"My litany of experiences as a School Sister of Notre Dame can fill volumes - memories of living in Colombia, serving as director of a newly created English department at the Javeriana University and having to classify 5,000 students was a biggy. Imagine a high school teacher taking on that challenge! But when, 'You are sent', you manage! The poverty of more than a hundred displaced victims roaming acres of abandoned desert land outside of Asuncion, Paraguay, paralyzed me. But there was no time to waste!
This is a time of great jubilation and joy. We have 3,830 cumulative years of service to God represented on these pages. Sisters' year of profession range from 1937 to 1967. These sisters are authentic witnesses to the certainty that a life lived in the scriptures shapes a universal heart and rallies the global soul.
It is also a time of thanksgiving - we rejoice because in the service and consecrated life of sisters, we are witness to justice, tender love and humility.
"What has meant the most to me during my 60 years as a School Sister of Notre Dame, is the people in my life. My greatest grace has been the sisters I have lived and worked with, and the people I have worked with and for - and especially all of the children."
Sister Carol Ann Graf
"Without a doubt, the greatest grace I have received as a School Sister of Notre Dame is seeing the world 'from the underside.' I studied Spanish my early twenties, because at St. Alphonsus in Chicago, it was a need that was not being addresses at that time. Learning Spanish opened up my world and I eventually spent 17 years in Paraguay, confronting many unexpected needs, learning along with the people as we went. A line from the poem by Antonio Machado sums it up, Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar." (Traveler, there is no road. The road is made by walking.)
"The greatest grace over my 50-year journey has been the openness to hear God's call in different stages of my life. I heard God's invitation to respond to various educational ministries to help foster faith formation, especially in children and adults. I experienced the gift of living in community in three Canadian provinces - Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. God gave me these opportunities for growth and I, in turn, know that I empowered growth in others. One of my inspirational quotes is "A tiny seed can fill a field with flowers.'"
"God's world is filled with his grace and he is forever offering this to us. My SSND community opened my eyes to this love by helping to deepen my knowledge and spirituality. Those who shared my journey, sisters, family and friends, all touched me in unique ways. My years in Nigeria exposed me to a different culture, stretching me to a deeper understanding of those who are different from me. I was enriched by all. The challenges I faced helped me discern what God's will was for me. I have found a deep peace knowing that in all circumstances, God is for us, with us, and in us.
"I loved teaching the younger grades. I love the little first graders because they were like little flowers - and they bloomed when you taught them. My greatest grace was finding out that life is a blessing."
Sister Mary Ann Wood
Sister Mary Ann Wood ministered in Bolivia for 27 years.
"One of the greatest graces for me was to visit and experience our sisters in many parts of the world, as a member of the general council. I found these ecclesial women in parish and ecumenical settings, and supporting cultural creativity and diversity. Engaged in a variety of ministries, they were walking in Theresa's footsteps, preferring the poor and educating with a world vision - this, even in circumstances of political restrictions where options were limited."
Sister Glora Seifried
Peace River, Alberta
"When I entered SSND in 1955 my intent was to be a teacher. I was trained in the fine aspects of education - what to do in the classrtoom, the how-tos, and all the ins and outs of educating for the future. Over the years I ministered to an agricultural community in Wisconsin; a middle class university, a blue collar community, a migrant Hispanic group and an African American community in Illinois. Connecting with these people and cultures have truly been blessings. The past 60 years have indeed been years of many blessings."