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Staff celebrate the 10th anniversary!

Gratitude for 10 years - SSND Central Pacific Province
Central Pacific Province
2011 - 2021

One of the challenges and gifts in coming together as the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) Central Pacific (CP) Province was to bring a number of departments that were a part of each former province. Each former province had gifted staff in every department. Now, 10 years later, SSND has department leaders, alongside staff, who continue to be in partnership with sisters and one another. This article contains thoughts from a few of the departments and their experiences they have felt over these 10 years.

By Eileen McGartland. Wellness Director
Sondra Arntzen, Activities Director is helping Sister Cele Schueller at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mankato, Minnesota.

In May 2012, I came on board as a Wellness Coordinator to support the Wellness Director, Ana Casey, in offering outreach services to the sisters on mission. During my orientation, I learned that in 2011, there had been a monumental paradigm shift within SSND life; a number of provinces came together to form the Central Pacific Province. When addressing health and wellness needs, Ana encouraged the department to focus on geographical regions rather than individual campuses in an effort to support this movement toward a, “we are one province” model. Wellness programming, such as “Top of the Mind” and “The Walk to Jerusalem” to promote healthy lifestyles, were offered to all sisters across the newly formed province to foster a sense of connection and unity with each other.

While learning to swing from these new ropes, I sensed an undercurrent of tension as some sisters wondered if needs might not be met in the same way as “before.” Would council members, IT and wellness nurses be accessible like in the “old days?”

With the growing pains came grace, as sisters began to accept the changes, adapt and evolve into new ways of being. By 2015, Ana had moved on to a new position with the Jesuits and I accepted the role of Wellness Director. It has been a great privilege to work with other lay mission leaders and provincial council members to continue building on the foundation of the CP Province that was laid in 2011. There have been a deepening sense of cohesion among the departments as we work together to support the sisters to live out their SSND mission.

Happy Anniversary from the wellness team! Let’s keep walking, dancing, swimming and moving into the future together.

By Dana Russert, Chief Financial Officer

It’s hard to believe the CP Province is in its 10th year! It has been a very interesting journey. The most impressive part of the journey is how the sisters have come together in genuine support of the mission. This support is evident as the sisters make plans to care for their aging members in new and different ways. The sisters have made difficult decisions to let go of their physical locations to allow greater focus on mission and ministry. It is remarkable and courageous. It has been my pleasure to support their ministry in small ways. Here’s to another 10 years!

By Tim Dewane, CP Shalom/JPIC Department Director

Collaboration among the various former quad province Shalom staff was fairly routine 10 years ago, the same could not be said for sisters and associates when it came to the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) commitment to justice, peace and the integrity of creation (JPIC) efforts. Each of the founding provinces had their own unique Shalom committees and structures. The establishment of the CP Province created an opportunity to rethink and reimagine Shalom animation and sister/associate engagement.

Notre Dame of Elm Grove, Elm Grove, WIsconsin, sisters participate in LCWR Region 9's campaign to speak out against racism. Featured: Sister Barb Linke on right, Associate Kate Fontanzza on left.

Beginning with the establishment of a CP Province Shalom Immigration Committee, we created opportunities for sisters and associates from across our vast province to come together to share experiences and work on province-wide animation/engagement strategies. Building off pre-CP Province initiatives, the province Shalom Care of Creation Committee was formed. Responding to the signs of the times and province interest led to the establishment of the province Shalom Human Trafficking and Shalom Peace and Nonviolence Committees. With each new Shalom committee, sisters and increasingly, associates, from across the new CP Province got to know each other better, learn from each other, form relationships and begin to establish a common identity and purpose. “A particular concern in all our ministries is the establishment of a just society.” (You Are Sent GD 33)

Reflecting on SSND Shalom commitment to justice, peace and the integrity of creation is something all sisters are called to do, not just those who volunteer for a province Shalom issue committee. So, we worked with province leadership to establish Extended Assembly (EA) Shalom representatives who would serve as a catalyst for sharing resources, exchanging ideas and motivating action that reflects the SSND commitment to JPIC within the extended assembly and beyond. To support them in this effort, we held periodic EA Shalom representative seminars which were opportunities to share information, learn from each other and build relationships. One outcome of these efforts was the establishment of the province Shalom Racial Justice Committee. To further help promote local engagement, campus Shalom catalyst groups formed.

We are called to, “join our voices with those who cry for justice.” (SSND Shalom document) As a community of women religious committed to living the values of the Gospel, particularly as expressed in You Are Sent, it is imperative that we voice our belief and/or take corporate action on behalf of or in defense of those values, even though this action might involve risk. To that end, the province embraced a corporate stance policy that would allow sisters to stand as one on critical social justice matters that were considered through a rigorous process of study, reflection, prayer and dialogue. Through this process the province has embraced a corporate stance on Immigration, which includes commitments to address systemic racism and racial bias, and a corporate stance on Gospel Nonviolence and Just Peace. These statements, as well as the province-endorsed Land Ethic Statement, provide an undeniable commitment to action and a framework for holding ourselves accountable.

It is important to note the pivotal role that technology has played in the evolution of our CP Shalom efforts. The province-wide Shalom committees all meet via Bluejeans. Most of our communications are done electronically. Our recently completed Solidarity Summer initiative, which resulted in three paths for our continuing engagement on addressing racism and racial bias, could not have happened without the use of technology and the support of our province IT team.

While technology and structure have helped enable us to embrace our SSND commitment to JPIC in many wonderful ways in the CP Province, ultimately the work of Shalom comes down to personal commitment and collaborative action. Through prayer and a variety of efforts, our sisters, associates and friends in ministry do what they can on their own, and in partnership with others, to make a difference. The first 10 years have been so inspiring, we are eager to see what the future holds.


Read more reflections and stories celebrating our 10 years as the Central Pacific Province.

Gratitude for 10 years


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