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Posts Tagged ‘Community’

Over 100 guests came out for Sister Mary Kathleen’s talk on “Your Prayer Toolbox” last week at Theology on Tap. Did you miss out? Check out the clip below!

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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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Sister Mary Kathleen Burns will help launch the summer season of Theology on Tap (TOT) with her talk tomorrow evening on “Building Your Prayer Tool Box.”

“Theology on Tap is meant to reach young people on the margins, to make them feel comfortable in a relaxed setting with a bit of theology thrown in,” Sister Mary Kathleen said.

The information below is excerpted from the official website of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

TOT is open to all young adults, ages 18 to 39, singles and couples, regardless of religious affiliation, who want to explore the role of faith in their daily lives. Created in 1981, TOT is a nationally recognized speaker and fellowship program that has brought young adults to the church for more than 30 years. In this casual atmosphere, you’ll hear straight talk and honest answers to your deepest questions about faith, love, work and other real life experiences. TOT provides an opportunity to learn about the Catholic faith, meet like-minded people and make new friends.

Details regarding Sister Mary Kathleen’s talk are below. Check out the Archdiocese of Los Angeles website for a full list of TOT’s happening this summer. You can also subscribe to TOT’s newsletter or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

July 9: Theology on Tap @ St. Cornelius, Long Beach

5500 E. Wardlow Rod., Long Beach, 90808
Doors open at 7pm; program starts at 7:30pm

Sr. Kathleen Burns, SND: Building your Prayer Tool Box

Theology on Tap

Theology on Tap

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At the end of the school year, the Sisters of Notre Dame attended a Many Mansions award ceremony. They watched proudly as 20 students received academic scholarships, four of which were donated by the sisters. Sister Mary Joan Schlotfeldt was moved by ceremony.

“I felt proud to be a Sister of Notre Dame and be able to help those who are pursuing an education,” she said.

Many Mansions is a non-profit that builds and maintains affordable housing complexes for low-income families in Ventura County and the Conejo Valley. According to the Many Mansions website, the organization owns and manages over 500 units, housing about 1,000 adults and 300 children. They also provide on-site services including job training, case management, homework literacy, free summer camp for kids and a scholarship program called Vicky’s Fund.

Sister Mary Lisa Megaffin first became involved with Many Mansions as a board member in 1995. While serving on the board, Sister Mary Lisa met Marty and Eileen Garcia.

“When I first joined the board I had a lot to learn about affordable housing. Whenever we were deliberating a major topic, Marty would always ask ‘How does this relate to our mission?’ Our growing friendship and collaboration gave me opportunities to observe him, his faith and his concern for those in need,” said Sister Mary Lisa.

Sister Mary Lisa Megaffin at Notre Dame Center in May.

Sister Mary Lisa Megaffin at Notre Dame Center in May.

Several years later, the Garcias became Associates with the Sisters of Notre Dame.

“Growing up, my perception of nuns was completely different from the experience I’ve had with the Sisters of Notre Dame,” said Marty. “They’re out in the world, actually living their charism. Sister Lisa has made a huge impact on Many Mansions. She and I go way back, so we’re really able to see the growth that Many Mansions has had.”

The Garcias started Vicky’s Fund three years ago in memory of Marty’s mother, Victoria Garcia. A child of Spanish immigrants to the U.S., Victoria was only able to obtain a 4th grade education before she had to begin working to help her family. As an adult, she volunteered as a bilingual teacher’s aide until she was in her mid-eighties.

“After my mother’s funeral, people came up to me and told me what an impact she had on them. She had an innate ability to recognize that the children in her classes couldn’t focus on their studies because they came from unstable home environments. She set out to make the classroom a safe place and build up their God-given talents and self-esteem. I asked myself what I could do to extend her vision. It dawned on me to start a scholarship within Many Mansions,” said Marty.

In three years, 48 students have received a total of $23,000 in scholarships through Vicky’s Fund and Many Mansions. Scholarship recipients range in age and academic goals. Some are young students preparing for college, and others are adults earning their GED or taking vocational training classes. The main requirement for the scholarship is that the recipient is a resident at a Many Mansions property.

“We want to offer something that will help with their finances and build up their self-esteem,” said Marty. “Seeing their appreciation lets me know I’m doing the right thing. I started the scholarship in honor of my mother, but it’s given me so much more than I could have imagined.”

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Since she became a postulant with the Sisters of Notre Dame nearly two years ago, Mayra Martinez feels she has grown into a more confident, peaceful person. Now, she is about to embark on the second step of her vocational journey. In August, Mayra, age 37, will move from Providence House in Long Beach, C.A. and travel to Covington, K.Y.  for two years of novitiate, which is a time of intense prayer, study of the Congregation and theological reflection.

“I’m choosing to move forward in the process of becoming a Sister of Notre Dame,” she said. “I’m  moving closer to making my first profession of the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.”

Despite the challenges before her and the uncertainty of the next several years, Mayra feels unafraid.

“I’m amazed by the amount of grace and trust in God that I feel. It’s starting to become very real now. I know I won’t see my friends, family or the sisters in California for a while, so I feel a little sad, but I trust that He will take care of me.”

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Mayra Martinez (left) with Nicole Varnerin, both women are postulants with the Sisters of Notre Dame.

Mayra was recently accepted to Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, K.Y. where she will continue her education. When a woman completes the novitiate, she then professes vows of chastity, poverty and obedience for the first time and begins the ministry for which she has been prepared.

According to Mayra, the highlight of her experience in the community is living with and learning from the sisters. She has learned to live in a close-knit community, ask for help when she needs it and trust in God’s goodness and provident care.

“I’ve had many beautiful moments with my sisters. They’ve taught me that everything we do is rooted in prayer, the importance of the Eucharist, to think logically, and to stand up for myself. I love them all and I’m very excited for the next step in my journey.”

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Notre Dame Center sits on about 4.5 acres of land on Hendrix Avenue in Thousand Oaks and houses 32 Sisters of Notre Dame. In light of the worsening drought, several sisters were concerned that their 1.5 acres of landscaped space might be using too much water. So, with the help of California American Water and Blue Watchdog Conservation firm, they conducted a water survey on their property.

The survey revealed that there were, in fact, several simple fixes that could save the sisters water and money. First, the surveyors recommended installing two new Weather Based Irrigation Controllers (WBICs).  According to the survey, the WBICs “work by using specific information about the site, including weather patterns, plant types, soil type, slope, and irrigation system application rates to automatically adjust irrigation schedules.”

A Weather Based Irrigation Controller that can suspend irrigation in the event of rain.

A Weather Based Irrigation Controller that can suspend irrigation in the event of rain.

The surveyors also recommended that 84 sprinklers be replaced with more efficient ones that will save about 149,600 gallons of water per year. The sisters will also need to repair 12 leaky sprinkler heads and adjust 39 nozzles contributing to overspray.

Ripping out the existing lawn on the sisters’ property would be too costly, according to Sister Mary Karlynn Werth, house administrator at Notre Dame Center. However, she does plan to use drought-tolerant plants on all new landscaping projects including the area behind the convent, adjacent to La Reina High School.

Overspray on the sisters' property in Thousand Oaks.

Overspray on the sisters’ property in Thousand Oaks.

“Now’s the time,” Sister Mary Karlynn said of the changes, “Saving water is a personal responsibility and we have to keep encouraging each other to do better.”

Inside Notre Dame Center, saving water has always been important to the sisters, who make sure that loads of laundry and dishes are full before they start.

“We have cut our water usage by nearly half since June of last year,” said Sister Mary Anncarla Costello, provincial superior for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California, “This represents our very conscientious awareness of the seriousness of the situation and our responsibility to contribute to a solution. Each of the sisters is doing her part and those who oversee the daily operations of our property are also working toward conservation.”

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Vision & Challenge is published tri-annually by the Office of Mission Advancement for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California. This issue features an exclusive look at the new projects happening at our mission in Uganda. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please send an email to cvieira@sndca.org.

Click here to read the online version.

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SeekingGodDreamForMe2015

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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.

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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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Sister Mary Regina Robbins led a discussion last week on good listening, and the power we have to make others feel loved by really listening to them. See the whole talk here:

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