Engaging the Global Reality in Living Our Mission

Dec 3, 2021 | News & Events

Sister Jean Stoner currently serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees at Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) in Belmont, CA. NDNU, the first California institution of higher education to grant degrees to women, is celebrating its 170th Anniversary this year.

Sister Jean Stoner, SNDdeN is one of the Lecturers in the course on “Living the Spirit of St. Julie Billiart in a Global Society,” offered by Professor Shusuke Kobayashi at Notre Dame Seishin University (NDSU) in Okayama, Japan.

In the course on St. Julie’s Spirit is the theme of a “Global Society and Christianity.” Sr. Jean offers the topic of current global realities, both positive and negative, and how the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN), as daughters of St. Julie, engage in this global reality in living their Mission internationally. Sr. Jean’s lectures demonstrate ways to move forward together into the future by looking at guideposts along the path.

In 2014, Boston College Professor Kenneth Himes, OFM, identified seven Ethical Coordinates which can act as compasses to assure us we are going in the right direction. They are: Authentic Humanism, Solidarity, Common Good, Justice, Human Rights, Participation, Subsidiarity. In her lecture, Sr. Jean examines these seven Ethical Coordinates to guide us in moving forward into the future as global citizens.

Catholic Social Teaching
1. Option for the poor and vulnerable
2. Global solidarity
3. Care of creation
4. Dignity of decent work
5. Dignity of the human person
6. Call to family, community, and participation
7. Rights and responsibilities

1. We proclaim by our lives even more than by our words that God is good.
2. We honor the dignity and sacredness of each person.
3. We educate for and act on behalf of justice and peace in the world.
4. We commit ourselves to community service.
5. We embrace the gift of diversity.
6. We create community among those with whom we work and with those we serve.
7. We develop holistic learning communities which educate for life.

In this NDSU course, Sr. Marie Ann Prefontaine introduces Catholic Social Teachings (CST). Then, Sr. Jean matches these seven themes from CST with the seven Ethical Coordinates and our seven Hallmarks of a Notre Dame de Namur Learning Community (Hallmarks). She gives a powerful tool for prioritizing global realities and local actions. Finally, Sr. Jean shows the students some examples of ways that the three sets of themes can interface through personal and group engagement.

Equity for Systemic Change
She uses a graphic to demonstrate equity as persons, groups and organizations who work for systemic change.
ACTION: Work for equity, not just equality, and for structural change

Martyred SNDdeN: Human Rights
In 2008 Sr. Dorothy Stang SNDdeN received posthumously the United Nations Award for Human Rights because of her action for Justice to protect the rights of people living in poverty in Brazil. She was murdered in 2005 by wealthy landowners who infringed on the personal property rights of the people in Anapu.

ACTION: Work for human rights in your neighborhood and across the globe

Networking as a Powerful Tool
Sister Jean encourages students to make connections and act collaboratively for systemic change in a Global Society. Margaret Wheatley, from an article on Using Emergence, reminds us of the power of networking: In spite of current ads and slogans, the world doesn’t change one person at a time. It changes as networks of relationships form among people who discover they share a common cause and vision of what’s possible… Rather than worry about critical mass, our work is to foster critical connections… Through these relationships, we will develop the new knowledge, practices, courage, and commitment that lead to broad-based change.

ACTION: To make a difference, build relationships and engage in networks