In August of 2021, the School Sisters of Notre Dame living at Villa Notre Dame in Wilton engaged in a significant transition by moving into a senior living facility, The Watermark, in Bridgeport CT. As we embraced the challenge of living our religious life in this new setting, residents began expressing an interest in getting to know more about us as a congregation.
On Foundation Day, October 24, 2022, the Sisters invited residents and staff to a presentation of the Story of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Sr. Kay O’Connell crafted the Power Point with slides researched from our website, coordinated by Sr. Pat Hammond. The story spanned the history of the SSNDs from 1833 to the present. The script was reflectively read by Sr. Shawn Kavanagh and Sr. Virginia Stasium.
After the PowerPoint, Sr. Peg Regan engaged the assembly in a time of reflection and sharing what they had heard. Before the presentation, Sr. Rosanne Mensik welcomed guests. She invited them to view the posters giving highlights of our story, which were created and artistically displayed across the back of the auditorium by Sr. Justine Nutz.
Sr. Bea Ste. Marie narrated the presentation, weaving in insights about the transition that all residents experienced by leaving behind them their home, some cherished memories, and a lifestyle they held dear. She focused on the reality that we all have a story to share and the hope that as we continue to get to know each other, all our lives will be enriched.
Last year’s Foundation Day video capped off the sharing with pictures of Sisters from around the world woven into Mother Caroline’s words and prayers. You could hear the buzz in the packed auditorium as residents spotted Sister residents they knew living with them at Watermark. The Sisters sang our traditional blessing as a thank you to all the residents who came to hear our story. As the Sisters sang to their new friends at Watermark, you could feel a hallowed reverence.
Something else happened at that Foundation Day gathering. The spirit of community was deepened and strengthened. The interest and affirmation of the residents touched our hearts. SSND and its spirit of unity and community are flourishing at The Watermark.