Category Archives: Good Works

UNE SAINTE POUR NOTRE TEMPS

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GW-photo-4a - CopyLa vision de Compiègne, une mosaïque créée par Sr. Vincent de Paul Curran, avec l’assistance d’autres SNDdeN, à Ipswich, MA, USA.

Par Sr. Anne Stevenson, SNDdeN

Pendant des années, les Sœurs de Notre-Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) et le personnel de nos écoles et institutions ont prié pour que la Bienheureuse Julie, béatifiée le 13 mai 1906 par le pape Pie X, soit canonisée! Beaucoup d’ami.e.s et de collaborateurs/collaboratrices se souviennent de ces années d’attente pour que Ste Julie Billiart (1751-1816) soit reconnue comme une sainte par l’Église! Enfin, le 22 juin 1969, l’Église a reconnu la sainteté de Julie Billiart, notre fondatrice, dans la célébration de sa canonisation au Vatican à Rome. Le Pape Paul VI a déclaré au monde entier la sainteté de vie de Julie et son héritage de faire connaître la bonté de Dieu, à travers sa congrégation religieuse apostolique et tous les groupes qui la revendiquent en tant que fondatrice. Aujourd’hui, les sœurs, les Associé.e.s, les Volontaires de la Mission, célèbrent 50 ans de sainteté de Julie, avec nos collègues et partenaires dans nos écoles, hautes écoles, universités, hôpitaux, cliniques, centres, paroisses et organismes sociaux.

La sainteté, décrite par le pape Paul VI lors de la canonisation, est le “drame d’amour entre Dieu et l’âme humaine… un aperçu de la merveilleuse action de Dieu dans une vie humaine privilégiée.” Marie-Rose-Julie Billiart entendit les murmures de Dieu en elle et dans les signes de son temps, dans son pays dévasté par la guerre, la violence et l’ignorance.

Au lendemain de la Révolution française, à Cuvilly, un petit village au nord de Paris, Julie entend l’appel de Dieu dans

  • les cris de l’Eglise, séparée par des divisions et une lutte interne,
  • les gémissements de personnes vivant en pauvreté: affamées, sans abri et dévastées par la guerre et les bouleversements politiques,
  • les sanglots d’une société en crise, avec de nombreux réfugiés et orphelins,
  • la plaidoirie des femmes et des enfants, privés de moyens appropriés pour la vie humaine et la dignité.

Congrégation “marquée par la Croix”

Un Dieu aimant et fidèle a conduit Julie à travers 23 années de paralysie physique et de souffrances psychologiques. Sur son lit de malade, sa vie de prière s’approfondit; sa sensibilité d’esprit l’harmonisait avec la voix intérieure de Dieu. À peine capable de parler ou de se déplacer, Julie a eu une vision de femmes autour d’une croix et a entendu Jésus lui dire: «Ce sont les filles que je vous donnerai dans un institut qui sera marqué par ma croix.” Cette vision de Compiègne a guidé Julie dans la fondation de sa congrégation religieuse en 1804, avec Françoise Blin de Bourdon, et dans l’acceptation de membres.

Plus tard dans une autre vision le 2 février 1806, Julie fut élevée du sol devant ses sœurs et fit l’expérience d’une lumière de révélation, un appel à servir à travers le monde. Julie a attiré beaucoup de jeunes femmes à la suivre dans un ministère d’éducation, en particulier pour les orphelines et celles qui vivent en pauvreté.

Nous reconnaissons Ste Julie comme une sainte pour notre époque! Son impact et son Influence traversent les océans et les continents dans une mission mondiale aujourd’hui!

Depuis 215 ans, nos sœurs sur cinq continents sont chez elles parmi des gens de nombreuses cultures, en partageant leurs dons, ce qu’elles ont appris et leur expérience à travers une variété de ministères, avec un accent particulier sur l’éducation. Sainte Julie était une femme de l’époque moderne qui a pris courage par l’action. En ouvrant des écoles pour éduquer les enfants pour la vie, elle a fait face aux inégalités de son temps, surtout pour les jeunes filles et « les personnes appauvries dans un monde marqué par des divisions et des inégalités croissantes» (APPELS: Chapitre général 2014, p. 5).

Elle voyait l’éducation pour tout le monde comme un droit humain fondamental et l’enseignement comme “la plus grande œuvre sur la terre.”

Elle apportait la joie et l’espoir dans la bonté de Dieu à une génération déprimée et défavorisée en éduquant des enfants vulnérables qui criaient pour la survie en France et en Belgique. Elle a démontré la puissance et la présence d’un Dieu aimant et attentionné dans sa personne et chez les femmes qui la suivaient. Julie envoyait ses sœurs pour tendre la main aux gens «dans les lieux les plus abandonnés”, pour leur donner des outils pour la vie, pour démanteler les systèmes injustes et pour alléger la pauvreté par l’éducation. Nous célébrons la longue file des Sœurs de Notre-Dame de Namur.

50e anniversaire

Le 50e anniversaire de la canonisation de sainte Julie nous appelle à célébrer nos origines et notre vie en mission. Il nous appelle à reconnaître le don extraordinaire de Julie à l’Église et à notre monde. Elle est VIVANTE aujourd’hui! Cet anniversaire célèbre la bonté de Dieu dans nos vies et dans ceux qui nous accompagnent le long du chemin.

Il nous met au défi d’inviter plus de femmes à un engagement de vie dans notre communauté religieuse comme SNDdeN: femmes avec le même courage et la même confiance que les femmes belges qui ont quitté foyer et pays pour apporter l’Evangile à différentes parties de notre monde. En cette ère de crise mondiale, cet anniversaire nous convoque à étendre la vie intérieure et la spiritualité de Julie à un nombre croissant d’Associé.e.s, Volontaires de la Mission, collègues et partenaires de Notre-Dame de Namur. Dans sa mission, Sainte Julie nous entraîne, en nous montrant que l’éducation est notre plus fort outil pour surmonter ces forces

Cette sainte pour notre temps nous interpelle aujourd’hui, pour une autre génération en crise mondiale: faire connaître la bonté de Dieu et apporter courage, espoir et guérison.

A Saint for Our Times!

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GW-photo-4a - CopyThe Vision of Compiègne, a painting by Sr. Janet Mullen, SNDdeN, in Ipswich, MA USA.

By Sr. Anne Stevenson, SNDdeN

For years, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) and personnel in our schools and institutions prayed that Blessed Julie, beatified on May 13, 1906 by Pope Pius X, would be canonized! Many friends and collaborators remember those years of waiting for St. Julie Billiart (1751-1816) to be recognized by the Church as a Saint! At last on June 22, 1969, the Church recognized the Sainthood of Julie Billiart, our Foundress, in the celebration of her Canonization at the Vatican in Rome. Pope Paul VI declared to all the world Julie’s holiness of life and her legacy of making known God’s goodness, through her apostolic
religious Congregation and all groups who claim her as Foundress. Today, Sisters, Associates, Mission, Volunteers, celebrate Julie’s 50 Years of Sainthood, with our co-workers and partners in our schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, clinics, centers, parishes and social agencies.

Saintliness, described by Pope Paul VI at the Canonization, is the “drama of love between God and the human soul…a glimpse of the marvelous action of God in a privileged human life.” Marie-Rose-Julie Billiart heard the whisperings of God within her, and in the signs of her times, in her country devastated by war, violence and ignorance.

In the aftermath of the French Revolution, in Cuvilly, a small village north of Paris, Julie heard God’s call in the:

  • cries of the Church, separated by divisions and internal struggle,
  • groans of people living in poverty: hungry, homeless and devastated by war and political upheavals,
  • sobs of a society in crisis, with multiple refugees and orphans,
  • pleading of women and children, deprived of appropriate means for human life and dignity.

Congregation “Marked by the Cross”

A loving and faithful God carried Julie through 23 years of physical paralysis and psychological sufferings. On her sickbed, her prayer life deepened; her sensitivity of spirit attuned her to the inner voice of God. Scarcely able to talk or move about, Julie saw a vision of women around a cross and heard Jesus words to her: “These are the daughters that I will give you in an Institute, which will be marked by my cross.”

This vision at Compiègne guided Julie in founding her religious Congregation in 1804,
with Françoise Blin de Bourdon, and in accepting members. Later in another vision on February 2, 1806, Julie was raised from the floor before her Sisters and experienced a Light of Revelation, a call to serve throughout the world. Julie attracted many young women to follow her in a ministry of education, especially for orphans and those living in poverty.

We recognize St. Julie as a Saint for our times! Her impact and influence crosses oceans and continents in a Global Mission today!

For 215 years, our Sisters on five continents have been at home among people of many cultures and sharing their gifts, learning and experience through a variety of ministries,
with a particular focus on education. St. Julie was a woman of the modern era who took courage through action. By opening schools to educate children for life, she faced the inequalities of her time, especially for young girls and “those made poor in a world marked by increasing divisions and inequalities” (CALLS: 2014 General Chapter, p. 5). She saw education for everyone as a basic human right, and teaching as the “greatest work on earth.”

She brought joy and hope in the goodness of God to a depressed and deprived generation by educating vulnerable children crying out for survival in France and Belgium. She demonstrated the power and presence of a loving and caring God in her person and in the women who followed her. Julie sent her Sisters to reach out to people “in the most abandoned places,” to give them tools for life, to dismantle unjust systems and to alleviate poverty through education. We celebrate the long line of Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

50th Anniversary

The 50th Anniversary of St. Julie’s Canonization calls us to celebrate our origins, and our life in mission. It calls us to recognize the extraordinary gift of Julie to the Church and our world. She is ALIVE today! This anniversary celebrates God’s goodness in our lives and in those who accompany us along the way. It challenges us to invite more women to a life commitment in our religious community as SNDdeN: women with the same courage and confidence as the Belgian women who left home and country to bring the Gospel to different parts of our world. In this era of global crisis, this anniversary summons us to extend Julie’s inner life and spirituality to a growing number of Notre Dame de Namur Associates, Mission Volunteers, Co-Workers, and Partners. In her Mission, St. Julie leads us on, showing us that education is our strongest tool in surmounting these forces.

This Saint for our Times challenges us today, for another generation in global crisis: to make known God’s goodness and bring courage, hope and healing.

 

VOLONTAIRES DE LA MISSION NOTRE-DAME – AMERICORPS : COLLABORATEURS ET COLLABORATRICES DANS L’EDUCATION

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NDMVLes Volontaires de la mission apprécient les causeries fondamentales et les sessions de la Conférence de formation.

Par Adrienne Andrews, directrice exécutive de NDMV, Jackie Simon, directrice associée de NDMV et sœur Teresa Anyabuike, SNDdeN

L’organisation « Volontaires de la mission Notre-Dame» (NDMV) célèbre ses 27 ans en tant que ministère national des Sœurs de Notre-Dame de Namur (SNDdeN), en engageant des personnes de tous horizons. Dans la tradition SNDdeN, les volontaires renforcent l’éducation dans «les lieux les plus abandonnés» et “enseignent aux gens ce qu’ils doivent savoir pour la vie.” Le NDMV travaille en étroite collaboration avec les sœurs du monde entier pour élargir leur portée et inviter d’autres à un service transformant. Pour permettre plus de croissance, NDMV s’associe à AmeriCorps, une agence fédérale qui encourage le service et le volontariat à travers les États-Unis. En 2018, notre réseau comptait plus de 5 000 anciens membres du NDMV-AmeriCorps et 800 000 familles touchées par nos membres du NDMV-AmeriCorps.

À l’heure actuelle, le NDMV compte 450 Volontaires AmeriCorps en service à temps plein par équipes dans 25 villes américaines: à l’est, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphie et Apopka; à l’ouest, Los Angeles, San Francisco et Seattle; dans les petites villes, comme Boulder, Colorado, Cincinnati et Ohio du nord-est et Thoreau, Nouveau-Mexique. Les membres du NDMV-AmeriCorps servent dans des écoles, des centres communautaires, des programmes parascolaires et des programmes d’éducation familiale, et ils soutiennent des initiatives d’éducation par le biais d’instruction en petits groupes et en tête-à-tête. Ils agissent comme assistants de classe, instructeurs de citoyenneté pour des immigrants, et coordinateurs de l’éducation environnementale, allant des quartiers urbains sous-financés aux groupes de travailleurs agricoles migrants. Cet engagement de NDMV assure l’accès à l’éducation pour que chaque personne atteigne son plein potentiel donné par Dieu.

Initiative d’Haïti

Le service NDMV aux États-Unis prend en charge plusieurs initiatives SNDdeN à l’étranger. La Boulangerie Notre-Dame, une boulangerie dirigée par une communauté en Haïti, est le projet le plus récent. La boulangerie fournit des emplois, ainsi que l’accès à l’éducation, dans la tradition NDMV. Les enfants des boulangers reçoivent des bourses pour aller à l’école; les travailleurs de la boulangerie acquièrent de nouvelles compétences, de l’anglais aux pratiques des affaires.

NDMV1Comité exécutif : Emily Bernstein (assistante du programme), Josephine Nannozi (gestionnaire financière), Jackie Simon (directrice associée), Adrienne Andrews (directrice exécutive) et Vincent Lui (assistant financier).

CONFÉRENCE DU MILIEU DE L’ANNÉE: «DES PIERRES D’ESPOIR, DES ONDES DE CHANGEMENT»

En février 2019, 280 membres du NDMV-AmeriCorps ont rejoint le personnel, des orateurs et oratrices et 25 SNDdeN à Baltimore, MD pour la Conférence de formation au milieu de l’année. Les Volontaires ont partagé avec les SNDdeN leurs expériences, valeurs communes et défis similaires. Ils ont été instruits sur la mission SNDdeN aux États-Unis et sur la riche expérience des sœurs. Ils ont assisté à des ateliers conçus pour leur fournir de nouvelles compétences afin d’améliorer leur capacité à servir leurs communautés, et apprécié la chance de former des réseaux avec des gens d’autres villes.

Les membres ont eu l’occasion d’entendre des conférenciers fondamentaux inspirants: Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, auteure de «Dead Man Walking» (l’homme mort qui marche), a partagé son unique expérience avec des condamnés à mort et dans notre société marginalisée. Soeur Helen a réveillé la conscience des participant.e.s en citant l’importance de la dignité et du caractère sacré de chaque personne, la nécessité de parler pour les sans-voix dans ce pays, et de contester les torts dans notre société en plaidant pour la paix et la justice.

Ronald Smith, formateur en non-violence, a utilisé ses expériences de vie dynamiques, d’un joueur de basket professionnel à un détenu en prison, et maintenant à la justice sociale et au service communautaire. Il a interpellé les Volontaires de la mission à croire en eux-mêmes et à déterminer leur propre avenir. Il les a encouragés à être motivés par l’amour pour avoir un impact positif pour le changement. Un service axé sur l’amour parle de vie à ceux que nous rencontrons chaque jour. Nous faisons tellement mieux ensemble.

Un ou une Volontaire a remarqué :
«Nous apprenons tellement ! J’ai entendu Sr. Helen Prejean, participé à un atelier sur l’Holocauste, mené par quelqu’un qui l’a vécu, appris le Tai Chi, et parlé de la pédagogie d’un enseignant brésilien (Paulo Freire). En quel autre endroit cela peut-il se passer ? »

L’année de service NDMV offre aux personnes de rares possibilités de servir des communautés et d’acquérir de l’expérience professionnelle. Les Volontaires de la mission entrent dans le programme parce qu’ils croient que l’éducation a le pouvoir de transformer les communautés; cependant, ils quittent l’année de service en étant eux-mêmes transformés, avec un nouvel engagement pour la justice. Ils changent des vies en faisant connaître la bonté de Dieu par l’action.

Notre Dame Mission Volunteers-AmeriCorps: Co-Workers in Education

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NDMVMission Volunteers appreciate the keynote talks and sessions at the Training Conference

By Adrienne Andrews, NDMV Executive Director, Jackie Simon, NDMV Associate Director and Sister Teresa Anyabuike, SNDdeN

Notre Dame Mission Volunteers (NDMV) is celebrating 27 years as a national ministry of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN), engaging individuals of all backgrounds. In the SNDdeN tradition, the Volunteers strengthen education in “the most abandoned places” and “teach people what they need to know for life.” NDMV works closely with Sisters worldwide to expand outreach and invite others into transformative service. To enable more growth, NDMV partners with AmeriCorps, a federal agency which encourages service and volunteerism across the USA.

By 2018, our network included over 5,000 NDMV-AmeriCorps alums and 800,000 families impacted by our NDMV-AmeriCorps members. At present, NDMV has 450 AmeriCorps Volunteers ministering full-time in teams in 25 USA cities: in the east, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Apopka; on the west, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle; in smaller cities, like Boulder, Colorado, Cincinnati and Northeast Ohio, and Thoreau, New Mexico.

NDMV-AmeriCorps members serve in schools, community centers, after-school programs, and family education programs, and support education initiatives through small group and one-on-one instruction. They act as classroom assistants, GED citizenship instructors, and environmental education coordinators, ranging from under-resourced urban neighborhoods to migrant farmworker groups. This commitment of NDMV ensures access to education for each person to reach a full God-given potential.

Haiti Initiative

NDMV service in the USA supports multiple SNDdeN initiatives overseas. Boulangerie Notre Dame, a community-led bakery in Haiti, is the most recent project. The bakery provides jobs, as well as access to education, in NDMV tradition. Children of bakery workers receive scholarships to attend school; the bakery workers learn new skills, from English to business practices.

NDMV1Executive Committee: Emily Bernstein (Program Assistant), Josephine Nannozi (Finance Manager), Jackie Simon (Associate Director), Adrienne Andrews (Executive Director), and Vincent Lui (Finance Assistant). All NDMV photos in this edition by John Rasmussen, former Mission Volunteer

Midyear Conference: “Stones of Hope Ripples of Change”

In February 2019, 280 NDMV-AmeriCorps members joined staff, presenters, and 25 SNDdeN in Baltimore, MD for the Midyear Training Conference. Volunteers shared with SNDdeN their experiences, common values, and similar challenges. They learned about the SNDdeN Mission in the USA and the rich experiences of the Sisters.

They attended workshops designed to provide them with new skills to improve their ability to serve their communities, and enjoyed the chance to network with people from other cities. Members had the opportunity to hear from inspiring keynote presenters: Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of “Dead Man Walking,” shared her unique experiences with persons on death row and in our marginalized society. Sr. Helen awakened the consciousness of participants in citing the importance of the dignity and sacredness of each person, the need to speak for the voiceless in this nation, and to challenge the wrongs in our society in advocating for peace and justice.

Ronald Smith, Nonviolence Trainer, used his dynamic life experiences from a professional basketball player to a prison inmate, and now to social justice and community service. He challenged Mission Volunteers to believe in themselves and to determine their own future. He encouraged them to be driven by love to make a positive impact for change. Love-driven service speaks life into those we meet every day. We do so much better together.

One Volunteer remarked: “We learn so much! I heard from Sr. Helen Prejean, attended a workshop on the Holocaust by someone who lived through it, learned Tai Chi, and talked about a Brazilian teacher’s [Paulo Freire] pedagogy. Where else can that happen?”

The NDMV service year offers rare opportunities for individuals to serve communities and gain professional experience. Mission Volunteers enter the program because they believe that education has the power to transform communities; however, they leave the service year transformed themselves, with a new commitment to justice. They change lives in making known God’s goodness through action.

Sisters Respond to Local Needs in Glasgow

by Sister Mary Ross, SNDdeN

Parents, etc. is a drop-in centre, free of charge, for parents and other concerned family members seeking advice about children and young people. Currently, three Sisters staff GWNov2015-8the Centre: Sisters Kate Mulligan and Mary Ross, SNDdeN, psychologists, retired from active practice and Sister Theresa McAllister, SNDdeN, former administrator and teacher, returned from serving twenty-two years in Nigeria. Mrs. Margaret Bland, Mrs. Moira Berrie, and Mrs. Pat Hay, retired psychologist, join the Sisters in this family counseling service  for parents. Over ten years ago, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) leased this small shop in Glasgow by using a fund designated to develop new ministries for our Sisters in Scotland, with money provided from the sale of stained-glass windows from Dowanhill College. In this two-room Centre, parents and other relatives bring a wide variety of family concerns. Individuals find tea and coffee in a welcoming space and privacy in a room provided for dialogue and counseling.

Critical Issues
One mother whose husband deserted her when her children were  very young, is now struggling with her teenagers. Her son, a  school drop-out, has become very defiant, and possibly on drugs. She expresses relief “to be able to talk without being judged.” Another mother describes her experience when a friend told her to call the Centre. She recounts: “I was very cynical and didn’t think I needed help.  Parents etc. is one of the best doors that I have opened…Sister Theresa made me a cup of tea and then I met with Sister Mary in another room.  I said: ‘My husband left me but I’m fine’ and then I burst into tears. My self-esteem and confidence were very low. A listening ear helped me get out my anger, frustrations and disappointment.” With two sons and an ex-husband, this mother has always faced new problems. Parents etc. enabled her to realise what a good parent she is and has been. Not only the warm welcome, a cup of hot tea, tissues on the table and a willing ‘pair of ears’ but also a little understanding are remedies for reaching the minds and hearts of those in need.

GWNov2015-9aParents and grand-parents spread the word about this Centre, which provides a hands-on approach to what parents can do that is very helpful. Another mother said: “I just walked in off the street and I was welcomed warmly. My stressful problem was something outside of myself, without any control. In trying to resolve my child’s problem at school, I was knocking my head against a brick wall until I met with Sr. Kate.”

Grandmothers come to tell about daughters with drug and alcohol addictions. They seek advice and reassurance as they give full-time care to their grand-children. They experience significant changes in their daily lives and search for advice and counsel.

The Sisters and lay staff know that it is sometimes necessary to access other agencies. Volunteer staff at the Centre supplies necessary information and prepares parents to work with other professionals. These agencies often have long waiting lists. So the speedy support offered by our Centre is a temporary solution.

GWNov2015-9bEach year, a variety of fundraising activities helps to cover essential costs including the property lease, electricity, water, phones and necessary materials. Local people and many Sisters support this ministry in different ways. Some parents help with a Christmas Fair, and are happy to participate in this effort to fund this drop-in centre. Parents etc. offers a friendly, nonthreatening atmosphere and gives assurance of privacy and confidentiality. In providing a listening ear and a non-judgmental approach for people in this city community, the Sisters in Glasgow are strengthening family bonds by this ministry for those facing “critical issues of our time…and other local issues.” (2014 General Chapter Calls)

Reprinted with permission from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, “Sisters Respond to Local Needs in Glasgow” by Sister Mary Ross, SNDdeN, Good Works, November 2015, pp. 8-9.

GW Nov 2015 Sisters Respond to Local Needs in Glasgow.pdf

Good Works Archives

 

Action for Change in a New Era

By Sisters Phyllis Cook and Lucy Musembi, SNDdeN

Notre-Dame-Goes-to-KenyaNotre Dame in Kenya celebrates a Golden Jubilee (1965-2015), a time of gratitude for the gifts of fifty years and hope for a new future! When the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) arrived in Kenya in 1965, education was considered a priority for the newly independent nation. Full of hopeful expectation, the country faced dramatic changes. In educating the young, the Sisters contributed much to the changing environment in the early years and throughout these fifty years.

Today in 2015, Kenya has developed enormously and is becoming gradually a developed country, despite many internal problems. Aware of increasing violence, based on discrimination within our global reality, the Sisters in the Kenya Unit realise the need to facilitate education for change. Technology has led to growth in many areas, even in the financial realm. However, the economic gap between the rich and those living in poverty increases every day.

Sisters-in-Kenya-Unit-opened-the-Jubilee-YearJubilee Gift of Growth
As educators, the Sisters are experiencing a call for personal, communal and societal transformation, leading to tolerance, justice and peace. During the Church’s Year of Consecrated Life, they are beginning the next chapter of life with the entire Notre Dame Congregation. Multiple blessings emanate from a religious congregation which is international. During Notre Dame’s fifty-years in Kenya, Sisters from Congo, Japan, Nigeria, United Kingdom (UK), and USA have served in various ministries for extended periods of time. Presently, twenty-one professed Sisters carry on the legacy of the Kenya Unit. Fourteen Sisters are Kenyans. Inspired by the spirit of St. Julie, alive in the communities and ministries of Sisters, ten young women are currently discerning entrance into our Congregation.

Sr.-Maximilla-Matuba..Notre Dame Owned Ministry
Rooted in Kenyan life, the Sisters yearn for ministries on Notre Dame owned land. Today Malava, in Kakamega Diocese, has a flourishing school opened in January 2010 with a small class of 3 year olds who are now in Class 3. The school continues to grow in modern, well-equipped classrooms. A new building is almost ready to accommodate a full elementary school with classes from Grades 1 to 8.

The Sisters’ ministries cross the whole range of education, not only in schools but also in the wider sense of being with people as they strive for self-reliance. A strong focus on justice and peace calls the Sisters to greater awareness of our world in crisis and to action for change in a new era. As Kenya still reels from the Garissa University attack, the Sisters look forward to acting on principles of justice and peace in their ministries among the people and in their own lives.

Sr-Mary-and-Fr-HansBeginnings in Collaboration
The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have always collaborated with the Church, religious congregations and local communities in their ministries in Kenya. The first five Sisters brought St. Julie Billiart’s living charism by proclaiming the goodness of God in small communities and expanding ministries. They began teaching at St. Mary’s Girls’ Secondary School and St. Lawrence’s Teacher Training College in Egoji. Each year, more Sisters arrived. Both primary and secondary teachers-in-training profited from the Sisters’ expertise and experience in several places, including Eregi Teachers’ Training College in Western Kenya and Kenyatta University College near Nairobi. In catechetical teams and as parish ministers, the Sisters helped to teach new methods in religious education at all levels across the country. The Sisters opened schools in the dioceses of Meru, Kakamega and Lodwar. They knew that the schools, once established, would be given to local Religious Congregations. Bishop Sulumeti Girls’ Secondary School in Kakamega is one of these schools. At the invitation of the Bishop, Sisters spent twelve years opening and grounding students in a solid education. Recently, one SNDdeN spent five years on the staff of this school which educates today over 900 young women. Two alumnae are Notre Dame Sisters who continue to spread God’s goodness.

From the beginning, the Sisters networked closely with local Congregations, and helped to establish the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya. SNDdeN contributed to formation programs for seminarians and other women religious. Serving in very poor areas of Nairobi and Kisumu, the Sisters collaborated with the Mill Hill Fathers in assisting local communities to move towards a better quality of life.

Music-and-choirsChildren Living with Disabilities
In different towns /cities, our Sisters have educated disabled children. Several Sisters joined the staff at St. Lucy’s School for the Blind at Egoji. Others worked with children living with disabilities in the Challenge Program in Nairobi. For ten years, St. Julie’s Centre for Disabled Children in Malava gave needed support for educating those in need. Today, the fruits of this ministry remain visible. Our Sisters are not strangers to life in the desert. One Sister became the headmistress in Marsabit Girls’ Secondary School, a new and struggling school. Three Sisters went to Lodwar where they founded a Girls’ Primary School. One of them travelled the desert roads throughout Turkana strengthening religious education in the diocese and in helping the women become more self-sufficient. Two Kenyan Sisters first met our Sisters in Lodwar. The Sisters hope that St. Julie’s daughters will again minister in the future among the Turkana people.

Srs.-Jane-and-EvalyneOngoing Life in Mission
Life in Mission relies on continuing education of the Sisters since the beginning of the Kenya Unit. Through study, the Sisters become more caring, professional teachers, knowledgeable and astute stewards of resources, effective communicators, versatile and compassionate social ministers. Education prepares Sisters for the future and moves systems to action for transformation in society and change in our Church and world.


Source: Good Works, June 2015. pp. 4-7. Reprinted with permission. GWJune2015

A New Generation of Women at Notre Dame Academy (1853-2015)

By Sister Barbara Barry, SNDdeN, alumna ’69, former NDA President (1996-2014)

The year was 1853. In Venice, Italy, Verdi’s La Traviata premiered, while in the USA, the first horse-drawn fire engine made its debut in Cincinnati, Gail Borden patented his process for condensed milk, the first potato chips were prepared, Steinway pianos were founded in New York, Antoinette Blackwell was the first woman to be ordained a minister. On Lancaster Street in Boston, Massachusetts, the Boston Academy of Notre Dame opened its doors to educate young women. Now, 162 years later, the school continues, in the tradition of our early Belgian Sisters to educate girls, from grades 7 through 12, in faith, character, and scholarship, by following St. Julie Billiart’s inspiration to “train up strong women.”

Mary-Janice-Bartolo,-SNDdeNThe original academy outgrew four campuses in Boston: Lancaster Street, Berkeley Street, the Fenway [now Emmanuel College] and Granby Street. In 1954, the Boston Academy merged with Notre Dame Academy (NDA) in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston and in 1965,the school relocated to Hingham, Massachusetts, 15 miles south of Boston. While locations changed through the years, the purpose and ideals of the school continue in programs always focused on St. Julie’s mandate: “Teach them what they need to know for life.” Academic excellence and faith formation are primary goals for all students. Graduates are well-prepared for further study at college/university level and are also well-grounded for life in faith and ethics.

NDA-Alumnae
Women: Business, Science and Environment

Throughout the years, the Sisters with lay faculty and administrators adapted the curriculum to meet the needs of the day. Early in the school’s history, when men dominated the business arena, the Academy offered business courses and trained young women to work in office settings. In years when science courses were not considered the norm for girls, the Academy offered biology, chemistry and physics. The science curriculum now includes Julie-Quoteenvironmental science courses as well as engineering and robotics. Students work with local environmental agencies to identify and register vernal pools for protection. A vegetable garden, planted on campus last year by faculty and students, yields produce for the school’s dining service. In the near future, the students and faculty hope to share vegetables with local food pantries.

A Generation of Women in Social Justice
In the 1960s, with the new directions in the Church after the Second Vatican Council, the Academy updated the religion curriculum to include social justice courses with a service component and encouraged students to question and seek the truth. Alumnae from every generation realize that the Sisters taught them for generations to find their voice as women on major social issues. Today, NDA students focus on global education and the care of the earth.

Language study is still a critical element in the curriculum, with programs in French, Spanish, Latin, and also Mandarin Chinese and American Sign Language. Multi-cultural travel experiences to England, France, Spain, Italy, Costa Rica, China and various parts of the United States include a service and learning component for the students. The Academy also collaborates in an international student exchange program with Notre Dame High School in Plymouth, England.

Mission and Service
Pat-Toce,-SNDdeNNDA’s greatest resource is its faculty and staff. Well-educated and committed to the Mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, these women and men inspire students to stretch beyond who they are now to reach new horizons. They model life-long learning and community involvement. Service is a way of life at NDA where faculty and staff work side by side with the girls in all the service projects.

Current and prospective parents visiting the school recognize the comfortable relationship in the classes between teachers and students. Many alumnae have been and are today faculty, staff and administrators at Notre Dame Academy, as well as in other ND ministries. Also, many young women educated at these different campuses of Notre Dame Academy have entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, to carry forward the Gospel Mission in academies, parish schools, centers and to stand with the poor in varied ministries in the US and across borders, cultures and generations. Vita-MagazineFaithful to making known God’s goodness, the NDA community continues to thrive and to educate a new generation of young women to proclaim the Gospel in their daily lives and for years into the future.

View vita! – our NDA magazine at www.ndahingham.com  (About/Publications)


Source: Good Works, March 2015, pp. 10-12. Reprinted with permission. GWMarch2015.pdf(1)

Our Mission in America (1840-2015)

final_ycl_logo_en_new In this Year of Consecrated Life, the Church is celebrating religious congregations throughout the world. The Church recognizes also their founders and foundresses. This year 2015 marks also the 175th anniversary of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) in America.

Only 36 years after the founding of the Congregation by St. Julie Billiart in Amiens, France in 1804. Mère Ignace Goethals, our third Superior General, sent the first missionaries to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1840. Desiring herself to be a missionary in America, Mother Ignace welcomed the request of Jean-Baptiste Purcell, Bishop of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, who, during his visit to Namur, Belgium in 1839, asked for Sisters to teach in his diocese.

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…Learn more

AH! THE WONDER OF LIGHT, WATER AND COMMUNICATIONS

APP-2015-iconConceived from Sr. Lorraine’s vision of connecting our Sisters in Africa to places beyond their isolated villages, the African Photovoltaic Project (APP) began to take shape in 2003. Today, the dream has become a reality in Fugar and Awkunanaw, Nigeria and in Kitenda, Lemfu, Ngidinga and Pelende, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with wonderful life changes and options. Convents, schools and clinics/hospital in two countries are now experiencing life with electricity for lighting, refrigeration, water purification and communications. Rooms set up with basic technology equipment in these ministries provide access to the Internet for teachers, primary and secondary classes as well as health care personnel. The Congo compounds organize these facilities by using available materials. Now, the wider community also benefits from technology at these four sites.

Good Works, November 2013, pp. 8-9, 13
http://www.sndden.org

Shouting for Life

by Sister Betsy Mary Flynn, SNDdeN

Shouting for Life PhotoBrazil will host the World Cup in June-July 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Mega sports events increase the market for human trafficking. On January 9, 2014, The Guardian predicted increased child sex trade: Brazil’s Child Sex Trade Soars as 2014 World Cup Nears. The Church in Brazil has chosen human trafficking for the theme of the Lenten Campaign. Catholics throughout the country will study, pray and take action against human trafficking during this season.

Since 2009, religious Congregations from different countries have organized in small groups globally for education awareness, prevention, denouncement of human trafficking, and the protection of actual and potential victims. In Brazil, Sisters of Notre Dame serve with an anti-trafficking group, called Shouting for Life, known in Portuguese as Grupo Grito pela Vida. Read the rest of Sr. Betsy article: Shouting for Life

www.sndden.org | www.notredameonline.org | snddenGW.wordpress.com
Reprinted with permission. Good Works Magazine