We are a remarkably resilient group of women who have endured a lot and done it well. Our Congregational stories from 1850 to this moment in time have been characterized by two distinguishing elements that are always found together: the Cross and Divine Providence.
We were born under the famous Cross in Coesfeld, Germany, when two young women received the grace to say YES to a life of consecration and service. Six years after our founding an epidemic of typhus threatened us with extinction. By 1878 there were 75 Sisters of Notre Dame; 68 died of the disease. On the heels of this epidemic came a period of political instability, followed by two world wars. These events shaped both our history and our spirituality. In the shadow of the Cross we faced the tension together and awaited the hand of Providence.
Our chronologies are filled with moving stories that show the indomitable spirit of our sisters during and after World War II as they rebuilt structures, adapted their ministries, and carried on with their lives, entrusting all to Divine Providence. At a time when our yet young Congregation could have easily been fractured, our foremothers seized the opportunity to sow the seeds of Notre Dame in the USA. Later foundations were found in the Netherlands, Brazil, Korea, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Viet Nam and Italy. Each new foundation brought the challenges of the Cross: a new language to be learned, physical poverty, some misunderstandings, separation from family and friends and a great deal of risk and change… but each also brought new life.
Called to respond to the cry of the needy, we send women to schools, parishes, shelters, hospitals, not only in the Archdioceses of the U.S., but also in the rural area of Uganda, Africa.
Embracing a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in our world, we stand ready to welcome a future full of hope, confident that the future will bring us many more reasons to celebrate God’s Goodness.
This blog is a place for our sisters to share their spiritual journey as they travel the path of growth in God. We hope that you will enjoy reading these posts as much as we take pleasure in writing them. It’s always good to have a place to share ourselves, and we encourage you to join in. Please feel free to comment as often as you like.
Sister Amy SND