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What a difference a day makes!

Associates logoSchool Sisters of Notre Dame Associates

By Associate Laura M. Harvancik - Wisconsin
Associate Laura Harvancik celebrating her convenanting with sisters

October 5, 2019, was the day of my covenanting as an associate of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND). I extend deep gratitude for support and guidance to my charism buddies, Sisters Paul Mary Draxler, Jean Hasenberg, Sylvia Hecht, Niva Langreck, Suzanne Moynihan and Karen Walther. The amazing transforming powers of each of them made this happen. To all the other sisters and associates, too numerous to mention individually, they prayed for and encouraged me and modeled their very serious and responsible concerns for all people of the world – thank you.

Becoming an associate continues to heighten my inspiration to service. Walking this path immerses me in diversity, it exposes me to issues of equity, social justice, inclusion and peace and joins me with others passionate about unity, service and responding to the needs of our times.

Root causes of struggle continue and as poverty increases, so do the needs of the children. As the director of Rising Stars, an SSND ministry, our volunteers find new opportunities to respond creatively to the educational needs within our social realities. We focus on building relationships and unifying energy. In association with the bold and courageous sisters supporting and surrounding me in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, we continue on a journey of being with others, turning precious and scarce resources of personal time and attention into building a stronger future for generations to come; to let students know something very important is happening on their behalf.

Follow the star rising in you; it will certainly lead you to Jesus.

Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger

As a ministry leader, I stand between the past and the future. Rising Stars volunteers support and strengthen math and reading skills of at-risk students in areas of urgent need in the city of Milwaukee. Within just the last eight years volunteers logged over 22,000 hours, more than 46,000 student interactions and more than 5,000 books were given to girls and boys who may never have had a book of their own. Rising Stars volunteers save lives – the kids’ and ours!

As an associate with the School Sisters of Notre Dame, I am blessed with the confidence to step up to and address the challenges of chaos, crisis and insecurities facing our most precious resource – our kids. Together we learn to trust God and one another and we continue to strive towards making a difference through the devotion and life direction of Blessed Theresa and Mother Caroline.

Related stories:
  • Teaching those in need As a member of St. Michael parish in Milwaukee, I have had the fortune to volunteer in the English as a second language (ESL) program, teaching English to Karen people from Burma. My SSND companion, Sister Lillia Langreck, previously ran an ESL program at St. Michael helping Hmong, Laotian and Cambodian people when they arrived from refugee camps in the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's. Read more...
  • Father Gene Stenzel’s rock house — a lifelong passion to create Father Gene Stenzel, an SSND associate, builds rock formations on his family farm in Wells, Minnesota. Learn about his creations and the time sisters and associates were able to visit them. Read more...
  • SSND associates take a stand against human trafficking Associates throughout the Central Pacific province are taking a stand against human trafficking through prayer, education and helping those who are impacted. Three human trafficking conferences were held in St. Louis, Elm Grove, Wisconsin, and Chatawa, Mississippi, in an effort to educate associates. Read more...

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