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Celebrating Jubilee in creative ways

With COVID-19 restrictions in place at all School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) Central Pacific Province locations since mid-March, many changes, postponements and cancellations of events have taken place to ensure the safety of the sisters. Jubilee celebrations also had to change to accommodate the Center of Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. Sister Sue Von Bank, a 60-year Jubilarian and Sister Helen Jane Jaeb, Provincial Councilor, share what this year’s celebrations looked like.

Sister Sue Von Bank celebrates her 60-year Jubilee at OLGC.

Sister Sue Von Bank, a 60-year Jubilarian, returned to Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC), Mankato, Minnesota, in early March 2020, after having spent the past couple of years as the St. Mary of the Pines Retreat Center director in Chatawa, Mississippi.

In previous years, each location celebrated Jubilee and their Jubilarians family, friends, SSND and associates. This year at OLGC, Sister Mary Kay Ash, archivist, brought Sister Sue and her classmate, Sister Rose Mary Snaza, a picture from when the 60-year Jubilarians first professed, as well as their 25th and 50th Jubilee celebration group photos. Sister Mary Kay asked if they could identify all of the sisters within their initial cohort. Sister Sue was able to identify each member of her cohort, but was impressed she was able to recognize herself from 60 years earlier.

Sisters Rose Mary Snaza and Sue Von Bank, 60-year Jubilarians, celebrate Jubilee at OLGC.

This year, the celebration of Jubilarians is smaller and in individual community. Sister Sue stated, “While we do miss the province sharing of Jubilee celebrations with our family, friends and fellow sisters, we also understand why this year is different and that is okay. There are other ways to celebrate to ensure our health and safety. At the end of July, we had a small in-house celebration for those of us living at OLGC, which included Mass and a special meal, while also observing all social distancing measures and CDC guidelines.”


Embraced by God’s love

By Sister Helen Jane Jaeb, Provincial Councilor
Helen Jane Jaeb, SSND

The Jubilarian sisters' presence as School Sisters of Notre Dame have blessed so many by their ministries, no matter where and how they gave their lives of love and care. ‘Embraced by God’s love’ was the theme for our 2020 Jubilarians. Eighty-three sisters from the Central Pacific Province celebrated their profession of first vows, some for 80, 75, 70, 60, 50 and 40 years. They truly are ‘Embraced by God’s love’ and continue to share this love with so many.

Usually we have a grand celebration at the various campuses with a beautiful liturgy and a delicious meal. We also spend time visiting with sisters, associates, family and friends. This year’s Jubilees were celebrated in new ways. For many of the Jubilarians, there was a beautiful liturgy and a delicious meal, however, fewer sisters celebrated with them.

To celebrate during this COVID-19 season, other creative ways to celebrate have come into play. For instance, sisters and associates made sure the sister Jubilarians received cards and gifts via postal services, ecards and social media. There have also been car parades honoring the Jubilarians. The council made a video singing with placards of the words of the song Jubilate Deo, with each saying a few sentences of gratitude and congratulations, recognizing them for the gift of their vocation.

Sister Roxanne Shares, SSND General Superior, wrote to the Jubilarians in a message, “With profound gratitude and great joy, I congratulate each of you on the anniversary of your first profession of vows…As you celebrate this moment in your life, may you experience anew the fidelity and intimate love of our God and invitation to ever-deepening communion.”

We continue to celebrate with these sisters, supporting each one as they live out their vocation and witness how they have been, and are, ‘Embraced by God’s love.’

Learn more about each Jubilarian.


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