Sister Judy Beiswanger is the director of faith formation for the Immaculate Conception Parish in East Aurora, New York, where she conducts many workshops for parents and students. She says it is important to teach the whole family about faith. People realize that her duties are many, and her contributions and achievements are countless. What most people don’t realize, however, is that Sister Judy has also earned her black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Choi Kwon Do. Having a black belt means a great deal to her.
Throughout her life, Sister Judy has set goals for herself, met challenges, exercised, and tried to remain healthy. At age 55, she began something new, Tae Kwon Do.
“Many years ago, I set a goal for myself: to work toward a black belt,” she says. “I am happy to say that after many years of hard work, I have achieved that goal. It has taken hard work, determination, dedication and support from instructors, family, community and friends.”
A black belt symbolizes the physical aspects of kicking, punching, sparing and other forms of self-defense. It also symbolizes the internal journey each martial artist must work on throughout life. It is a personal and spiritual journey which affects all aspects of one’s life. “When we go within our being, we find God,” Sister Judy explains.
A person with a black belt learns to go to the heart to find strength, courage and peace. Positive power comes from within. “It means we never give up,” she says. “The principles of honesty, humility, gentleness, perseverance, self-control and unbreakable spirit have a great meaning to me as a Franciscan woman. We strive to live these principles each day.”
Part of Sister Judy’s ministry is to empower men, women, children and, yes, our sisters to be safe through self-defense seminars. It’s nice to have her on our side!