Were Your Ears Ringing - Observations from Jubilee 2023

By Sister Mary Roy Weiss, SSND

“Were your ears ringing?”  We were talking about you, the Sister Jubilarians of 2023, as we celebrated the Province Jubilee on Saturday, September 9, 2023.

The planning committee of Sisters Anne Marie Gardiner, Celeste Reinhart, and Rebecca Tayag pulled out all the bells and whistles (thus, more ear ringing!) to present five engaging pre-Jubilee reflection sessions and then, ultimately, the actual Province Jubilee celebration program.  All of their work was evident in the coordination of the Sister Jubilarians who offered their formal and informal pictures to grace our Zoom and livestream views.

The overall theme of the celebration was entitled “Graced by Love,” excerpted from Sister Roxanne Schares’ 2023 letter to the Jubilarians.  Portions of that letter were read by Sister Gracia Kloch (Gold and Ruby 70-year Jubilarian). The entire letter was a call from Sister Roxanne, our General Superior, to BE JUBILEE for the world now and into the future.

The  2023 Jubilarians, each holding a lit candle in their shared photos, graced the opening of the presentation.  Sister Charmaine Krohe, Provincial Leader, greeted  and addressed the Jubilarians with enthusiasm, thereby setting the tone for the day.

Scripture readings from Leviticus 25, Isaiah 61, and Luke 4 were read in that order by Sister Mary Fitzgerald (Diamond 60-year Jubilarian), Sister Jeanne McGue (Diamond and Pearl 80-year Jubilarian), and Sister Lucy Giacchetti (Gold and Ruby 70-year Jubilarian).  The video song “This is the Day” preceded these readings and followed them as a response.

After Sister Maureen Sweeney (Diamond 60-year Jubilarian) read from our constitution You Are Sent and Sister Mary Gracia Kloch (Gold and Ruby 70-year Jubilarian) read a portion of Sister Roxanne’s letter, the three-part Latin rendition of the Magnificat, which was traditionally sung by SSNDs in formal liturgies and celebrations, was proclaimed.  The music was accompanied by pictures of our Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger, Foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, as depicted in various media including paintings, sketches, sculpted works, photographs, and stained glass from around the world where our Sisters live and minister.

At Sister Charmaine’s invitation, Sister Theresa Lamy (Diamond 60-year Jubilarian) led the renewal of vows, proclaimed by our Sister Jubilarians and by any SSNDs “in attendance” as viewers.

Each year at Jubilee time, the Province gives a gift to the Jubilarians.  This year, the decision was made to contribute $2,000 in honor of the Jubilarians to support the work of our congregation in South Sudan. “On October 12, 2020, four School Sisters of Notre Dame from four parts of the Congregation, arrived in Juba, South Sudan to begin a new missionary partnership with the Franciscan Friars in Holy Trinity Parish in Juba and with the Comboni Missionaries in Old Fangak.”  

The gift echoes Sister Roxanne’s message in her Jubilee Letter 2023:  “Empowered by Love, we come to realize that nothing and no one can be excluded from our concern.” The current gift was offered with gratitude and joy!

After Sister Charmaine’s Thank You message, delivered “live” on the screen, Sister Kate Whalen (Diamond 60-year Jubilarian), along with the entire Jubilee class of 2023, extended hands in blessing each other, those viewing the livestream, and all people around the world. 

The closing music included a showcase of all of the 2023 Jubilarians, with their formally and informally set pictures, which included many glimpses of family members, friends, former students and colleagues.  What a beautiful way to conclude the celebration!

The end was not in sight after the livestream concluded, since many Jubilarians remained on their Zoom link to chat informally about the celebration and their experiences over the last months in preparation with each other to meet this Jubilee day with fulfilled expectations!  

They followed through with the preparations on the five themes of Jubilee expounded by Maria Harris in her book Proclaim Jubilee! (Jubilee and Land, Jubilee and Forgiveness, Proclaim Liberty throughout the Land, Jubilee and Justice, and Jubilee-Hold a Great Feast). The Jubilarians met to reflect and share on these themes in the months leading up to their Province Jubilee celebration.

They were rewarded by continuing to “visit” with their Sister Jubilarians on all these occasions. In years gone by “May God reward you!” was a frequently used expression by SSNDs after hearing the words “Thank You!” spoken in any greeting to them.  Those words will live on, by and for the Jubilarians, as they finish their year of Jubilee remembrances.  

Dear 2023 Jubilarians, may your ears keep ringing with Jubilee bells sounding our praise and thanks to God for each of you!

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