The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur came to the United States from Namur, Belgium in 1840 to do the work which their foundress, St. Julie Billiart, regarded as “the most important work on earth.” The Sisters came to teach. At the request of Archbishop John Purcell, eight Sisters established a school for girls in Cincinnati. This school and convent soon became the focal point from which new parish schools and academies were founded, reaching out to other areas of Ohio and eventually to Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland and the entire East Coast.
In 1844, six Belgian Sisters of Notre Dame, with a band of Jesuit priests, left Antwerp by ship for a long and treacherous journey around the Cape Horn en route to their destination on the Oregon territories. Other Sisters from Belgium joined them in the American West through the succeeding years. After much suffering and many difficulties, the Belgian Sisters left Oregon to open a school in San José, CA in 1851. This became the first foundation for the California Province.
Ministries in The United States:
- Social Service
- Health Care
- Pastoral Service
- Justice and Peace Ministries
- United Nations Representation
- College Administration
- Community Action
- Prison Ministry
View the website of our Sisters in the United States
View the website of our Sisters in East West Province
View the website of our Sisters in Ohio Province
View the website of our Sisters in Tri-Province
Les Cayes in South Haiti has 140,000 people. La Savane is one of the city’s 12 slums, where adults and children suffer from hunger, malnutrition, diseases and homelessness. The literacy rate especially among women is very low; about 80% of women neither read nor write. Most children do not go to school. Even where there are schools, parents do not have money to pay for the tuition or uniforms.
SNDs are responding with mind and heart in a participative program for 100 women at the Family Education Center, reaching another 522 people in the households of these women. These extended families benefit from food assistance, health care and dental aid for their children at the Centre. The Sisters and Associates, who offer short-term service in Les Cayes, provide tutoring in English for young people of high-school age. Above all, Notre Dame is working to build a refuge from the storms, poverty, corruption and their moral effects in Haitian society. The work of recovery continues.