," U.S. Catholic Historian 8 (1989) 187–98. d. f. o'connor, "America's Pioneer in the Lay Apostolate: Father Thomas Augustine Judge, C.M. (1869–1933)," Profiles in American Sanctity, ed. j. n. tylenda (Chicago 1982). j. m blackwell, The Pastoral Ministry of Thomas Augustine Judge and His Role in the Development of a Catholic Lay Apostolate in the United States (Washington, D.C. 1974).