Photo by Alan M. Dumoff
Sister JudithAnn Loschiavo holds her CD, “New Beginnings.” Composing and recording the songs for it helped her cope with recent losses, she says.
Sister JudithAnn Loschiavo, otherwise known as Sister Judy, has been playing guitar for more than 30 years, just about as long as she’s been a Sister of Saint Joseph.
Sister Judy, whose “day job” is teaching first grade at St. Joseph Regional School in Somers Point, already had three CDs of solid music under her belt. It’s all pretty traditional Christian fare: some worship music here, a Christmas song there.
But that was before the fourth CD. This one is special.
Each song has a deep and meaningful impact, not just to Sister Judy but to many others who hear it and have had the words and music touch their hearts and souls.
“New Beginnings” started out as a way for Sister Judy to deal with the grief of losing some important people in her life. The one year anniversary of her father’s passing was in March; the sixth anniversary of her mother’s was on Holy Saturday; and the passing of her close friend Sister Virginia is in June.
“The emotions and the grief really hit me hard in the middle of summer,” explains Sister Judy. “My grief process hit rock bottom.”
Sister explained that it was at that point when God began revealing his path for her to move the healing process forward through her musical talents. “For me, music has always been very healing and God has used that music in whatever genre it might be.”
After spending a lot of time in prayer, reflection and on retreat, Sister Judy put pen to paper and the lyrics began to flow. “It was totally out of my control but in God’s control. I truly believe he’s used music to heal my heart through this process.”
Kit Worton, a longtime friend and owner of Right Touch Studios in Northfield, had collaborated with Sister Judy on her previous CDs. He immediately noticed a difference when developing what would become “New Beginnings.”
“She had come into the studio with four pages of lyrics for one song; talking about her father, talking about her mother, all these personal things. It really helped her get through the whole grieving process,” says Worton. “And that’s what makes good songs.”
Worton could also uderstand the emotion behind the lyrics, experiencing “back-to-back” losses of both his parents, as well as his brother. Working with Sister Judy on this project provided additional healing for him. “It’s not every day that you reflect back on that in a spiritual kind of way. That is special.”
And Kit isn’t the only one. Parishioners at St. Joseph have expressed to Sister Judy how her songs have touched them and helped them in dealing with their own grief. The feedback she’s receiving has convinced her that the Lord is leading her music ministry down a new and exciting path.
“I know that definitely God is leading me in a new direction, using the music to share in a very deep way. Hopefully in the listening process, someone else [dealing with] grief or loss, my story would enable them to realize that they’re not alone. That God is always there for us.”
“New Beginnings” is available for purchase for $15. Proceeds benefit St. Joseph Regional School and the Sisters of St. Joseph in Philadelphia. CDs are available for purchase at the school office, located at 11 Harbor Lane in Somers Point or by calling 609-927-2228.