Stewards of the SNDdeN Charism

By Sister Maria Delaney, SNDdeN, Co-Director in US Office of Sponsored Ministries

In a world of instant communication where circumstances can change in an instant and people can be redirected from one path to another in the blink of an eye, the words “mission integration” take on new meaning. The process of integrating the Mission becomes the root and anchor which ensures that an organization, whether religious, educational, social or corporate, remains true to its original vision and purpose.

Many of our SNDdeN educational and health care ministries worldwide trace their roots deep into the 19th century. As the Sisters of Notre Dame have aged out of many ministries, many dedicated lay professionals have taken our place as stewards of the SNDdeN Charism. To assist them in their preservation of our legacy, we have created many opportunities to instill the Charism, values and Hallmarks of a Notre Dame Learning Community.

In this global community where terrorism and destruction in all forms capture all news cycles, the values that have sustained the Sisters from the time of Napoleon through multiple world and civil wars still resonate throughout our ministries worldwide. The question of what difference we make in our geographical area propels us to do everything in our power to keep our relationships strong.

The strength of our network of Notre Dame colleagues depends upon the connections made among the participants. To this end, every year in the United States and Europe, the Sisters offer day long workshops and retreats and multi-day conferences for administrators, boards and students which provide a solid grounding in our history and philosophy for everyone carrying forward the Notre Dame de Namur Charism.

Recent Meetings and Beyond
In late June 2017,
the US Office of Sponsored Ministries gathered 50 Juniors and Seniors from Notre Dame high schools across the country for a Student Leadership Conference at Emmanuel College in Boston, MA. At this second gathering for young people, the enthusiasm and energy were infectious among them, and groups from different schools instantly intermingled and began to share their specific realities.

Education Mtg Sept 2017 005

In Belmont, Srs. Mary Laxague and Maria Delaney SNDdeN continue the conversation with Drew Henry and Jennifer Khoury.

From July 16 to 19, 2017, the Office of Sponsored Ministries held their third annual conference of US Administrators from Notre Dame schools at Notre Dame High School in Belmont, CA where speakers provided stimulating presentations on:

  • How we weave the “Hallmarks” into our school,
  • Inclusive Just Schools – Are We Serving All of Our Students?
  • How the Challenges of St. Julie’s Times Resonate with Ours Today
  • Educating for Life in the Current Global Situation
  • Energizing New and Re-energizing Veteran Staff in Living the Mission.

iPhone Image EBF42These sessions centered on the importance of insuring that administrators, faculty and staff in our Notre Dame schools resonate with the dynamism of our Charism.

On October 2-3, 2017, Notre Dame schools in the United Kingdom held a conference entitled “The best is still to come,” in Wrightington, England.  Bringing together head-teachers, colleagues and Sisters, the conference reaffirmed for these educators a holistic approach in educating the whole person and preparing students for what they need for life.  This annual meeting opened doors to newness in a future for Notre Dame education in the 21st century.

On October 16, 2017, in Namur, Belgium, the Association des Ecoles Notre Dame (Association of Notre Dame Schools) organized and directed a formation meeting for new directors, teachers and staff in the Notre Dame Schools in Belgium.  Following input sessions and discussions on the charism and educational goals of St. Julie Billiart, these educators toured the Heritage Centre. For the purpose of networking with the schools in Belgium and around the ND world, the participants were delighted to receive a long list of our Notre Dame schools on five continents.

The planning is in process for an International Meeting: Networking FOR MISSION III, scheduled for July 25-28, 2018 to be held in the USA at Emmanuel College, 400 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02115. This Conference is open to “those who minister, with, for, on behalf of or under the name of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur or St. Julie Billiart.” **

The opportunity to connect with other professionals strengthens the ties among the schools and health centers founded by the Sisters and still carrying the Notre Dame name deep into the twenty-first century.

** For further information, please go to or contact Sr. Maria Delaney, SNDdeN ( or Sr. Rita Sturwold (

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Reprinted from Good Works, Volume 13, No. 2, November 2017.

Published in print two times a year and on-line monthly (

To subscribe to a printed edition, send your name and a mailing address to Sr. Anne Stevenson, SNDdeN by mail: 30 Jeffreys Neck Road, Ipswich, MA 01938 or by email: (International subscribers are encouraged to subscribe to this online edition through the WordPress App.)

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