A Visit to Siena
Some sisters were determined to climb the hundreds of steps of one of the three towers in Siena, from where they had a panoramic view of the entire city and its surroundings, which was quite spectacular as the weather was warm and the sky clear.
Another attraction was the Piazza del Campo, a large open space in the center of the city where the annual horse race called “Palio” takes place on July 2 and August 16. Wearing traditional costumes and carrying their emblems, inhabitants of the 17 districts of the city participate in a parade, after which 10 of them are represented by a horse and rider in the race which marks the culmination point of the day. Many of us had watched the parade and horse race on TV, and now we can imagine even better the Piazza in which it takes place.
For most of us some delicious Italian ice cream topped off the day, and we returned to Rome with beautiful memories of one of the medieval treasures of Italy.
Eleven women begin International Formation Program
in the Philippines
On April 8, 2013, eleven young women who desire to share our way of life as Sisters of Notre Dame began the new formation program in Iloilo City, Philippines. Accompanied by their directresses or superiors, three women from Indonesia, one from Papua New Guinea, four from South Korea, and three from Vietnam arrived in their new community, where they will live during their second year of postulancy. Each of them has been with the Sisters of Notre Dame in her own country for the first year of postulancy, gradually being introduced to religious life. In Iloilo, the first six months will be mainly dedicated to the intense study of English, followed by World History, Church History, Congregational History and basic catechesis, as well as the preparation for entrance into the novitiate.
After the arrival, the first hurdles of communication in a foreign language were quickly overcome with love and laughter along with everyone’s earnest efforts. Sister Marie Susanna and Sister Maria Yoanita, the sisters in charge of the formation program, prepared the house with much care. The postulants will share three bedrooms and take turns in cooking the meals for the group.
A special prayer service that marked the official beginning was shaped by the internationality of the group, asking the Holy Spirit for guidance and offering Marian hymns in different languages. May each one find peace and joy as she deepens her relationship with Jesus Christ.
More photos are available here.
New Member for Motherhouse Community
On March 26, 2013, the sisters in Casa Madre welcomed Sister Marie So-Wha Kwak from South Korea in their midst. As Sister Mary Kristin wrote in her letter of March 19, 2013, Sister Marie So-Wha will take over the responsibility as webmaster of our snd1.org website that will be launched officially this spring. She has already begun to work with Sister Mary Jaculin, who will return to Toledo in May. Most recently Sister Marie So-Wha was provincial secretary in the province of Incheon, South Korea, and she has been a translator at the last general chapter and at other international meetings. Welcome to Rome and to Casa Madre, dear Sister Marie So-Wha!
Thank you for your prayers!
As most SNDs will know, Sister Mary Shobana, one of our Indian missionaries in Tanzania, Africa, was attacked by three gunmen on the way back from the bank on Saturday, March 16. They shot her at the left arm and leg. Three bullets were removed from her body on Saturday.
On Sunday evening, Sister Mary Sreeja, assistant general from India, left for Tanzania to support the sisters there at this challenging time. She arrived there on Monday around 1:00 pm and immediately went to the hospital to see Sister M. Shobana.
Sister M. Shobana's left upper arm has one bullet wound. Luckily that bullet just crossed her arm without breaking any bones. This will heal. Her left leg below the knee has suffered two shots which have badly fractured her leg and left a wound inflicted by the bullet. For this she needs to have an operation.
This morning, Tuesday, Sisters Satya and Sreeja together with a professional medical assistant were able to accompany Sr. M. Shobana in the medical flying squad from Arusha to Nairobi, Kenya. After a CT scan at Agha Khan University Hospital in Nairobi and several other medical tests, no infection and no blood clots were found. It was decided to do the surgery tomorrow, Wednesday, at 9:00 am.
Sister Mary Shobana and all our sisters in Tanzania and Kenya are deeply touched by the love and concern shown by friends, co-workers, Sisters of Notre Dame all around the world and many others. They wish to thank everyone for their concern and ask us to continue to pray.
March 20: Sister M. Shobana’s surgery was postponed because the doctors found some other medical needs in her that need to be addressed first. We will keep you informed as the situation unfolds.
March 23, 2013: We received word that Sister Mary Shobana was able to have the necessary surgery on her leg yesterday, Friday. Everything went well and we continue to entrust our sister to God’s healing power.
Training for Formators
As Sister Mary Kristin wrote in her letter dated January 15, 2013, the two sisters who will be in charge of the new formation program in Iloilo in the Philippines, Sister Marie Susanna (Incheon) and Sister Maria Yoanita (Pekalongan) came to Rome for some training. Sister Maria Klaudia (Pekalongan), the local superior of the community in Iloilo, has joined them. Sister Maria Alcidia, the general assistant in charge of formation, is coordinating their program. They have already enjoyed interactive sessions with Sister Mary Patricia Dorobek, our coordinator for Justice, Peace and the Integration of Creation, and they are gaining many insights about what is important in the formation program for postulants.
On February 16 and 17, Sister Mary Kristin offered the leadership workshop to them and the group of sisters under the age of 60 in the motherhouse. The participants were happy to learn more about different styles of leadership, contemplative dialog, cultural differences, as well as other topics, and had very lively times of sharing and practice.
Until March 16, the two formators and Sister Maria Klaudia will meet with members of the general administration, who will offer input on significant items regarding the formation period.
Photo 1: Sisters Maria Yoanita, Maria Klaudia, Maria Alcidia, Marie Susanna and Mary Patricia Dorobek
Photo 2: The participants in the leadership workshop
Blessing of the Wisma Hana
After much planning and work the Wisma Hana, which will be home for our elderly Sisters, was completed. The blessing of this new residence took place on January 22, 2013. Holy Mass was offered by Father Sheko at 5 PM, in front of the Wisma Hana garden.
Sister Mary Robertine, the Provincial of Our Lady of Good Counsel Province, provided Wisma Hana as living space for the elder Sisters, hopeful that these Sisters could live the spirituality of prophet Hana, who for her lifetime stayed in the house of God, praying and waiting for the Savior.
In his homily Father Sheko also expressed the hope that the sisters would enjoy with gladness their stay in Wisma Hana. He said that the sisters have the same spirituality, although they never choose or ask with whom they will live. The sisters will be able to see their togetherness here as a gift from God since God Himself has chosen them and put them in this community. After completing his homily Father walked around to bless the house, while the sisters were praying the Rosary.
After mass, Father blessed the “tumpeng” after which Sister Mary Robertin cut it and gave it as a “Thank You” symbol to the committee who had helped us build Wisma Hana.* After this ceremony, we had a very simple dinner. This event was attended only by Sisters, Aspirants, and the Building Committee. Even though we had only a simple dinner everyone involved delighted in enjoying the provided meals.
Here are some of the Sisters who will be residents of Wisma Hana. We can see the different expressions on their faces. The pictures were taken during the Mass and at the meal. We can see that their faces are full of hope as they soon will be the residents of Wisma Hana.
Wisma Hana is airy and open. It is our hope that all sisters who live in this house will always be open and willing to accept everyone into the community, with their advantages and disadvantages, as members of the Wisma Hana community. This hope was presented by Sister Mary Robertin in her message for all sisters who will be the members of that community.
Welcome to your new house, dear Sisters !
(See more photos here.)
...were pleasantly surprised to meet again in Casa Madre this week. Sister Mary Joell Overman (right) from Covington, KY, USA, our superior general from 1986 to 1998, came to Rome on May 11 in preparation for her assistance with the new spirituality center in Coesfeld. She has been working with Sister Maria Julindis and Sister Mary Sreeja, who will be accompanying the first spirituality course from May 27 to June 17. Before she came, she had no idea that just three days after her, Sister Maria Mechtilde Kotterik (left) from Germany, who was part of the general government with her, would also come to Rome to spend a few days of vacation in the motherhouse. What a happy reunion!
On May 14, 2013, we said goodbye to Sister Mary Jaculin Manders from the province of Toledo, OH, USA. Sister M. Jaculin came to the Motherhouse in September 2011 to assist with work in the archives, computer training, and English classes. Then she was asked to assist with the project of setting up a new website and function as the webmaster in the early months. So Sister Mary Jaculin put her manifold skills at the service of the motherhouse and the congregation and added a joyful spirit to our local community. As her knees were giving her some trouble, she now returned to Toledo for a replacement surgery, and when she is “up and running” again, the next adventure is already in store for her: She is assigned to go to Papua New Guinea and help the sisters there to further develop their skills in English, computer technology, and administration. Thank you for your presence among us, dear Sister Mary Jaculin, we send our prayers with you as you embrace what the future holds.
Easter with the Youth of Peru
We still keep an echo of the Easter celebration in our heart. It was beautiful here in Peru! In our mission we always have opportunities of new experiences.
The celebration of Easter was a gratifying experience. Every year, during the Paschal Triduum, the Pontifical Missionaries Works (PMW) organize the Easter celebration for the youth in different Dioceses of Peru. In order to participate in this celebration we invite young people from different areas, especially those whose experience of faith is not so strong.
As Archdiocesan Coordinator of the PMW of Trujilo, Sister Maria Roselaine, SND, shared in the coordination and the organization of the event. There were different activities for the youth such as times of formation and reflection regarding the Paschal mystery, games and dynamics of integration, celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.
The 435 participants were divided into five groups, and each group received the name of a continent. There were 46 university students who also participated in those five groups and were responsible for their coordination. It was amazing to see the enthusiasm and the joy of these coordinators. Thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit and to the engagement of each young person, the Easter celebration was a success.
On Holy Thursday we started the celebration and all of them were animated and showing great disposition to participate. On Holy Saturday we concluded the celebration with the presence of 350 young people. This high number of participants at the end of the celebration showed their great perseverance, since every day they needed to go back home to sleep and return on the following day.
We could feel in these young ones great thirst for God and sensibility for the things of God. It was a great joy to see how many participated during the whole celebration. Now we are challenged to help them to continue on their journey of faith. We recommend them to the prayers of the sisters. This is Mission! We are here engaged in the mission and you are there, like Moses, continually lifting up your arms and your hearts in prayer, asking the blessings of God.
A Special Guest
If you are familiar with the Word on Fire Ministry (see www.wordonfire.org) and the DVD series on Catholicism then you know Father Robert Barron. Father’s DVDs have been widely viewed throughout the United States and will soon be available in many other languages besides English. In the Motherhouse we have been watching the set on Catholicism throughout this Year of Faith and have greatly enjoyed them. We found out that Father was here in Rome with NBC News to be a commentator for all the events surrounding the Conclave and Inauguration of Pope Francis. Sister M. Kharita, a member of our Motherhouse community who follows Father’s website and blogs, came up with the idea of inviting Father for supper. Encouraged by the rest of the community, with the assistance of Sister M. Shauna, she sent Father Barron an email invitation. Much to our delight Father responded that he would like to join us for supper. And so on March 17th we were honored with his presence. Sister M. Elke and Sister M. Kharita picked Father up at his hotel and brought him to the Motherhouse. The entire community enjoyed a long “happy hour” chatting with Father and finding out all kinds of interesting information about the filming of his series. After this we enjoyed a pizza supper with special St. Patrick’s Day cookies baked by Sister Linda Marie. Father told us he is 100% Irish and loved our decorations for the feast of St. Patrick. We have invited Father to join us whenever he is in Rome. He said he had enjoyed the evening and would indeed do that.
New ministry on the motherhouse property
On January 7, 2013, with the beginning of school after the Christmas holidays, a group of lively children has moved onto our property. As Sister Mary Kristin wrote in her letter of April 9, 2012, the “New School” next door to us had been showing interest in renting some of our back property adjacent to their school. The “New School” is an English School, serving the needs of the international community in Rome by offering British education for students from age 3 to age 18.
Negotiations led to them renting the space of our second greenhouse as well as the rooms underneath. The greenhouse was demolished and a prefabricated building was put up in the same space, while the rooms below received bigger windows, now providing a beautiful space for four classrooms and three science labs with lots of daylight. Using the old cobblestones from our road which were still stored there, the wilderness next to the greenhouse was transformed into an area where the children can take their breaks. As the weather gets warmer, wooden tables and benches will be set up.
It’s nice to have the students around, and we are very happy that a space which we have not been using can serve the purpose of education – right in line with one of our cherished traditional ministries.
Sisters of Notre Dame share in preparation for the World Youth Day - Rio 2013
Come and See Experience in Uganda
During the week of January 6, fourteen Ugandan Women from the Kibaale, Masindi, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Kabarole and Wakiso Districts participated in a “Come and See” experience. The candidates and sisters in temporary vows provided the Come and See program. During the week presentations on the call to religious life, the history, apostolate, and spirit of the Sisters of Notre Dame were given.
The participants known as “seekers,” prayed with the sisters and candidates, sharing some of our life together. We promised the participants our prayers as they continue their discernment. Currently we have five temporary professed sisters, six novices, six postulants, and ten candidates. The Ugandan Mission has been blessed during the past eighteen years and we ask God’s continued blessings for the future.
Picture 1 is a picture of candidates, Come and See Women,
and Sister Mary Rosaria
Picture 2 is Sisters Mary Rosaria, Mary Sunday, and Mary Immaculate reviewing the schedule for the day.
Picture 3 is of the Come and See participants in a presentation.
Picture 4 is of Sister Mary Colette with one of the participants.
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