Mangalore’s veteran social worker dies
By Matters India Reporter
Mangalore: Judith Mascarenhas, a veteran social worker and former mayor of the Mangalore City Corporation, died on January 9. She was 85.
She fought for the rights of poor, leprosy patients, drug users and the downtrodden, yet never compromised her Catholic faith and never missed her daily mass.
Mascarenhas was born in a Catholic family in Mangalore to Aloysius, a Konkani poet, and Magdalene, a teacher. Four of her sisters are Catholics nuns in different congregations. She remained unmarried and devoted her life to social service.
Besides founding Preethi Neethi (Love and Justice) Trust, an NGO involved in the rehabilitation of the leprosy patients and their families, Mascarenhas also served as the founding member of the Link Anti Addiction Citizens Committee that runs a 50 bedded treatment center for alcohol and drug dependents in Mangalore.
She also excelled as a politician and served as mayor and corporator for several years. Mascarenhas donated her house and property to the Vincent De Paul Society to use for humanitarian purposes. She was an active member of the society.
As a Catholic lay leader, she has also served as the director of the Mangalore Catholic Cooperative Bank, and director of the Canara Catholic Co-operative Educational Society.
In the field of journalism, she served as editor of Konkani Youth Monthly ‘Yuvak’, editor and publisher of Kannada bi-monthly ‘Deepika’ and editor and publisher of Kannada monthly ‘Nagara Deepika’ for 15 years each.
For her achievements in various fields especially in social work, she was awarded the district Rajyotsava Award in 2015, Lifetime Achievement Award by St Agnes College Alumnae Association, social service honour a DK Kannada Sahitya Sammelana and many more.
Among her other achievements, Judith represented Catholic women of India at the International Catholic Women’s meet in Rome.
Father Manohar M DSouza of the St. Anne’s Friary noted that Mascarenhas was an active member of Secular Francisco Order and had served the Order in different capacities as the national president from 1995-1998 and as a’s a Treasurer, Secretary and President at the diocese level.
She leaves behind her siblings Benedict, Sr Jose Marie, Sr Terese, Sr Noelline and Sr Olive. Her funeral will be held at St. Sebastian’s Church, Mangalore on January 11.