Steps Forward into the Notre Dame Mission

Aug 5, 2020 | Good Works, News & Events

Region Directors of Mission Integration: Kathy Sennott, Meg Sharp, Sr. Louise O’Reilly, SNDdeN

By Sr. Louise O’Reilly, SNDdeN, Kathy Sennott and Meg Sharp

As Region Directors of Mission Integration in the United States, we raise reflective questions for realizing our goals:
• How do we ensure that our Notre Dame ministries will carry the Mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and our Catholic identity well into the future?
• How do we continue to infuse our ministries with the spirit and vision of St. Julie?
• How do we live out the vision of St. Julie in our present time?

We implement these goals in a variety of initiatives and new relationships across the United States. Our focus is “mission integration.” Modeling the productive partnership of St. Julie and Françoise, the mission integration staff in the Provinces/Units of Ohio and U.S. East-West are working collaboratively to bring their experience and skill to this effort. The Leadership Teams in the United States have appointed Sr. Maria Delaney, U.S. Director of the Office of Sponsored Ministries, and one Province (US East-West) has named Katie Colin as Executive Director of Sponsorship for their province. Sponsorship personnel work directly with Corporations and Boards of Sponsored ministries.* As Directors of Mission Integration we, Meg Sharp (OH), Sr. Louise O’Reilly and Kathy Sennott (US EW-East) have the responsibility and privilege to collaborate with administrators and staff in Notre Dame de Namur sponsored schools and health care facilities. “For the last four years, we have worked cooperatively, across provinces, to build community amongst ourselves and our ministries,” stated Meg Sharp.

Sr. Jean Stoner, SNDdeN gives a PowerPoint presentation on Our Global Reality to students at Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton, Ohio.

Initiatives for Co -Workers

Together we have developed, implemented and supported a number of initiatives:
Orientation for new administrators (Presidents/Heads of Schools,
CEOs, Executive Directors etc.) for ND schools and health
care facilities
Orientation for new staff
Gathering for Mission Integration of school and health care
personnel with a deeper understanding of the ND mission and its implications for ministry
Collaboration to develop resources for mission effectiveness
Sharing Resources with our ministries
In-service Opportunities and conversation:
~ to expand and deepen an understanding of the Hallmarks of a Notre Dame Learning Community as core values for all Notre Dame ministries
~ to gain insights into effective integration of the Mission into our ministries, through on-site visits, events and Mission Committee participation on Boards.

Faculty and Staff in the Mid-Atlantic schools interact at a Hallmarks Retreat in Marriottsville, MD.

The Hallmarks are an important resource for our use. Developed on the West Coast, they have now been embraced by our ministries nation-wide and beyond. Retreats based on the Hallmarks, first designed and implemented in 2010, are offered now on an annual basis as a means to strengthen commitment to our mission. As Meg Sharp points out, “Participants gain insights and ideas from colleagues in ND ministries often resulting in continued collaboration.”

At the 7th Annual gathering on Mission Integration, administrators from schools and health care facilities in the Northeast know the Art of Healing with Laughter in a workshop given by Lisa Wessan (standing) at Emmanuel College in Boston, MA.

Pilgrimages to Julie Country

We have all had the opportunity to walk literally in the footsteps of Julie and Françoise in Belgium and France, as participants on the Julie Pilgrimage, led by Sr. Marie Kelly, SNDdeN (first near railing). Katie Colin (second near railing) also participated in the July 2019 pilgrimage. The stories and spirituality of our co-foundresses came alive in new ways for us and have already deeply influenced our appreciation for the Notre Dame legacy. Inspired by this pilgrimage to our ND Heritage Centre, we bring this experience to our ongoing initiatives and gatherings, as well as to the development of resources for this ministry. We realize the impact that such a journey to the sources is transformative for influencing our ministry in new ways. “Mission Integration” is not just two words: this means a lived reality. We aim to make our Notre Dame mission a lived reality of transformation, today and into the future, for all involved in our ministries.

We, as pilgrims walking in special footsteps, pose on the staircase often used by St. Julie Billiart, in the convent she opened in Ghent, Belgium.