Associate since 2005
“It gives me another branch of my spirituality.”
Donna Schissler was first introduced to the School Sisters of Notre Dame through her work at Notre Dame of Maryland University, first as an administrative assistant and now as an advisor to students pursuing their Master’s degree.
“The sisters are very much involved with helping the underprivileged and that is very much something I strive for in my life, too,” she said.
But religion and spirituality had always called to her in life. She previously worked for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and taught Sunday School at her local parish. But working with School Sisters of Notre Dame at NDMU made her want to be more engaged.
More than 10 years ago she started the yearlong process to become an Associate and worked with S. Sharon Slear, her sponsor. They met monthly as she prepared to become an Associate and the pair continued to meet after Donna made her first covenant.
“It gives me another branch of my spirituality,” Donna said. “I love learning things, learning new ideas, and being with the sisters who really are spiritual. And I especially enjoy participating in their prayer groups.”
In addition to prayer, Donna says she helps the sisters collect items to donate to Wilson House. Wilson House is a substance abuse treatment center for women in east Baltimore.
Donna says she admires the sisters and the life commitment they’ve made but adds that the sisters understand it’s not for everyone.
“They’re very respectful to the people who are Associates in that they understand this isn’t our entire life, but we are choosing to give some of our time,” she said.
She recommends the Associate Relationship to anyone who wants to learn more about the School Sisters of Notre Dame. She says it’s comforting to belong to something.
“I would tell someone that I think it’s a good base organization to join. Your life ebbs and flows and sometimes you have more time to give and other times you have to step back and be in prayer for a while,” Donna said. “I like knowing that it’s there, that I can draw from the SSNDs if I need and give to them when I can.”