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Archive for the ‘Vocation’ Category

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Vocation Awareness Week

Screen shot 2012-10-01 at 1.29.45 PMJanuary 13 – 19 is Vocation Awareness Week – a time when we join together with others in our parishes to celebrate those called to religious life, and to support through prayer those who are discerning a call. We pray that all those called by God may respond generously, and with open hearts to the gift of vocation. And we join them, listening intently for the voice of the Good Shepherd in our own lives.

To learn more about ways to support vocations, visit the national Serra Club web site.

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Superior General Sr. Mary Kristin Battles posted these words of encouragement for all SND sisters today on the SND Rome website:

Sisters –

May we celebrate the 162nd anniversary of our founding with deep gratitude for the privilege of being called to participate in God’s mission in our world.  Words from the History of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Coesfeld, Germany (1850-1855), by Sister Maria Raphaelita Böckmann and Sister Maria Birgitta Morthorst remind us of our call to be a sign of love in a time of need and to help our brothers and sisters experience the freedom of a life oriented to the values of the Gospel.

In the face of widespread need, numerous charitable organizations had come into being to take care of the oppressed.  Out of these circles religious communities later developed.  In spite of their own great poverty, these began to meet the steadily growing physical and spiritual needs of people.  The bishops supported, encouraged and promoted these strivings, gave the institutes a legal foundation, and attended to the approbation of a religious rule.  In this way numerous congregations came into being, which from their very beginning were firmly bound to the Church in their mission and in their service.  With their special commitment, they helped the people to understand the freeing message of the Gospel as the source of a life filled with meaning.  In the rapidly growing number of religious houses, children, the sick and the poor experienced what value and dignity there is in the Gospel’s image of the human person.  (Chapter I, page 2)

With renewed zeal may we recommit ourselves to helping people understand the freeing message of the Gospel as the source of a life filled with meaning.  May we help children, the sick and the poor experience what value and dignity there is in the Gospel’s image of the human person.  As the recipients of such a rich spiritual heritage may we continue to be responsive to the needs of our world.

With gratitude to all the SNDs and their deep commitment to ministry, Happy Foundation Day!

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Congratulations to Sr. Valerie Marie Roxburgh on the profession of her Perpetual Vows. Here are her thoughts on the day:

My Life is a Dance of Joy

This theme describes the feeling in my heart, as well as my response to God’s call to religious life. Dance (ballet in particular), has always been an important part of my life. I am so grateful that I have been able to share my gift of dance in my ministry, since I entered the Sisters of Notre Dame.

God’s goodness and divine providence led me to the Sisters of Notre Dame. The past nine years have truly been a journey of grace and joy. I thank God for the gift of my family, my friends and the Sisters of Notre Dame who have always been there for me.

I wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude and prayers to all of you who are celebrating with me today. I also want to thank the many people who have given their time, gifts, and talents, to make this day so beautiful and one that I will remember forever.

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African sisters celebrate after taking their vows

The missions of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Africa have attracted many young African women to deepen their faith and to answer the call to religious life. During their religious formation, novices and postulants from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda receive initial instruction together at the international formation house in Njiro, Tanzania. This formation experience goes far beyond quiet prayer, contemplation, and study, to include active ministry and outreach to the surrounding communities.

The Holy Childhood Association engages Catholic youth in mission to neighboring youth in dire need. The program is very popular in Africa and can be found in nearly every parish in Tanzania. The Njiro parish has over 70 children participants. The women in formation help strengthen the program by teaching prayers and catechism, assisting the children with works of mercy, encouraging contribution to the poor, and attending the Sunday children’s Mass. Their ministry to children goes beyond the Holy Childhood Association, however. The novices and postulants have also been asked to teach religion classes once a week in the government school.

SND novices and postulants also meet weekly with villagers in small Christian communities. A community can have as many as 18 families, who take turns hosting the gathering. The community shares Scripture and reflections, and prays the rosary. If a family is in special need, the group offers financial assistance. Special classes are given to the children, who are taught prayers, songs and bible stories. The Novices and Postulants do not all speak the local language fluently, and while that is a challenge for them, they find that they are always able to communicate God’s love to the families they serve.

Once a week women in formation visit neighboring families in the village, where they minister to women, children and the sick. The families find relief in sharing their pain and struggles with the novices and postulants. Those in formation share faith experiences, comforting words, and answer questions about the way they live their life. The visit ends with praying together. Although the villagers don’t always understand what it means to be a sister, they are always grateful for the visits.

The ministry and outreach that the SND postulants and novices perform are a foundational part of their spiritual development, and their outreach experiences are opportunities for growth even in challenges. Ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of their neighbors helps prepare these young women for lives lived for Jesus and his mission.

– Sr. Mary Bernadette Pendola, SND

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On this feast of Corpus Christi, we reflect on how grateful we are (or should be!) for the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Jesus’ presence in our life does make a difference.  His promise to be with us always helps us deal with the many challenges that come our way….

A story to make us think….

A lecturer was giving a talk to his students on stress management.  He raised a glass of water and asked the audience, “How heavy do you think this glass of water is?”  The students’ answers ranged from 20g to 500g.

The teacher responded, “It does not matter on the absolute weight.  It depends on how long you hold it.

If I hold it for a minute, it is ok.

If I hold it for an hour, I will have an ache in my arm.

If I hold it for a day, you will have to call an ambulance.

It is exactly the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.

If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, we will not be able to carry on, the burden becoming increasingly heavier.  What we have to do is put the glass down, rest for a while before hold it up again.  We have to put down the burden periodically, so that we can be refreshed and are able to carry on.”

Whatever burdens you are having now, let them down for a moment.  Ask Jesus to help you carry the load when you pick it up again.  It is not intended that we do it alone…Jesus has promised:  “I am with you always….”

– Sr. Marie Paul Grech, SND

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Sunday April 29 is World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and we invite you all to join us in prayer for all religious. The Sisters of Notre Dame are also spending this time of prayer saying thank you – to our God for giving us vocations, and to our families and friends who have supported us along the way. We hope you will remember us in thanks and prayer.

We have posted this video before, but we do so again because the words here are so meaningful to us at this time. We hope you enjoy it too!

SND Vocations

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“Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about—quite apart from what I would like it to be about—or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no matter how earnest my intentions…. Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear”.

Herbert Alphonso, SJ

Listening for God’s call to holiness; which is a personal and unique invitation to live our deepest purpose in life; is a lifelong clarion call to a conversion of heart. In the silence of a contemplative, listening heart, we can respond to His gratuitous gift of our life in deepest gratitude. A gratitude that is in actuality a faithful, trusting response to His will. Think Mary’s “Yes!”. Our personal vocations, each lived distinctively, contribute to the prism of Christ’s light shining in our world. A vocation which God has created specifically for you, at this time, now, in history. It is a dance of Creative Love that the Trinity wishes to engage you in, and for a certain part of this dance, only you alone know the steps. As we discern God’s will for us in the quiet of prayer, you realize your questions were always being answered. You only needed to listen for the music.

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The Sisters of Notre Dame invite single women ages 18-40 to their summer volunteer program July 12-16. Stretch Your Heart volunteers will serve the homeless at the St. Vincent de Paul Center in Bakersfield and share in the community life of the sisters at their lodge near Frazier Park. For details, call 805-452-9699, connect by e-mail Sr. Val at sistervalsnd@gmail.com or visit http://www. sndca.org by June 30, 2010.


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