Foundation Week at NDA

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.

The Common Good

“Seek what is good for others and for all.” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

We are finishing week three of school at Notre Dame Academy and things are going well so far! That would not be possible without the commitment and contribution of so many. Our faculty, staff and students are all working hard to make the best of all the protocols we have in place to keep NDA a safe and healthy environment to come to school. Key to our success is embracing the idea that we have to take care of ourselves and one another!

This year we are celebrating the 2nd Educational Principle of the Sisters of Notre Dame – the Human Dignity of Each Person as an Image of God. Our school theme, Uniting Humankind as Reflections of God’s Love, is most appropriate for the time in which we find ourselves. This theme reminds us to accept others for the persons God made them to be and to extend our kindness and care to each person we meet. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us in many ways – and perhaps most importantly in this fundamental way. We make sacrifices such as wearing masks and social distancing because we know this can mitigate the spread of the virus and that this is the right thing to do for others and for all.

The path to resolving this pandemic is guided by science and our commitment to the common good. The science tells us that the mask is a game changer and our commitment to the dignity of our fellow humans requires that we wear one out of respect for the lives of others and our own. God’s goodness and provident care is certainly at work in our community as rise to the many challenges we are facing.

Of course, these challenges go beyond our school building – to the many homes and communities of our 535 families of NDA. As we head into this Labor Day weekend and all take a break from work and school, we wish our students and families a safe and healthy weekend. Please know that the care that is taken by each of our families contributes to the success of our work at school as we all seek to do what is right for the common good – keeping everyone healthy and safe!

Good and Provident God,

We praise you for the gift of community, the gift of Sisterhood here at Notre Dame Academy.

We thank you for the community in which we work, study and live.

May we use our bonds of sisterhood to bring about peace and justice for all our brothers and sisters uniting us as one HumanKind, made in Your image.

Fill us with Your Spirit so that, as one, we reflect your light and love to each other and to the world.

In Christ’s name, we pray.

Amen.