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Posts Tagged ‘Hilligonde Wolbring’

The Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame came into being in Coesfeld, Germany in 1850. In 1849, two young teachers, Hilligonde Wolbring and Elisabeth Kühling, befriended orphaned and neglected children and took them into Hilligonde’s home where they educated and cared for them. Both young women had been educated in the spiritual and pedagogical tradition of Reverend Bernard Overberg.

Their spiritual director, Reverend Theodor Elting, invited them to consider religious life. Three Sisters of Notre Dame of Amersfoort, in the Netherlands, came to Coesfeld in 1850 to give these two women preparatory training for religious life. The Amersfoort congregation had received their spirit and rule from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, founded in France by Julie Billiart in 1804.

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Hilligonde became Sister Maria Aloysia, and Elisabeth, Sister Maria Ignatia. October 1 is considered Foundation Day because it was the first day that the Sisters of Notre Dame were in Coesfeld, Germany. Today the Sisters of Notre Dame, a Marian family of women religious, serve the Church throughout the world in education and other ministries. Together with their lay collaborators, they continue to be bearers of hope and joy, witnessing to God’s goodness and provident care.

Schools across the county with roots to the Sisters of Notre Dame are encouraged to celebrate Foundation Day and the rich heritage of the sisters. One year, Notre Dame Academy in Toledo, Ohio, celebrated Foundation Day by inviting some of the Sisters of Notre Dame to have lunch with the students and teachers. “Sharing a sandwich” with one of the sisters was a wonderful way to build a connection between the student body and the heritage of the sisters in a casual setting.

Acting in the spirit of St. Julie Billiart who proclaimed, “You are not asked to do all the good in the world, just that bit which lies within your power,” Notre Dame Academy in West Los Angeles initiated Women Helping Women. Each graduating class has the honor of leaving behind a $1,000 student scholarship for an incoming freshman who needs financial assistance to attend NDA. Earning their own money by doing an extra family chores, each student is asked to bring in a modest donation to help another young girl realize her dream of attending NDA. Money is collected on Foundation Day.

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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.

Amen.

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Sister Mary LaReina and Sister Marie Paul are giving Notre Dame heritage tours this month to seventh graders at La Reina High School. What do you remember about Saint Julie and the founding sisters?

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Photo by Raynelle Duronslet.

Photo by Raynelle Duronslet

On Monday, September 30th, students, staff and faculty at Notre Dame Academy in West Los Angeles celebrated Foundation Day with a beautiful service and the following student-led prayer:

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Heavenly Father, this week we will drop our books and open our hearts to the hungry, the homeless, the forgotten, the invisible.
As we make prayer cards and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we ask that you bless the work of our hands, and strengthen those who will receive our gifts, nourish them in body and soul.
Fill us with a spirit of joy and sisterhood as we work together in our religion classes.
Help us as we learn more about the young woman who founded the Sisters of Notre Dame, Hilligonde Wolbring, who later chose the name Sr. Maria Aloyisia when she entered religious life.
Guide us as we grow in understanding of the foundress of our Sisters of Notre Dame, and their congregation, their story, their friendships, their love of God and the poor.
Be with us and our sisters here at Notre Dame Academy as we celebrate your goodness and grace.  Amen.

For more information on how the Sisters of Notre Dame were founded, visit http://www.sndeducation.org/foundation-day/.

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Hilligonde Wolbring and Elisabeth Kuhling

Hilligonde Wolbring and Elisabeth Kuhling

Today, October 1, we celebrate the 163rd anniversary of the founding of the religious community: the Sisters of Notre Dame of Coesfeld, Germany.

A little bit of the story…

We begin with Hilligonde Wolbring.  By the time she was seven, both of Hilligonde’s parents and a baby brother had died.  This put Hilligonde into the home of an 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. Hilligonde decided to become a teacher. At that time, 1846, being a teacher meant going through an intense and regimented teacher preparation program that involved not only academic but also spiritual development, passing the state examination, and remaining unmarried.

When Hilligonde began to teach at a parish school, she became friends with another teacher who had been there several years, Elizabeth Kuhling.  They shared not only a passion for teaching but 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.

Also at the school and parish was a young, energetic priest, Father Elting, who taught religion.  After discussing their plan with him, he encouraged them 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 Elizabeth.  So, 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 Sr. Maria Aloysia and Elizabeth became Sr. Maria Ignatia, novices of the Sisters of Notre Dame. After a few years because of different laws, especially for teacher training, in the two countries, 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 of having Sisters of Notre Dame 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, Mother of God Church in Covington, KY, St. John Church in Delphos, OH are several of the places where the sisters opened schools right away.

Now there are about 2,200 Sisters of Notre Dame in 18 countries on 5 continents, working in schools and other related ministries.  Let us pray for them, their work, and their continued success.

Good and Provident God, today as we celebrate the beginnings of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Coesfeld, Germany, we offer you praise and thanksgiving for all that the sisters have given over 163 years and continue to give.  May we who share in their charism of trusting in a good and provident God, show that trust in our daily lives, also.

Amen.

Go to http://www.sndeducation.org/ for more information on the Sisters of Notre Dame.

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