by Sister Maria Delaney, SNDdeN
“Convene regular virtual meetings of Mission Integration personnel to provide input, mutual support and share best practices.” CSRP 2021-27, p. 6, Mission Support: Mission Integration
This action statement from our Congregational Strategic Resource Plan 2021-2027 (CSRS 2021-2027) has already become actualized across the Congregation. Since January 2021, two separate Zoom groups have allowed our Sisters on five continents to share their current ministry realities and find mutual support in this time of isolation. Each group has alternated their gatherings so that one group is meeting every month. The Sisters who take part in these Zoom meetings are educators who work with or administer the Notre Dame schools in their countries. Zoom technology has evolved to allow simultaneous translation done silently for those who need it. We are all still learning how to use this effectively, but it has improved with each meeting.
Unity in the Pandemic: First Zoom Group
The first group, made up entirely of SNDdeN, has gathered 20–25 Sisters across 14 time zones. Sisters share their ministry challenges brought on by the pandemic. These meetings strengthen our bonds with one another and heighten our awareness of difficulties that some countries are having in dealing with the pandemic. Diagnoses of the disease, access to specialized equipment, internet access, vaccinations, and the ability to learn outside the classroom are beyond the reach of many of our Sisters and families among whom we minister. Each country has dealt with the pandemic in its own manner. Some countries have even refused to admit that it is a reality for them. Members of the Congregational Leadership Team and some members of Unit Leadership Teams have also joined this group at times to hear these realities.
Unity in the Pandemic: Second Zoom Group
On a related note, some Sisters from the first group have also taken part in a second zoom group with high school campus ministers in the United States (US) and chaplains in the United Kingdom (UK). These ongoing meetings share possibilities for our ND teachers and students to interact with each other around current world issues: diversity, equity, inclusion, care of the earth (Laudato Si) and other issues. Many of the lay faculty members have been delighted to see and meet so many Sisters from around the world. The breadth and depth of the extended relationships play a role in keeping our Notre Dame communities connected in “our common home.”