The Jubilarians of 2020, who were unable to have their traditional provincial Jubilee ceremony at Villa Notre Dame in Wilton last May, gathered on Zoom last weekend with the Jubilarians of 2021 to celebrate their milestone years as School Sisters of Notre Dame. The theme was “Deep Gratitude for God’s Faithfulness.” On Friday, April 30, Sister Rosemary Howarth led a special retreat session for all the Jubilarians who were able to participate. Sisters in Baltimore, Chicago, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Canada, Wilton and even London signed in to share with each other in both the large group and smaller individual groups. Afterward, they were given a link to watch a video from Sister Barbara Bowers that would guide them in their personal reflections that day.
The joyful Jubilarians gathered again on Saturday, May 1 for a Mass broadcast on Zoom (for the Jubilarians) and Livestream (for family and friends) from Wilton, where they would have gathered together in person during a normal year. This is the new normal, though, where celebrations still have to take place remotely.
“Sisters, we have all experienced some type of storms, fears, and losses during our journey as SSNDs, but we have also known the wonderful joys, the religious experiences, the ‘WOW’ moments, and the unconditional love, forgiveness, and embrace of our God as we journeyed to this day of Jubilee,” Sister Carole Tabano said in the Call to Worship. “Our losses of sister Jubilarians, the sufferings endured during the pandemic, the challenges and transitions that have been part of our lives have not been easy, and yet we are here today as signs and witnesses of God's love. We are signs of women of faith and dedication. We are signs that we have walked through the storm, held our heads up high, and have seen the sun!” She added that she and the other Jubilarians are part of Christ’s ongoing love story.
Fortunately, the province IT team was well-prepared to broadcast the Mass so that the Jubilarians and their family and friends could all share in the celebration online. While Reverend Frank Hoffman presided over the Mass in Wilton, Sisters from around the province contributed readings and song via video. Provincial Leader Sister Charmaine Krohe, broadcasting from her office in Baltimore, offered the reflection.
After the conclusion of the Mass, a Power Point spotlighting all of the Jubilarians was shared. It ended with a video of fireworks to celebrate this wonderful milestone in the lives of our Sisters. Thanks to the blessings of the COVID vaccine, which most of the Sisters in the province have received, small gatherings were then held throughout the province to celebrate the Jubilarians.
In Baltimore, Sisters were treated to exquisite flower arrangements for the chapel prepared by the Franciscan Missionaries of the Holy Rosary Sisters from Vietnam who are currently living at Villa Assumpta. In Wilton, a special meal was held to not only honor the Jubilarians but also the kitchen staff who prepared such a wonderful meal for their special day. Many Sisters in the Chicagoland area gathered at Marian Village to watch the Mass together and share a meal, while Sister Carole Brunner came to Resurrection Life to visit with Jubilarian Sister Cabrini Ganz. Sisters in Waterdown, Ontario, at Ozanam in Queens, and many in Florida also came together to watch the proceedings and celebrate the special anniversaries of their Sisters. Sister Miriam Bruder joined the Jubilarian activities from England, while Sister Carole Tabano tuned in from New Jersey, where she was honored by her parish at Mass the next day, renewing her vows during the service.