This week at Notre Dame Academy (NDA) we celebrate our Sisters of Notre Dame (SND) Foundation Week! On October 1,1850, the Sisters of Notre Dame were founded in Coesfeld Germany. (CLICK HERE to watch a brief video highlighting the foundresses and all the good works the Sisters have done and continue to do today.) Here we are 170 years later living out the vision of two courageous young women, Hilligonde Wolbring (Sister Maria Aloyisa) and Elizabeth Kuhling (Sister Maria Ignatia), to ensure a holistic Catholic education for your women in our community. The vision of these young women of Coesfeld, resulted in numerous ministries across our world thanks to the dedication and loving work of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Since 1906, Notre Dame Academy, the first ministry of the SND Covington Province, has carried out this vision through our mission to educate young women to make a difference in the world.
In 18th century Germany, the challenges were many and young girls had to sacrifice educational opportunities to the boys in their family. Poverty and cultural discrimination made for a very difficult life for members of the community. Hilligonde and Elizabeth responded to these challenges and made a difference in their world that extended across the globe and into our present day. They responded to the needs of their time which has been a persistent theme of the SNDs in applying their spiritual gifts in service of others and sharing God’s goodness and love with all they encountered. That charism lives on today in the work of so many Notre Dame Academy alumnae, students, teachers, staff and administrators who embrace the Notre Dame Life.
Today we face many of our own challenges especially in light of COVID-19 and the impact it has had on our families, schools and communities. In recent months, tragically 150 Catholic schools across our country have closed permanently in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. At NDA, we have seen our community come together to innovate and collaborate on ways to make our school thrive. Remote Learning @ NDA and our 2020 Pandas Return to Campus Plan have exemplified the ways that we, as a community, have followed the lead of the SNDs and responded to the needs of our time. As always, our SND legacy is an inspiration and model for success.
Celebrating SND Foundation Day is way to honor and give thanks for this legacy that is at the core of who we are. Today our young women of NDA will join teachers and staff as we kick off Foundation Day week. The SND mission has and always will be at the heart of our mission and work at Notre Dame Academy. Since their founding in 1850, the SNDs have continued to meet the needs of the current times and in doing so ensured the relevance and effectiveness of their mission. As we are all responding to the realities of our times, may we take a moment to reflect on the great gift the SND’s are to our community – the Sisters have taught us well!
“…the most important in all our work is the uniting of all our actions with the works of the divine Savior. Thus we make gold out of stones…” Sister Maria Aloysia (Hilligonde Wolbring, 1828 – 1889 ) foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame.