Posts Tagged ‘celebrations’

Thanks to everyone who participated in the second-annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K on February 6! For more photos of the event as well as timing results, visit our Facebook page.

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“We are always climbing the mountain, but Jubilee is a time to pause and enjoy the view,” said Sister Rose Marie Tulacz, who celebrated 40 years, as a Sister of Notre Dame on July 11, surrounded by her loved ones. On Jubilee day, Sister Rose Marie renewed her vows in the company of three other Sisters of Notre Dame. “The faith and courage the Jubilarians witness to in their call to religious life inspires me. Courage and faithful commitment is an undervalued trait in today’s society,”

At the age of 18 after high school graduation, Sister Rose Marie entered the convent in 1972. She gratefully recalls her former novice directress, Sister Mary Damien, who mentored and encouraged a life of prayer, service and fortitude. After pronouncing first vows in 1975 as a Sister of Notre Dame, Sister Rose Marie taught for 16 years at the primary, elementary, and junior high level.

Since 1993, Sister is a photographer specializing in spiritual and humanitarian outreach. The Notre Dame Creations ministry has taken her around the globe where she has passionately deepened her engagement with the mission of the Church, scripture, and the family of God. Sister combines her gifts of liturgical and fine art photography, as well as writing, speaking, retreats, spiritual direction, and parish missions. In 2004, Sister Rose Marie produced a fine art book of photography and inspirational writing entitled In the Between. Proceeds from the book enabled the Sisters of Notre Dame in Tanzania and Kenya to build the Zinduka Women’s Center, Notre Dame School for elementary and high school students, Aloysia Orphanage, and Notre Dame Primary School.

In April of this year, Sister Rose Marie traveled to Corpus Christi, Texas for an immersion experience at the border of Mexico. She joined several Sisters of Notre Dame, all from different American Provinces, to minister at the border. She described her experience there, “witnessing the desperation of migrants facing deportation” as life changing. “I am grateful for the grace to respond to the call to come to the border and be unsettled by truth. I am grateful that despite the often-painful topics and emotional encounters, I see Jesus in the volunteers, the sisters and the immigrants,” she said.

Sister recently completed graduate studies in Pastoral Theology and Ministry at Boston College. She will be exhibiting Notre Dame Creations at the Papal World Family Meeting in the Philadelphia Convention Center. September 21-25, 2015.

Left, Themi Slums, Njiro, Anisha, Tanzania, East Africa Sr. Roshmi on left, Sr. Rose Marie holding child

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Sister Antoinette Marie Moon is known for having energy to spare. She can be found bustling around Notre Dame Center preparing for guests or tending to the needs of her sisters at all hours of the day. Listen as she pauses to reflect on her 50 years of ministry as a Sister of Notre Dame.

On growing up around sisters:

On her family’s reaction to her decision to join the convent:

On Jubilee as a kind of “wedding anniversary”:

On serving as an Adoration Sister in Rome, Italy:

On working as a missionary in Uganda, Africa:

On the Year of Consecrated Life:


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Saint Julie Billiart is the spiritual mother of the Sisters of Notre Dame, since she was not living when the religious order began, but the order is based on her spirituality and teachings. She was born on July 12, 1751; died on April 8, 1816; and was canonized on June 22, 1969.

Marie Rose Julie Billiart (as she was baptized) was born in the French village of Cuvilly during the French Revolution.  Even as a young child, Julie’s love for the good God was apparent to all who knew her. She told bible stories and taught about Jesus to neighboring children.

As a young woman several things happened to her and her family which left them in poverty and traumatized her in such a way that she was paralyzed and had difficulty speaking. In spite of these physical handicaps, Julie served God by preparing children for their First Communion. She offered spiritual guidance to adults who came to her because of her wisdom, goodness and love of God, even in the midst of all her suffering.


With her friend, Francoise Blin de Bourdon, Julie, then 53 years old, began a religious community of sisters: the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.  These women wanted to follow Julie and Francoise in their dedication to God, their spreading of the message that God is good, and their work teaching poor children. Julie was still paralyzed when a priest asked her to pray for an unknown special intention. This special intention was Julie’s cure, so after 23 years of being paralyzed, Julie began to walk. She was able then to travel to all the places her sisters were in order to help them become sisters and teachers. She wrote many letters and made many journeys to her sisters until she died in 1816.

Two other religious communities of sisters were founded after Julie Billiart died that are also called Sisters of Notre Dame. Their way of living as sisters and relating to God comes from Saint Julie Billiart. One of these religious communities is the Sisters of Notre Dame of Coesfeld, Germany, and they eventually came to the United States and became the congregation we know today.

Prayer from the Mass of Saint Julie

Almighty and eternal God, you called Saint Julie Billiart to respond joyfully to the love of your crucified Son in dedicating herself to the education of the poor. Grant that her prayer and example may inspire us to respond with love to His Cross, in serving the needs of others with true goodness of heart. Amen.

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The following prayer is from Catholic Online. Click the link to see the original page.

Mary, on this day when we honor all mothers, we turn to you. We thank the Lord whom you serve for the great gift of motherhood. Never has it been known that anyone who sought your intercession was left unaided by grace. Dear Mother, thank you for your “Yes” to the invitation of the angel which brought heaven to earth and changed human history. You opened yourself to God’s word and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

mothers-day-48957_640Dear mother, intercede for all of our mothers. Ask your Divine Son to give them the grace of surrendered love so that they could join with you in giving their own. May they find daily strength to say yes to the call to the sacrificial love- the very heart of the vocation of motherhood. May their love and witness be a source of great inspiration for all of us called to follow your Son.

On this Mothers day, Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us who have recourse to you.

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

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Today we celebrate the founding of our religious community, which began in Coesfeld, Germany.

A little bit of the story…

By the time Hilligonde Wolbring was seven years old, both of her parents and her baby brother had died. She was put into the home of her aunt and uncle and several cousins. As she grew up she hoped to be a missionary, but the idea was discouraged by those around her. Being a missionary was too dangerous for a young woman in that day. They encouraged her to help those in need in her own town. Instead Hilligonde decided to become a teacher. In 1846 being a teacher meant going through an intense and regimented preparation program that involved academic and spiritual development. Hilligonde also had to pass a state examination, and remaining unmarried.

When she began to teach at a parish school, she became friends with another teacher who had been there several years named Elisabeth Kühling. They shared  a passion for teaching and a desire to do more for the poor and neglected children in their school. As we ourselves know, with a friend, it is easier to brainstorm ideas and plan projects. That is what they did. They decided to get a large house so they could bring in orphans and care for them.

At the school and parish was a young, energetic priest called Father Elting, who taught religion. He encouraged Hilligonde and Elisabeth to begin a religious community so their work could become permanent and grow. Father Elting connected with a community of sisters in Holland (Sisters of Notre Dame of Amersfoort, Holland) that matched the direction and spirit of Hilligonde and Elisabeth. Sisters from Holland came and taught these young women how to be sisters, what the vows meant and how to live them.

On October 1, 1850, Hilligonde became Sister Maria Aloysia and Elisabeth became Sister Maria Ignatia, novices of the Sisters of Notre Dame. After a few years the laws for teacher training in the two countries changed, so the group of sisters in Germany became independent from the sisters in Holland. By that time there were eleven sisters who made their vows and 22 novices. October 1 is considered Foundation Day because it was the first day that Sisters of Notre Dame were in Coesfeld, Germany.

In 1874, sisters came to the United States because the oppression of the Catholic Church in Germany meant the sisters could not function publicly. So they came to the U.S. and first began schools in parishes where there were German immigrants. St. Peter Church in Cleveland, OH, St. John Church in Delphos, OH, and Mother of God Church in Covington, KY are a few places where the sisters opened schools right away.

Now there are about 2,100 Sisters of Notre Dame in 18 countries on five continents, working in schools and other related ministries. Let us pray for them, their work and their continued success.Hilligonde & Elisabeth

Good and Provident God, today as we celebrate the beginnings of the Sisters of NotreDame of Coesfeld, Germany, we offer you praise and thanksgiving for all that the sisters have given and continue to give for over 160 years.  May we who share in their charism of trusting in a good and provident God, show that trust in our daily lives, also.


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