Over the past ten months, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have been engaged in the Sister Dorothy Stang 15th Anniversary Remembrance project with the theme, “Her Legacy endures in us.” This project, which remembers Sister Dorothy on the 15th anniversary of her murder in Brazil, began on February 12, 2020 and will continue through February 12, 2021. While this anniversary is a time to remember, it is also a time to look forward and consider the ways in which Dorothy’s legacy will continue into the future.
On Sunday, November 22, 2020, the founding story of Trinity Washington University was presented in a video by President Pat McGuire for the public to enjoy. The video includes the installation of a portrait of Sister Margaret Claydon, SNDdeN as well as the history of the first dedication of the college on November 22, 1900.
Here is an opportunity to revisit the early depictions of then Trinity College as a pioneer institution of higher education for Catholic women, and memorialize Sister Margaret through the sharing of her niece, Kathleen Keenan.
Just go to www.TrinityDC.edu and click on the video prompt to feel proud of our early Sisters. We know that Catholic Sisters contributed greatly to women’s education in the U.S. This video testifies to that reality. Enjoy!
Seeking insight for living in these times, the Sisters living in Julie Hall at Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati contacted Joanie Gruber, former Director of Life Transitions for the Ohio Unit. Joanie prepared two optional ZOOM sessions entitled Sudden Ever-changing Transitions; Life with Covid-19: Through both the Windshield.
In session 1, Joanie focused on: Loss, Trauma, and Trauma and Loss during the Pandemic. After input, Joanie provided questions for personal reflection, for example, on past losses in one’s life, losses since March 2020, current losses and their impact on one’s life, and then group sharing. Sisters then reflected on and shared “How have current losses changed you?”
On Saturday, November 21, we gathered in a Zoom call for a prayer service honoring our Sisters and Associates who died during the period of January 1 through October 31, 2020. Our Support Coordinators* took the lead and through well selected Scriptural readings set the tone for a moving memorial.
As in the past, Sisters Terry Davis and Sharon McMillan then magnificently led the rest of the memorial service. With photos of the Sisters and Associates framed artistically in a power point presentation, Sister Sharon’s sweet lilting voice wrapped each one in the tender loving care of our good God through a litany to the music of Holy, Holy, Holy is God’s Name. The entire prayer, beginning to end, was an experience of contemplation mixed with sorrow and joy, vested in beauty and marked by love and devotion.
*Thanks to Support Coordinators of the Northeast Area: Sisters Pat McSharry, Roberta Rzeznik, and Viginia Scally; of the Mid-Atlantic Area: Sisters Marlene Biasiello and Josita Colbert; of the West Area: Sisters Georgianna Coonis and Phyllis D’Anna.
In these times, when social justice and climate issues seem to number like the stars, it is critical that we carve out time and make good decisions about our spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health if we want to be able to continue our mission and go the distance. These are challenging times and we need to be prepared for a marathon and not a sprint.
Prayer is a forgone conclusion, of course. With social justice issues and the vitriolic atmosphere we live in right now, setting time aside and sitting quietly with God is essential.
Our SNDdeN USA Anti-racism Team (ART) is alive and well. The work continues, as we struggle together to understand and begin to heal the harm done by racist public structures and private attitudes. We have added new members to the team from Sisters of Notre Dame and Associates. The latter bring a fresh perspective. Some are parents and grandparents. All have a love for Saint Julie’s charism. Our new members also bring a rich variety of ministry experience. Covid- 19 has moved our in-person training to virtual training as we get acquainted via Zoom. Earlier ART members welcome the refresher, and newer members offer fresh insights.
Notre Dame Mission Volunteers has been overseeing Boulangerie Notre Dame in Les Cayes, Haiti since 2016. It has grown from an operation of nine workers and six sellers to now providing economic opportunity for 20 workers in the bakery producing bread for fifty sellers. This bakery has allowed the community to become more self-sufficient while fostering leadership development and offering a stable (and delicious) product to market on the streets of surrounding neighborhoods. Because of its success, there are many exciting updates in the bakery’s near future. For example, there is cafe/restaurant being developed that will house an oven, refrigerator, and tables that will someday host guests for lunch and dinner. There are also plans to extend the reach of the sellers by opening up four smaller neighborhood sites where product will be funneled from the main bakery in Les Cayes.