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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.

You may also be interested in:
  • Associates and sisters – A special connection More than 280 women and men are connecting with School Sisters of Notre Dame through spiritual, educational and social activities as associates. You can discover the gifts God has shared through SSND, build relationships and become involved, too!
  • Use this time of the year to reflect on God’s works Earlier this year, Provincial Councilor Sister Anna Marie Reha found herself astounded at God’s vast beauty and endless abundance. Now that it is summertime, a typical time of rest and relaxation and for enjoying all of God’s creation, she finds herself reflecting again on the encyclical Laudato Si.
  • Green Hope Gardens are a sign of mercy In 2010, SSND associates in Ohio and West Virginia reflected on what they could do to nourish those in need while being good stewards of the land. The result was Green Hope Gardens, which contributes fresh vegetables to the local food pantry.

Want to learn more?


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Phone: 314-561-4100



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