Judith Valente

  • Author, Journalist, Poet. 
  • TV & Radio Producer.
  • Speaker & Retreat Leader. 
  • Benedictine Lay Associate.
  • Environmentalist.


About Judith Valente

Judith Valente is an awarding-winning author, print and broadcast journalist, poet and essayist. 

She is a former staff writer for The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and was for many years an on-air correspondent covering faith and values for Religion & Ethics Newsweekly on national PBS-TV.  She writes for U.S. Catholic and National Catholic Reporter and also has worked for Chicago Public Radio and GLT Radio, both National Public Radio affiliates in Illinois.

She is a sought-after speaker and retreat leader on such subjects as living a more contemplative life, discovering inner wisdom through poetry, and finding meaning in your work. She is a lay associate of the Benedictine monastery Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, KS, which is the subject of her 2013 memoir, Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith, which was chosen by Religion Newswriters Associat
ion as one of the three best spirituality books of that year.

Her book, The Art Of Pausing: Meditations For The Overworked And Overwhelmed won a Best Book Award from the Catholic Press Association.

Her most recent book is How to Live: What The Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community.

She began her work in journalism at the age of 21 as a staff reporter for The Washington Post. She later joined the staff of The Wall Street Journal, reporting from that paper's Chicago and London bureaus. She was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, first in the public service category as part of a team of reporters at The 
Dallas Times Herald  investigating airline safety. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer in the feature writing category for her front page article in The Wall Street Journal chronicling the story of a religiously conservative father caring for his son dying of AIDS. 

Ms. Valente was a regular contributor to the national PBS-TV news program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. She has won numerous broadcast awards for her work on the show. Her work has also appeared on The PBS News Hour. Her reports have also appeared on National Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio where she covered religion, interviewed poets and authors, and was a guest essayist. Ms. Valente is currently a senior correspondent at WGLT radio, an NPR afiliate in central Illinois.

"Judith is compassionate, kind, extremely knowledgeable, well-organized, yet open to the Spirit.  Beautiful messages shared with graciousness and humility."
2018 Monastic Institute 

"Thank you, Judy, for your marvelous leadership. Between your inspirational speaking and the small and large group discussion, it proved to be one of the best experiences I've had in ministry in a long time!"
Retreat participant,
Second Presbyterian Church

Ms. Valente and her husband, Charles Reynard, signing copies of their co-edited book, 20 Poems to Nourish Your Soul.

Ms. Valente speaking at St. Peter's University in New Jersey, where she received her Bachelor's degree in English and Classical Languages.  She holds an MFA in creative writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Left: Ms. Valente reading her poetry at Brewed Awakening Coffeehouse in Westmont, IL. Above: With Sister Thomasita Joann at Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, KS, after receiving photographs of the Monastery's Atchison Blue stained-glass windows for being the keynote speaker at the 2018 annual Monastic Institute. Ms. Valente's new book, How To Live is dedicated to Sister Thomasita. Right: Ms. Valente reading from How to Live at The Book Cellar in Chicago.

Read a fabulous review of How To Live, by Gregory Hillis:

"A few years ago, I sat down with a Trappist monk under a gingko tree in a courtyard of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. We were talking about the spiritual life, and I expressed to him my envy that he, a monk in a contemplative order, had the time and the opportunity to devote himself to long periods of prayer and silence..."