Sister Jackie Hudson a fierce advocate for disarmament

jackie_hudsonSister Jacqueline Marie Hudson, OP (formerly Sister Mary Venard) of Poulsbo, Washington died Aug. 3. She was 76 years old and a Dominican sister for 58 years.

Sister Jackie was born in Saginaw, Michigan. She attended St. Mary Elementary and High School in Saginaw. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s in religious education from Aquinas College, and a master’s in music from VanderCook College of Music, Chicago.

Sister Jackie taught music and band at Holy Rosary Academy in Bay City and St. Thomas and St. Alphonsus schools in Grand Rapids. She also taught at St. Francis, Holy Name and Catholic Central. She received several awards for her work in music, piano, choral and instrumental music.

In January 1982, Sister Jackie’s ministry focus changed. Having heard about the dangers of nuclear radiation from Helen Caldicott, M.D. and Rosalie Bertell, Jackie felt compelled to bear this new “burden of knowledge” and to spend the rest of her life working toward disarmament and the end of wars. She ultimately believed that the pursuit of military dominance through nuclear weapons is illegal under international law and U.S. treaties.

In the 1980s, Sister Jackie served on the national board of the National Assembly of Women Religious and was the fifth district contact for Network, a political lobby group for justice concerns. She also served on the Economic Justice Task Force of the Michigan Women’s Commission for the State of Michigan and was a member of that group’s subcommittee on Women on Welfare.

In 1990, she became program coordinator for the Institute for Global Education in Grand Rapids and received its A.J. Muste Peace and Justice Award. Among her other awards and honors was the Paul B. Beeson Award from the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility for symbolically disarming a Minuteman III missile silo in Colorado.

Sister Jackie Hudson was never disappointed or became discouraged when her passion and single-minded focus on the cause of a nuclear-weapons-free world was not greeted with enthusiasm or support. Writing in a Dominican sisters publication several years ago, she reflected on her peace and justice activities. “Will my efforts bring about change in my lifetime? Hard to tell,” she said. “The important thing is that all of us remain faithful.”

Sister Jackie is survived by her brother Francis (Evelyn) Hudson of Midland, Michigan; nieces, nephews, friends and sisters in her Dominican community.

A memorial service for Sister Jackie will be held at Ground Zero Center in Poulsbo, Washington, on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 1:30 p.m.

The Remembering Service for Sister Jackie will be on Thursday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. at Dominican Chapel/Marywood, 2025 East Fulton Street. A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated on Friday, Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. at Dominican Chapel/Marywood. Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery.

Memorials in Sister Jackie Hudson’s name may be made to the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters Health Care Fund.

Related articles:

Jackie Hudson, nun who believed in nuclear disarmament, dies at age 76
Aug. 5, 2011

Peace activist Jackie Hudson dies at age 76
National Catholic Reporter
Aug. 8, 2011