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Foundation day gratitude

By Sister Judy Best, coordinator of Sturdy Roots
Sister Judy Best

One Sunday brunch, I chatted with a Sister of Loretto who lives with us. In the course of our conversation we talked about the Broadway hit “Hamilton,” a book entitled “Resistance Women” and our respective associates.

As we shared stories from our religious communities, I thought of examples of each topic found on Sturdy Roots, a School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) website, telling the history of SSND through primary sources such as letters, video and audio recordings.

Somewhat like “Hamilton,” ours is the story of an international “cast” of characters, led by Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, whose founding vision created a congregation under one central government. Today, our constitution, You Are Sent, is the way of life followed by sisters serving in 21 countries, working to build community wherever we are missioned.

A second topic we discussed was the book “Resistance Women” by Jennifer Chiaverini in 2019, which focuses on the only American-born woman executed under Hitler’s orders for organizing resistance by ordinary women to his Nazi philosophy.

Mother Almeda led the congregation during Hitler’s rise to power and during World War II. Choosing to resist Hitler’s Nazi philosophy resulted in more than 600 SSND losing paid positions. On Sturdy Roots, you can learn more about the challenging struggle of living in wartime.

The third topic focused on our associates who began in Poland in 1968. Friends and former students living under communism saw the faith of the SSND community and wanted to be “associated” with SSND, learning from their spirituality on how to live in troubled times. More than 1,000 SSND associates worldwide continue to partner with us.

Grape arbor located at Notre Dame of Elm Grove, Elm Grove, Wisconsin. Sturdy Roots Web Site Header

This memorable brunch resulted in foundation day gratitude for those who teach me how to live in challenging times. Explore the article, Voices of Change on Sturdy Roots, to learn more about SSND and their ability to risk all in faith.


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