Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) coordinators from each Sisters of Notre Dame US province met in California in June to share their achievements from the past year and set new goals for the future. JPIC initiatives cover a broad range of issues that the Sisters of Notre Dame are passionate about including global conservation and human trafficking.DSC_0896

Sister Mary Lea Paolucci from the Covington, Kentucky province reported that her community held a purse and shoe drive that raised $2,100 to install a water tank in Buseesa, Uganda.  Sister Mary Ann Baran from the Chardon, Ohio province discussed her involvement with the nonprofit Water for Life Institute, which “uses a combination of appropriate water technologies, water health education and basic research so that communities can identify and solve their water problems” according to their website. In addition, Sister Joyce Marie Bates filled the group in on her research into micro-financing projects in the US and abroad; and Sister Betty Mae Bienlein stressed the importance of educating other sisters about JPIC.

“Our big goal is to help our sisters understand that our whole vowed life is for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation,” she said “We each have to live so that our Christian presence is a silent witness that shows people that there is hope. The world is not in a hopeless situation.”

This year all four provinces held Awakening the Dreamer symposiums for their communities. Awakening the Dreamer educates and motivates participants to do what they can now to curb climate change.  The sisters believe that every small act of respect for the earth and other people is important, and they chose Awakening the Dreamer to communicate that message to a larger group of people. Respect is a key concept in JPIC initiatives.

“Respect for the earth, for the animals, for people and for the whole cosmos is our ministry,” said Sister Betty Mae. She hopes that sisters and others will make an effort to stay aware of JPIC issues via daily news and that they will show hope and joy in the face of those challenges.

Photo from left to right:

Sister Mary Ann Baran (Chardon), Sister Mary Lea Paolucci (Covington), Sister Betty Mae Bienlein (California) and Sister Joyce Marie Bates (Toledo).

Read Full Post »


Sister Mary Lynn (Ann Patricia Liederbach) was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 6, 1928, the first child of Theodore and Anne Pejsa Liederbach.  Three more children followed: a sister Jean and twin brothers, Theodore, Jr. and Thomas. Following her graduation from Notre Dame Academy, Patricia entered the novitiate of the Sisters of Notre Dame on September 8, 1946, and pronounced her first vows three years later, on August 16, 1949.

After receiving a Master of Arts Degree in Economics from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. as well as a second Masters in Library Science from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Sister Mary Lynn taught high school in the Cleveland and Elyria areas. In 1960, Sister came to California where she continued her ministry in secondary education.

Sister served first as an instructor and later Director at Pilarica College in Thousand Oaks. From 1965 to 1970 and again from 1975 to 1984 she was assigned to St. Matthias High School in Huntington Park as both a teacher of economics and librarian as well as moderator of the Library Club. In 1984, Sister Mary Lynn joined the provincial house community at Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks.

During her years at the Center Sister Mary Lynn became involved in what would become her “passion” – Detention Ministry. Sister made pastoral visits to a number of prisons and/or jails in the area where she became friends with many of the inmates for whom she prayed daily. Several times a year, Sister would compile a newsletter to “my guys in jail” which she laboriously pecked out on a manual typewriter. Although sisters offered to type it for her on a computer, Sister always declined, saying the project was “her labor of love.”

As an extension of her detention ministry, Sister Mary Lynn also became involved in “Get on the Bus”, a program which provides free transportation for children to visit their incarcerated parents for Mother’s or Father’s Day. Each year Sister would add a big straw hat decorated with ribbons to her habit and appeal to the parishioners of St. Paschal Baylon Church as they came out of Sunday Mass for support for the program. Over the years, Sister’s annual appearance made it possible for countless children to celebrate their “Day” with their mother or father.

About five years ago, Sister Mary Lynn’s health began to decline, but it was not until the fall of 2012 that she moved into the skilled nursing wing of the Health Care Center, although she continued to participate in community prayers and meals. When she was no longer able to come to the chapel, Sister continued to attend the daily Mass and to enjoy various religious presentations on EWTN.

Within recent weeks, it had become apparent that Sister Mary Lynn was peacefully entering the final phase of life. On the afternoon of Tuesday, May 27, Sister quietly answered the invitation of her God whom she had faithfully served for the past sixty-five years – “Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world…For I was in prison and you visited me…Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters you did for me.”

Read Full Post »

CaptureVision & Challenge is published tri-annually by the Sisters of Notre Dame, California Province’s Office of Mission Advancement. To read online click  here.Founded by Hilligonde Wolbring in Coesfeld, Germany, in 1850, the Sisters of Notre Dame are an international congregation of women religious who serve the Church in seventeen countries on six continents.The Sisters of Notre Dame have ministered in California for almost nintey years, bringing hope to the world through catechesis, pastoral ministry, education, health care, social ministries and missionary activity.

For more information, visit www.sndca.org.

Read Full Post »

JosanneSister Mary Josanne Furey relied on what she calls the “creative muse” to help her come up with original math problems for the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) every year since 1985.

The AMC is a series of challenging math tests for students in grades six through 12, put on by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA). Each year over 350,000 students in roughly 6,000 schools participate in the contests, according to the MAA website. The top-scoring students make it all the way to the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad. From there, students are invited to participate in international competitions.

Sister Mary Josanne began teaching at La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks in 1966 and served as principal there from 1970 to 1983. While there, she started her own mathematics competition for 7th and 8th graders. Then in 1984, she transferred to Saint Bonaventure High School in Ventura and installed the competition there as well. While she was teaching there, the AMC approached her to help them create their first test for 7th and 8th graders, which was given in 1985.

She joined a team of 15 mathematicians who gathered once a year to put together the 25-question, timed tests. The tests are purely for extra-curricular competition, not letter-grades, and the students learn during the year is fair game for the test.

“The problems weren’t simple,” Sister Mary Josanne said, “I had to create the circumstances to make them difficult.”

Sister Mary Josanne is 89 years old, and celebrated her 65th Jubilee last summer. Her last task for the AMC was to review the questions that will be used on the test in November of this year.

“When you’re out of the field for so long, the creative muse doesn’t help you,” she said. “But it’s been a wonderful experience.”

Read Full Post »

anita_0001Sister Mary Anita was born on July 21, 1914, in Merrill, Michigan, the eighth child of Joseph and Mary Jakob Hornack. Sister remembered her childhood as among her “happiest days and very family-oriented with emphasis on religious values. When we sat down at the dining room table to do our homework,” Sister wrote in her autobiography, “my father would say ‘Catechism first.’”

When Sister was a child the Hornacks moved to Cleveland, Ohio and she was enrolled in St. Ladislaus School, conducted by the Sisters of Notre Dame. From the age of five, Sister knew she wanted to be a teacher. At the same time, she also felt called to be a “sister” for in her mind the two vocations were one.  In 1931 she became an aspirant, and the following year she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in which her older sister Veronica (Sister Mary Florette) was already a member. Sister Mary Anita was professed on August 16, 1934 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The following September Sister Mary Anita began fifty-six years or service as a teacher and an administrator in Ohio and, beginning in 1963, in California at St. Rose of Lima in Maywood. She also taught at St. Bernardine of Siena in Woodland Hills and St. Mary Magdalen in Camarillo. Throughout those years, Sister Mary Anita’s first concern was “to make things nice for the sisters, both in school and in the convent.”  She “threw herself into the work of the house,” cleaning, arranging and decorating the rooms and planning surprises for her sisters.

Sister was dedicated to education. In 2009, Arlene Stewart Verhague, a former student at St. Rose of Lima wrote “Sister Mary Anita, you were such a tremendous model for all of us children. We learned so much more than the ‘three R’s.’ We learned to be strong, yet caring, competitive but fair and to always show kindness. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to let you know what a positive force you were for me and I know for countless other students through your teaching career.”

In 1997 Sister Mary Anita was assigned to Our Lady of Assumption convent in Ventura where she served for the next five years. In 2002, Sister came to Notre Dame Center to begin a new ministry; that of prayer.

During those years, Sister began a correspondence with Jesuit author James Martin. Sister was looking forward her 100th birthday and the 80th anniversary of her religious consecration in July of 2014. Aware of the occasion, Father recently wrote, “Sister, I am filled with joy at your generosity. Think of all the good you have done …how many, many lives you have touched and how wonderfully God has used you. And it all came from [your] initial ‘Yes.’”

Coincidently, Sister was reading James Martin’s chapter about the Annunciation entitled “Yes” in his book Jesus – A Pilgrimage when she quietly said her final “Yes” early in the morning of Sunday, March 23, 2014.

The celebration of Sister Mary Anita’s life and the Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Notre Dame Center, Thousand Oaks, on Saturday, March 29, 2014. May she thoroughly enjoy her 100th birthday party in heaven.




Read Full Post »


This article and photo are courtesy of the SND Toledo Province communication team.

Sister Mary Tina Petrick has always taught elementary school-aged children. When she departs for Uganda on February 27, 2014 she will co-direct a nursery school with Sister Maria Ruthilde, while Sister Mary Sunday and others teach the class.

In February of 2011, Notre Dame Nursery School opened in Lyamutundewe, Uganda.  The Uganda mission is jointly sponsored by the  SND provinces of Covington, KY, and Thousand Oaks, CA.

Approximately 105 children between the ages of 3 and 6 are currently enrolled.  Children registered in the program learn to sing, dance and play musical instruments that help them build on their social and interactive skills while strengthening their English.  The program runs from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with most children attending the after school program which runs until 4:30 p.m.

Sister Tina will work with the teachers a lot in her new ministry and will live with the candidates (pre-postulants).

“I’m very excited about my new ministry and look forward to working with the children and their teachers,” she said.

Read Full Post »

1512560_673410886036339_1966250748_nSister Mary Karlynn Werth’s job as “house administrator” keeps her busy maintaining the Provincial House in Thousand Oaks, California where she lives. She and her small staff keep the convent clean and in proper working order year-round, doing everything from carpet cleanings to elevator repairs.

Recently she took on a part-time position at the Hilton Fund for Sisters in Agoura, California. She handles mail from Catholic sisters all over the world who are seeking grants from the Fund.

The Fund was established 1986 by Conrad N. Hilton (who founded the Hilton hotel chain) to support the apostolic work of Roman Catholic sisters. Any project supported by the Fund must have a sister involved in it.

Sister Mary Karlynn is moved by the heroic projects that come across her desk.

“I feel honored that I’m able to do this. When you hear about these things, they make an impression on you. You have to stop and think: What do we really need?” she said.

The sisters who request grants from the Fund need help in many forms.

“The things they ask for are very simple,” Sister Mary Karlynn said. Some groups need educational supplies like desks or computer training resources, others want nails or wood for building projects, and still others request pens, pencils, or sewing machines.

One cause that stood out to Sister Mary Karlynn was the mission of the Good Shepherd Sisters in France to help a community in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) negatively affected by the mining industry. The Good Shepherd Sisters run a school for children in Kolwezi (DRC) and offer meals to them so they can escape grueling and dangerous work in the mines, where many begin working when they are just three years old. To learn more about the children of Kolwezi, click here.

Sister Mary Karlynn is pleased that the Hilton Fund for Sisters is able to support the work the Good Shepherd Sisters are doing. She hopes to stay on at the Fund as long as she can. Previously, Sister taught intermediate and junior high school, and served as a principal for many years. She was born and raised in California, and took her final vows as a Sister of Notre Dame in 1967.

Read Full Post »


This image is from the Pachamama Alliance website.

Care for the Earth – Awakening the Dreamer Symposium by the Pachamama Alliance

What: This year Sisters of Notre Dame are hosting a workshop on environmental conservation for sisters, associates and friends. This event is free.
When: Sunday afternoon, November 17, 2013 from 1:00 to 5:30 p.m.

Where: The cafeteria at Notre Dame Academy in West Los Angeles (2851 Overland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90064).

Who: Our two very knowledgeable, entertaining and enthusiastic presenters are Kristin Jensen Storey and Dr. Bob Dodge. Both are very excited to join us for the symposium.

How: All registrations are online. There is limited space so get your friends and co-workers to register early.

Watch the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium Trailer from The Pachamama Alliance on Vimeo.

To register online: http://www.pachamama.org/workshops/search/single/?event_id=1518

Read Full Post »

Dear friends,

I have recently relocated to California from Cleveland, Ohio to join the staff of the Hilton Fund for Sisters as the Executive Assistant for Administration and Finance.  As a Sister of Notre Dame from the Chardon Province, I have had broad and varied ministry experiences.  Earlier in my career I was a teacher and assistant principal, and then a counselor.  More recently I have worked as a program administrator for clinical services in a community mental health agency, and as an assistant to the facilities director for our Notre Dame educational center complex.  Before coming here, I served in the role of dean of students in an inner-city Catholic high school.  I am excited to use all of the skills I have gained, especially in administration, to contribute to this important work to support the ministries of other Sisters.  I feel privileged to be a part of the philanthropic legacy of Conrad Hilton.

Sr. Julie Bruss, SND

Read Full Post »


On Sunday, ten chattering preschool children trickled into Sister Julie Marie Arriaga’s classroom at Saint Julie Billiart Church in Newbury Park. She knew from experience that calling out for them to be quiet would never work.

“So I said softly ‘If you’re quiet, raise your hand.’” Sister Julie Marie said. “And I said it again, ‘If you’re quiet, raise your hand.’ Slowly all their hands came up.”

Sister Julie Marie began teaching preschool this fall as part of Saint Julie’s religious education program for preschool through fifth grade students. She is the first Sister of Notre Dame to be invited to teach at Saint Julie’s and is excited about her new ministry.

“It is an awesome privilege for me to be a presence in that community. I want to be a blessing for the children but also for the parents,” she said.

Her class will meet every Sunday from 9:00 to 10:15 a.m. while their parents are at Mass. Sister Julie Marie’s plan for the school year includes teaching her students to pray and helping them to develop


their relationship with God.

Teaching has been Sister Julie Marie’s primary ministry since she entered as a Sister of Notre Dame in 1971. She began as a second grade communion and reconciliation teacher at Notre Dame Academy in West Los Angeles in 1974.

“I’ve always enjoyed the younger children,” she said. Sister spent seven years at Notre Dame Learning Center in Thousand Oaks as well.

Sister Julie Marie remembers feeling called to religious life at a very young age.

“When I was in eighth grade I told my mom and dad I wanted to be a sister,” she said “I had met sisters from a different community. I could see how happy they were and I wanted to be a part of that.”

As she prepares to celebrate her 40th Jubilee next summer, Sister Julie Marie is grateful for the many opportunities and blessings she has had throughout her religious life.

“We have different transitions and transfers in our lives [as sisters] but I count every call to a new ministry or a new convent as a blessing,” she said.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »