Prayer Bench Used by the Rev. Mychal Judge Added to 9/11 Memorial Museum Collection

Father Mychal Judge, an FDNY chaplain, smiles brightly for a photo in a formal FDNY outfit including a gold-trimmed white cap with a navy brim..
Father Mychal Judge, FDNY chaplain. Courtesy of the FDNY Family Assistance Unit.

A prayer bench used by the Rev. Mychal Judge, the beloved FDNY chaplain killed on 9/11, has been acquired by and is now part of the Collection of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, the Associated Press reported, citing museum officials.

The bench had belonged to Judge’s twin sister, Dympnia Jessich, and was kept for the last five years at an Episcopal monastery in Rising Sun, Maryland, according to Sister Teresa Irene, a Carmelite nun at the monastery, the AP reported. The prayer bench was kept in a bedroom Judge used, and its leather is worn from where Judge kneeled in prayer, she said.

“It’s worn where his knees would have been,” Sister Teresa Irene told the AP. “It’s his life of prayer.”

Rev. Mychal was a beloved figure in the FDNY and in New York City, his friend and mentee Father Michael Duffy recalled in a StoryCorps interview. Father Duffy was charged with delivering the homily at Rev. Mychal's funeral to an audience of 3,000.

The bench was collected in Maryland and brought back to New York City on Easter Sunday by Amy Weinstein and David Burnhauser of the 9/11 Memorial Museum Collections team, the AP said. The prayer bench will be cataloged and added to the Museum’s online collection, where virtual visitors will be able to see it. Weinstein told the AP she was optimistic that the bench would someday be on display within the Museum. 

“When you look at it you can see how well used it was,” Weinstein told the AP. “Some of the leather is cracked. It’s really very visually powerful, but very quiet and unasssuming also.”

By 9/11 Memorial Staff

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