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Ave Maria Press Remembers Judy Cannato, Beloved Author and Friend

May 10, 2011

Entered this life on May 4, 1949

Entered eternal life on May 7, 2011

Mass of Christian Burial: 11 AM Friday, May 13

Online obituary here.

It is with deep sadness but profound gratitude that we at Ave Maria Press and Sorin Books share the news of Judy Cannato’s entrance into eternal life. Judy has touched all of us, as she has so many around the world, with her deep faith, her energy for life, her passion for spiritual vision, and her gentle heart.

We have had the honor of working with Judy for more than ten years and have published her four books:

Quantum Grace Lenten Reflections on Creation and Connectedness (Ave Maria Press, 2003)

Quantum Grace: The Sunday Readings Lenten Reflections on Creation and Connectedness (Ave Maria Press, 2005)

Radical Amazement Contemplative Lessons from Black Holes, Supernovas, and Other Wonders of the Universe (Sorin Books, 2006)

Field of Compassion How the New Cosmology Is Transforming Spiritual Life (Sorin Books, 2010)

Writing in the tradition of Teilhard de Chardin and Thomas Berry, Judy Cannato has shown how modern scientific discoveries demonstrate that at the most fundamental of levels, all life is connected and humankind participates in the unfolding of the universe. Judy aptly expressed her vision and motivation for writing in Radical Amazement:

"My hope is that you will receive this information on a deeper level than the cerebral, that you will take the information and its implications into the core of your being, allowing any remnants of the old divisive paradigm to fall away and a new one to emerge—one that sees connections, affirms life, and transforms the way we live. Or, if you are a person who already sees life primarily in terms of connectedness, my hope is that these reflections will nurture your contemplative spirit as you read and pray with them."

Her work has been praised by notable theologians and spiritual writers, including Diarmuid O’Murchu, Brian Swimme, Joyce Rupp, Barbara Fiand, and many others. Judith Cannato was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on May 4, 1949, to Lucille (Truman) and Don LeMaster. Her sister, Linda, was born two years later. Judy graduated from Valley High in Lucasville and from Ohio University in 1971.

In 1973, she married Phil Cannato, and a year later she became a Catholic at St. Monica’s Church in Portsmouth, Ohio. Judy and Phil have two sons, Philip (married to Nicole) and Douglas (married to PJ). Grandchildren Gabrielle and Kylie are the daughters of PJ and Doug.

She taught English at West Portsmouth High School for three years and held a graduate assistantship at Miami University where she taught English composition and poetry. Judy and Phil moved to Steubenville where she taught English at Steubenville High School. After moving to Mentor, Judy obtained two master’s degrees from John Carroll University: one in education and the other in religious studies. She received a certificate for spiritual directors from the Diocese of Cleveland and also became certified as a mid-life directions consultant.

Judy became an associate of the Congregation of St. Joseph in 1995. Their charism, “that all may be one,” and lived spirituality resonated deeply with her. “The CSJ’s have touched me more than any other religious community,” she said. “I am drawn to its particular charism and want to share life with a community of women who are committed to responding to God in the world.”

From that connection, Judy’s own spiritual path, work as a spiritual director, and writing career evolved. As a spiritual director for Rivers Edge: A Center for Contemplation and Action in Cleveland, she was instrumental in guiding many persons in discovering and deepening their spiritual life. As an author, her work has centered on the relationship between science and spirituality. Judy’s passion for inviting others to live in the sacred dimension of reality took her to many parts of the world for lectures, workshops, and retreats. In 2007, she received a Catholic Press Association Award and in 2010 the Sacred Universe Award.

Judy entered eternal life on May 7, 2011. Her survivors include her husband Phil, her children and grandchildren, her mother Lucille, sister Linda, father-in-law William Cannato, and three brothers-in-law and their wives. She also leaves the sisters and associates of the Congregation of St. Joseph, who have been greatly blessed by her life and who will hold her in grateful memory.

Two reflections from Judy Cannato:

"I marvel not only over the capacity to see, but also for the gift of reflection, the ability to integrate each new vision with all previous experience, to know that I am connected to all that has been, all that is now, and all that is to come. I can choose to live in contemplative fidelity to each moment of radical amazement, knowing that something great is indeed happening in my soul."

From Radical Amazement (p. 11)

"Holy Heart of the Universe, help me to see myself in relation to all that is. Help me to recognize the ways that my energy touches all that is, the ways my habits and words affect all the wholes of which I am a part, and all the parts that make me whole. Empower me, that I may embrace the capacity for self-transcendence as I negotiate the tension between self-preservation and self-adaptation. Allow me to learn from experiences of self-dissolution and enable me to grow in the capacity to live in freedom. Amen."

From Field of Compassion (pp. 39–40)

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