The SSND Maryland Celebration fundraising event invited alumni from all of the Maryland schools and parishes in which the School Sisters had once taught or are currently teaching to gather in one place. Usually, these students attend only the reunions of the schools from which they graduated. However, the opportunity to catch up with the religious women who have had such an impact on their lives drew 300 people for this special event. Thanks to generous donors who sponsored tickets for the Sisters, more than 70 of them were able to attend.
Archbishop William Lori was in attendance to show his support for the SSNDs and to honor their history in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Numerous other clergy were also in attendance. Bishop Mark E. Brennan, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore, offered the blessing.
The evening included entertainment by students from the Institute of Notre Dame (IND) and Notre Dame Preparatory School (NDP), both of which were founded by the Sisters. There was also a silent auction, raffles, and the introduction of SSND’s first Philanthropy Recognition Award for Outstanding Volunteer.
The inaugural award was presented posthumously to Jacqueline Marie Buedel. Taught by SSNDs throughout her educational years, Jackie volunteered frequently at her alma mater, NDP, and for the SSNDs and other charitable organizations. At the time of her death, Jackie was Director of Academic and Career Development at Caroline Center, a sponsored ministry of the School Sisters of Notre Dame’s Atlantic-Midwest Province. Jackie’s mother, Marilyn Buedel accepted the award on her behalf.
Master of Ceremonies Tom Mooney led a roll call of nearly 30 schools where SSNDs had taught whose attendees were present at the event. Some had come from as far away as Hagerstown in Western Maryland. “It was truly an honor to attend the Maryland Celebration of the 185th anniversary of the School Sisters of Notre Dame on May 7th,” said JoAnn Spinnato Stelmack, IND Class of ‘72. “It was fun to reminisce with classmates and former teachers, who left an indelible mark on me during my time at IND, and to hear of the many wonderful deeds the School Sisters continue to do. I am forever grateful to them.”
Sister Charmaine Krohe, Provincial Leader of the Atlantic-Midwest Province, ended the evening with a presentation entitled Blessed Mother Theresa’s Vision Alive Today: Past, Present and Future. It touched on the rich history of the congregation in the area, as well as the ministry work the Sisters of the Atlantic-Midwest Province are doing not only in Baltimore but around the world.
“The School Sisters of Notre Dame, an international congregation of women religious with more than 2300 members, serve in more than 30 countries around the world,” says Sister Charmaine. “We have over 160 Sisters living and serving in the Maryland community. The Sisters remain dedicated to the belief that the world can be transformed through education. In addition to the classroom, SSNDs serve in parish ministry, pastoral care and spiritual direction, health care settings, job training centers and facilities for the homeless ― wherever the greatest need calls them. In all cases, our Sisters are women of prayer and seekers of social justice.”
The proceeds generated from the event will benefit the SSND’s ongoing effort to educate the next generation to become SSND-inspired leaders, living their lives to their full potential and making Christ visible to others through them. The Atlantic-Midwest Province supports ministry formation and orientation of leaders and faculty in their sponsored schools and ministries. In gratitude for their years of service, donations will also enable senior Sisters to receive quality care and support in province residences.