General Visitation in Africa
December 26 through January 26 Sisters Mary Kristin, Maria Alcidia, Mary Shauna and Mary Sreeja were on visitation in Africa. It was a rewarding experience to meet the new candidates and to spend time with the postulants and novices in formation in Njiro (Arusha) Tanzania. In all there are currently 37 candidates: 21 in Mozambique, 10 in Uganda and 6 in Tanzania/Kenya. In the international novitiate there are 11 novices and 13 postulants. We have 18 African sisters who have made temporary vows and 4 African sisters who have made their perpetual profession. There are 39 sister missionaries; 20 from Patna, India; 9 from Passo Fundo, Brazil; 8 from the United States (5 from Covington, 2 from Thousand Oaks, 1 from Chardon); 2 from Coesfeld, Germany.
It was wonderful to see all the expansion that has taken place since the last Africa Conference held in Uganda in August of 2011. In Tanzania, Notre Dame School is adding a boarding facility, an orphanage is under construction and the sisters have started a new ministry among the Massai. In Mozambique an elementary school is in the first stages of development and the sisters have undertaken the administration of the Archdiocesan Secondary School in Jécua. In Uganda a new preschool has grown rapidly and is being expanded to accommodate 90 students. Our good and provident God is blessing us in many ways.
The Motherhouse Community wishes everyone Happy Christmas!
Standing: Sisters Cormarie (Covington), Mary Patricia Dorobek (Toledo), Mary Tripti (Patna), Mary Kristin Battles (Thousand Oaks), Mary Jaculin Manders (Toledo), Marie MuYoung Cho (Incheon), Maria Alcídia Guareschi (Passo Fundo), Maria Julindis Melis (Coesfeld), Mary Sreeja (Patna), Mary Shauna Bankemper (Covington), Gina Marie Blunck (Thousand Oaks), Maria Canisie Skrabanja (Tegelen), Maria Elke Baumann (Coesfeld), Maria Josefa Cramer (Coesfeld), Mary Karlene Seech (Chardon)
Kneeling: Sisters Maria Moses Kim (Incheon), Marie Insun Kim (Incheon), Deisi Maria Naibo (Canoas), Linda Marie White (Toledo), Mary Supriya (Patna), Maria Kharita Kuil (Pekalongan), Mary Jolene Flynn (Covington), Marie Emma Kim (Incheon)
Sister Mary Kristin’s first experience of Papua New Guinea
Holy Cross Province in Passo Fundo, Brazil,
celebrates 75 years
On Sunday, November 18, about 220 SNDs from the two Brazilian Provinces gathered in Passo Fundo to celebrate the Jubilee of Joy of the Holy Cross Province, established in 1937. Here are the words of Mother Maria Antonie in her Christmas letter to the sisters in Brazil, in 1936: "I would like to announce to you the great joy that our communities in Brazil now form an autonomous Province with the Provincial House and Novitiate in Passo Fundo and dear Mother Maria Valeriana as Provincial Superior. All of you, dear Sisters in Brazil, belong to the new Province of the Holy Cross."
During the joyful mass, presided by the auxiliary bishop of the Diocese, significant events in the history of the Province were brought to mind, highlighting different aspects and personalities and naming very specially the missionaries from Germany who brought the seeds of Notre Dame to Brazil, as well as the 8 Provincial Superiors who led the Province towards the future during these 75 years. The bell brought from Mülhausen in 1928, and now erected in the courtyard of the Notre Dame School, echoed happily during the song of Glory.
A wooden statue of Saint Julie Billiart which belonged to the Novitiate in Mülhausen and was brought to Brazil in 1973 was one of the attractions of the historical display of photographs and objects telling the Province´s story of 75 years.
Our deep gratitude and recognition:
to the good and provident God, who blessed and guided us during these 75 years of sowing, nurturing and harvesting ND fruits;
to Sr. Mary Kristin, Sr. Maria Alcídia and the general government for their support, prayer and gift;
to Sr. Mary Sujita, who sent a supporting message for the day;
to Sr. Mary Joell, who gifted us with her extra special presence and words of encouragement and gratitude;
to Sr. Renete Maria and all sisters of the Our Lady of Aparecida Province, Canoas, who were part of the Holy Cross Province for 25 years until they became an independent Province.
We are all excited and looking forward to next year, when we will celebrate 90 years of the presence of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Brazil.
Passo Fundo, November 18th, 2012
Jubilee of the Coesfeld Crucifix
This year in the city of Coesfeld a jubilee is being celebrated which is of interest to the Sisters of Notre Dame. Seven hundred years ago, the Coesfeld Crucifix was first mentioned in official documents.
Sunday, September 16, was the date of the yearly big procession with the crucifix, in which a replica of the crucifix is carried along the big way of the cross and an outside Mass is celebrated at the so called Small Chapel. During the procession, many medals that have been given as votive gifts by individuals and groups are attached to the crucifix.
In the jubilee year of our Congregation, 2000, we have also added a medal. The round, silver plaque is visible in the center of the photo (hanging on top of a large rectangle). On the front it shows the first seal of our Congregation with an M in the center, surmounted by the cross and surrounded by 12 stars and the hearts of Jesus and Mary, as well as the words “Kloster zu Unserer Lieben Frau in Coesfeld“ [Convent of Our Lady in Coesfeld]. On the reverse side the inscription reads „1850 – 2000, Danke für 150 Jahre Schwestern Unserer Lieben Frau“ [Thank you for 150 years Sisters of Notre Dame]. In addition to a number of our German sisters, also Sister Mary Kristin Battles and Sister Maria Julindis Melis were in attendance, representing the general government, as well as Sister Mary Amala from Patna, India, and Sister Amelia Maria Weschenfelder from Passo Fundo, Brazil, who were in Coesfeld for a conference regarding our Spiritual Center.
During the week preceding the procession, among other special events, homilies about the significance of the crucifix were offered in the parish church of St. Lamberti. Homilists were invited who had worked in the parishes in Coesfeld. On Tuesday, September 11, during the Mass at 5:00 pm, Sister Maria Elisabeth Siegbert, SND, offered a meditation on the crucifix. The text can be downloaded here.
Indian Congregational Pilgrimage 2012
On September 13th, 2012, eight pilgrim Sisters, six from the Patna Province, India, one from the Bangalore Province, India, and one from the Holy Spirit Delegation, Tanzania, were warmly welcomed to the Casa Madre Community, Rome, after the first part of their enriching Congregational pilgrimage in Germany, Tegelen, and Namur.
The long awaited Congregational Pilgrimage began to be a reality for the eight Indian Pilgrims as they were welcomed at the airport in Düsseldorf, Germany on September 1st by Sister Maria Regina and Sister Maria Hilligund from the Coesfeld Province. Sister Maria Hubertine, their experienced and efficient guide, led them through the heart throbbing history of our Congregation at our founding place. They were moved with emotion as they sat and prayed under the Coesfeld Crucifix, where also our first Coesfeld sisters spent many hours.
On September 5th they were heartily welcomed by Sister Maria Birgit and the local community at Marienhain, Vechta. Sister Maria Christa, their cheerful guide, gave them tours of the Professional schools on the property and several other places and churches. Of course a visit to the Liebfrauenschule, the oldest school of our congregation which is located in the city centre, was also included.
On September 8th they were gladly welcomed by Sister Maria Helma and the community in Kloster Mülhausen, which was our motherhouse from 1888 until 1947. Sister Maria Mechtilde as their efficient guide planned every detail of the trips and briefed them with handouts and power points.
The visit to Notre Dame de Namur was indeed an enriching experience for each of them. Praying in front of the relics of St. Julie, our Spiritual Mother, motivated and strengthened them to live out her charism and daring spirit.
The Pilgrims were happy to visit the city of Cologne that upholds a magnificent Cathedral and 24 churches around it. They were amazed to see how well the cities and churches which had suffered much destruction during World War II are reconstructed and maintained.
In the Tegelen, the Netherlands, Sister Maria Odilia and her community were waiting for them. They spent some time visiting elderly Sisters’ quarters, garden and cemetery and prayed in the chapel.
With the assistance of Sister Mary Sreeja and Sister Mary Supriya from the Generalate the pilgrims will spend the remaining two weeks of their journey in Rome having a spiritual renewal. They will explore and appreciate the richness and beauty of Roman culture at the center of the Catholic Church and enjoy the company of the Sisters in the Casa Madre Community. They have already had some wonderful experiences visiting and praying at St. Peter’s Basilica, Mary Major and John Lateran. The pilgrims are certain that more surprises and blessings are waiting for them as they visit Subiaco, Assisi and other places in Rome. The Indian Pilgrims extend their heartfelt thanks to all those Sisters who have contributed to making this pilgrimage a great reality to cherish.
In the picture left to right: Sister Mary Satya (Tanzania), Sister Mary Sunila (Patna), Sister Mary Rosilin (Bangalore), Sister Mary Mridula (Patna), Sister Mary Nidhi (Patna), Sister Mary Arpana (Patna), Sister Mary Nitya (Patna), Sister Mary Pratibha (Patna)
Sisters Mary Kristin, Maria Julindis, Maria Anneliese, and the committee working on how we will tell our Congregational Story and what will be exhibited are meeting in Coesfeld, Germany, from September 14 to 17. Representatives of the Spirituality Committee who met in Rome during August and the professionals engaged to help with the project are also present.
Pictured left to right:
Sr. Maria Margret Koch, Coesfeld, Sr. Amelia Maria Weschenfelder, Passo Fundo, Sr. Maria Hubertine Germann, Coesfeld, Sr. Mary Amala, Patna, Sr. Maria Anneliese Stelzmann, Coesfeld, Sr. Mary Kristin Battles, Generalate, Sr. Maria Julindis Melis, Generalate, Sr. Maria Georgi Wieborg, Coesfeld, Sr. Maria Ambrosa Meurer, Coesfeld, Sr. Marie Teresita Kim, Incheon, (with her back to the camera: Sr. Maria Almuth Göke, Coesfeld; not visible: Sr. Maria Mechtilde Kotterik, Coesfeld)
Visit to Campos Novos
On September 29, 1950 a poor farmer by the name of Otacilio Ribeiro, age 29, arrived at the hospital. He had a very large tumor in his abdomen. Because his condition was very serious Dr. Jahn Martins Ribeiro (not related to Otacilio) said it would be necessary to perform surgery immediately. During surgery when the doctor saw how advanced the tumor was he closed Otacilio’s incision and informed the family that he had only a few hours to live. On September 30, three of our sister nurses, Sister Maria Ludvine, Sister Maria Bardona, and Sister Maria Adelaide placed a relic of Mother Julie on the abdomen of Otacilio and began a novena with him for a cure.
On October 1, 1950, one hundred years to the day of our founding as a Congregation, St. Julie interceded for Otacilio and he was completely cured of his terminal cancer. This was a miracle and a confirmation for us as spiritual daughters of St. Julie: a third miracle for the third Congregation following her spiritual path.
Today, the hospital room where this miracle occurred is a small chapel which has been restored recently by the Canoas Province. The altar is placed directly over the spot where Otacilio’s hospital bed had been. (See picture)
Otacilio and his daughter Julie (born after the miracle) along with Dr. Riberiro attended the canonization of St. Julie in Rome in 1969.
Visitation in the Rome Delegation
The official visitation of the Sacred Heart Delegation here in Rome took place from August 19th to August 25th. Sister Mary Kristin, Sister Maria Alcidia, and Sister Maria Julindis enjoyed this time with the sisters at Via Como sharing information on the growth and activities of the Congregation. There were community discussions concerning our SND spirituality as well as planning for the future. Good meals, spirited conversations, and the simple joys of being together marked this brief but rich time of visitation.
The General Councils of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Amersfoort, and Coesfeld have been meeting every two years. This year's meeting, hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at their Generalate in Rome, took place February 13th-16th. Our days together were spent in prayer and reflection, discussion on religious life, and input on inter-faith dialogue. The energy and enthusiasm we experienced reflect the conviction that the flame of goodness birthed in St. Julie's vision continues to burn brightly in all three Congregations. The Namur General Council consists of four American Sisters and one Sister from the Congo. Four Indonesian Sisters make up the General Council of the Amersfoort Sisters. Our General Council is the most International! A joint statement on the outcomes from the meeting will be published in the near future.
Opening of the Year of Faith
On Thursday, October 11, 2012, the Holy Father Benedict XVI presided at the Eucharistic celebration at 10 am, on St. Peter’s Square marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and launching the year of Faith. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and the Primate of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, together with over 400 cardinals and bishops were among those attending. The solemn mass was enriched by several signs: The long solemn entrance procession, the enthronement of the Holy Scripture used during Vatican II and the consignment of seven final Messages delivered at the close of The Council by Pope Paul VI.
In his homily Pope Benedict XVI reminded us to enter more deeply into the spiritual movement of Vatican II and live its true meaning. He added that its true meaning was and remains faith in Christ, the apostolic faith, animated by the inner desire to communicate Christ to individuals and all people. He also mentioned that if today the Church proposes a new Year of Faith and a new evangelization, it is not to honor an anniversary, but because there is more need of it, even more than there was fifty years ago!
Among the thousands gathered from all over the world at St. Peter’s Square on Thursday were some of the Sisters from our International Community in Casa Madre who participated in the celebration with much joy and enthusiasm. In preparation for the Year of Faith, the Casa Madre Community has taken some resolutions. One of them is to watch and reflect on a series of DVDs on faith. The Sisters are looking forward to the opportunities this year will provide in terms of Spiritual growth.
BACK: Sister Maria Alcidia, Sister Mary Kristin, Sister Mary Shauna MIDDLE: Sister Maria Almuth, Sister Maria Julindis, Sister Mary Kathleen, Sister Mary Renee FRONT: Sister Mary Amala, Sister Maria Benedetta, Sister Mary Sreeja, Sister Marie Emma, Sister Amelia Maria
The General Government - Sister Mary Kristin, Sister Maria Julindis, Sister Maria Alcidia, Sister Mary Shauna, Sister Mary Sreeja, and Sister Marie Emma along with Sister Mary Amala Moloparampil (Patna), Sister Amelia Maria Weschenfelder (Passo Fundo), Sister Maria Almuth Goeke (Coesfeld), Sister Maria Benedetta Gurschler (Rome Delegation), Sister Mary Kathleen Burns (Thousand Oaks), and Sister Mary Renee Nienaber (Covington) met from August 5 to 15 at the Generalate to prepare a program that will take place in the new Spirituality Center in Germany. The program will consist of a two week workshop and a one week retreat centered around our SND spirituality. The writing committee began the work during the ten days in Rome and a smaller group will continue the work during the next few months.
Meetings in the Philippines
Sister Mary Kristin, Sister Maria Alcidia, Sister Gina Marie, Sister Maria Robertin and Sister Maria Monika spent the final week in the house in Manila which the Congregation is renting. They visited potential universities where our sisters from Asia can study English and earn higher degrees in formation, Missiology, and theology. Much was accomplished despite the challenge of traveling and meeting in monsoon weather conditions.
Picture: Sister Mary Kristin and Sister Maria Alcidia with the Novices in Bataan.
Historic Final Profession
in Nairobi, Kenya!
Left to right: Sister Mary Beena, Provincial Superior of Patna, India, the four newly Perpetually Professed Sister Mary Christine, Sister Mary Elizabeth, Sister Mary Pascalia and Sister Mary Magdalene, and Sister Mary Mukti, Superior of the Holy Spirit Delegation and Junior Directoress.
Till we meet again, dear Indonesian Sisters and Friends,
God bless you, and thanks for all!!
May 1, 2012 Health Care Conference Report
Participants to the SND Health Care Conference began to arrive in Covington, Kentucky, on Wednesday, April 26th. Forty two sisters (42) from Indonesia, Korea, India, Germany, Brazil, and the United States are gathering in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Province from April 30 to May 10 for the first Sisters of Notre Dame Notre Dame Health Care Conference. The goal of the Conference is to help us articulate how we live our charism in the ministry of Health Care. The Conference opened with greetings from Sr. Mary Kristin via technology. Sister is unable to attend the Conference since she is leaving on May 1 for the visitation in the Canoas Province. Sister Margaret Mary Gorman, the provincial of Christ the King Province, gave the opening address on "Charism and the Health Care Ministry of the Sisters of Notre Dame." Sister spoke on charism and how our charism has been expressed through our founding story and continued in our ministry of health care. The sister participants were asked to share their experiences in health care showing how our charism continues to be expressed today through the service of our sisters. The diversity of sisters from different areas of health care, different cultures and experiences enriched the discussions. In the midst of so much diversity, the common thread holding all together is the vibrancy of our Notre Dame charism.