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Posts Tagged ‘Thousand Oaks’

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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Inspiring Catholic school educators with the charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame is one of Sister Marie Paul Grech’s top priorities. Put simply, that charism (or what the sisters believe) is that God is good and provides for us. They strive to look at the world with hope; and what could be more important in a classroom than a positive attitude?

Sister Marie Paul loves this part of her ministry. Her love for teachers and her respect for the role they play in the lives of their students shows in her dedication to faculty and staff retreats.

“These men and women who give of themselves so generously to touch the hearts of the young are always an inspiration to me. It’s a real joy to continue spreading our Notre Dame charism and spirit,” Sister said.

She taught secondary school for more than 30 years in Ventura and LA counties, as well as in the sisters’ mission in Uganda, Africa. Armed with her faith and a lifetime of experience as a sister, Sister Marie Paul shows others how to infuse their classrooms with joy and compassion.

“Teachers continue our mission in our sponsored and affiliate schools where we are no longer physically present. God’s call to teachers in every Catholic school is vibrant and it is my joy to be part of their ongoing response to that call,” she said.

Sister recently led a retreat for 20 teachers from Saint Jude the Apostle School in Westlake, Calif. The retreat began with a morning Mass and breakfast, followed by small group discussions and a video presentation.DSC_0455

“Your job” Sister Marie Paul told the group “is to help children connect the dots- between science and religion, between what they learn on the playground and in the classroom. Your job is to teach them how to learn.”

Deana Herrera (pictured at right in the photo below) has taught at Saint Jude the Apostle School for seven years. She was motivated to apply Sister Marie Paul’s lessons in her fourth-grade classroom.

“Her positive spirit reminds us to see the good in our everyday lives,” Herrera said. “Sometimes when things don’t go as planned, one of my students will say something really funny. Those moments are God saying ‘Lighten up!’”DSC_0470

Sister Marie Paul is the coordinator of Kindred Hearts Ministries (KHM). KHM offers prayer programs, spiritual events, retreats and many other services for local parishioners provided by the Sisters of Notre Dame. To learn more about KHM, visit www.sndca.org/khm or email Sister Marie Paul at mgrech@sndca.org. Click here for the KHM calendar of events.

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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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If you sign up for the Nun Run 5K, you will be the proud recipient of a Nun Run t-shirt, a savory pancake breakfast, great company and a goodie bag with impressive coupons; but did you know you’ll also be doing something good for the planet?

Since the sisters are very concerned with caring for the earth, all participants will get a Virtual Event Bag instead of a regular goodie bag. Instead of filling a goodie bag with paper coupons and booklets-  which costs a few trees – everything can be retrieved on your preferred electronic device. Isn’t that so cool? If you use your iPhone or iPad to retrieve your coupons, just take your device to the store to get your items. No printing of the coupons – it’s all paperless! This is awesome!!!

Many sisters are making gigantic steps in reducing their carbon footprints on this wondrous earth of ours. They do this by using fewer plastic water bottles, bringing reusable shopping bags to the store, taking shorter showers, washing full loads, recycling and reusing as much as possible.  What are you doing to make a small difference?  Do you have a household plan and appropriate containers for sorting your trash?  Do you know where to take old batteries, electronics, medicine, light bulbs and other hazardous waste?

As committed folks who want the best future for our children and grandchildren, we need to continually educate ourselves about better ways to use the resources and energies of the earth.  Go to your city’s website to be informed about their environmental programs and events.  You will learn much to share with your family, friends and neighbors. And don’t forget to sign up for the Nun Run!

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Gratefully,

Sister Betty Mae Bienlein
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Coordinator for the California Province

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La Reina High School and Middle School, located in Thousand Oaks, California, was founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1964. The school recently announced that it will add a sixth grade class in the 2015-2016 school year. Click here to read more.

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The Sisters of Notre Dame proudly celebrated the success of La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks, California, which was founded by the sisters in 1964. La Reina was recently named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School; an honor given to just 50 private schools in the nation each year by the U.S. Department of Education. Representatives from La Reina enjoyed an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November, and La Reina hosted its own ceremony on November 25. Those in attendance included Congresswoman Julia Brownley.

“This nationally recognized award affirms the hard work of students, educators, families and communities in creating outstanding schools where students gain the knowledge, skills and character to meet 21st century challenges,” Brownley said.

Several Sisters of Notre Dame looked on as La Reina Principal Shannon Gomez accepted congratulations from Thousand Oaks Mayor Claudia Bill-de la-Peña and Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks.

“On behalf of the Sisters of Notre Dame of the California province, and as a member of the Class of 1969, it is my distinct honor to congratulate La Reina’s trustees, administration, faculty, staff and students on being named a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School…We offer our deepest gratitude to all who are partners with us in our important mission and we look forward to great celebrations in 2014, La Reina’s 50th anniversary year,” said Provincial Superior Sister Mary Anncarla Costello.

Sisters attend Blue Ribbon celebration at La Reina.

Sisters attend Blue Ribbon celebration at La Reina.

Provincial Superior Sister Mary Anncarla Costello commends La Reina.

Provincial Superior Sister Mary Anncarla Costello commends La Reina.

Sister Mary Rebekah Kennedy, a teacher at La Reina, and her student.

Sister Mary Rebekah Kennedy, a teacher at La Reina, and her student.

Congresswoman Julia Brownley congratulates students, staff and faculty.

Congresswoman Julia Brownley congratulates students, staff and faculty.

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