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Join SSND in shaping peace together

September 21, 2020, join the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) to celebrate the International Day of Peace, which was established by the United Nations in 1981. Each year, SSND celebrate and honor this recurring tradition by gathering around Peace Poles located at SSND properties, homes and ministries. The Peace Pole “is an internationally-recognized symbol of the hopes and dreams of the entire human family, standing vigil in silent prayer for peace on earth. Each Peace Pole bears the message, May Peace Prevail on Earth, in different languages on each of its four or six sides. There are an estimated 250,000 Peace Poles in every country in the world dedicated as monuments to peace.” (worldpeace.org) SSND have Peace Poles on their properties all over the world. Read what a handful of SSND locations shared about their Peace Pole.


A residential Peace Pole – St. Paul, Minnesota

By Sister Adaire Lassonde

The Peace Pole located at Sister Adaire Lassone's home in St. Paul, Minnesota. The idea for the Peace Pole was first established by Masahisa Goi in Japan in 1955. He was a poet and philosopher who believed that the prayer ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth,’ transcends religious, ethnic and political boundaries. He felt the words held the possibility of bringing people together to inspire, awaken and uplift human consciousness in all of the world. The Peace Pole should remind us to think, speak and act in the spirit of peace and harmony.

When I was working at Catholic Charities, one of my colleagues introduced me to the Peace Pole concept. At a staff meeting, I brought up the idea of getting one for the site where we worked. It was approved and I moved through the process.

Having worked through the process of obtaining a Peace Pole, I was inspired to look into having one in my neighborhood. I live in a very ethnically diverse area. There are many houses in the area that display peace signs and other signs that denote their attention to the marginalized. I wanted to show my solidarity, so I decided on the Peace Pole because it was not displayed anywhere in my neighborhood. We picked a location on the corner of our block so that all would be reminded of working for peace. I dug a deep hole, and with some friends help, we filled the hole around the Pole with cement. We set up a date for a dedication, SSND and neighbors were invited. Our Peace Pole has four sides with ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ in Hmong, Lakota, Spanish and English, which are the main languages in our neighborhood.

Read about a prayer and reflection around this Peace Pole.


The Peace Pole at NDEG

By Tim Dewane, Director, Shalom - Justice, Peace, & Integrity of Creation

The Peace Pole located at Notre Dame of Elm Grove in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. September 21, 2003, the School Sisters of Notre Dame at Notre Dame of Elm Grove (NDEG) in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, planted a Peace Pole symbolizing their ongoing commitment to pursuing peace and justice in their lives and in their ministries. The sisters' hope was that the greater Elm Grove community would come to see the Peace Pole and garden area as a community site for reflection and prayers for peace. Every year since it was dedicated, the sisters have organized a public prayer for peace in commemoration of the International Day of Peace on September 21. This inspiring prayer service, held outside by the Peace Pole, has become an intergenerational reflection, typically drawing more than 200 people ranging in age from nine to 90-plus!

The NDEG Peace Pole is a four-sided western red cedar pole, which stands six-feet tall. The message ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ is inscribed on the Pole in eight languages - each reflecting some aspect of the heritage of the province.

  1. German - In recognition of the birthplace of our order and the number of German sisters we have.
  2. Polish - Reflecting the heritage of many sisters in the Central Pacific Province and throughout the congregation as a whole.
  3. Chamorro - Reflecting the SSND relationship with Guam.
  4. Potowatomi - Reflecting the Native culture of the Elm Grove area.
  5. Spanish - Reflecting the SSND connection to Latin America and involvement with the Spanish-speaking populations in the Central Pacific Province.
  6. Swahili - Reflecting the SSND connection and involvement in parts of Africa.
  7. Hmong - Reflecting SSND involvement with this and other immigrant populations.
  8. English - Primary language of the Central Pacific Province.

OLGC history of the Peace Pole

Provided by the School Sisters of Notre Dame North American Archives

The Peace Pole located at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mankato, Minnesota.August 7, 2004, sisters at Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) in Mankato, Minnesota, gathered for the dedication of the Memorial Peace Garden. The ceremony was attended by sisters, staff, friends and family. Everyone gathered in dedication and prayer.

The trees and shrubs in this area were the result of donations given in honor of Sisters Felicia and Marilyn Bambenek, Colleen Hau, Kathleen Rother and Margaret Ellen Traxler. This Memorial Peace Garden is a space for contemplation, quiet and prayers for peace. It is also a visible reminder that peace is the way.

The six languages on the OLGC Peace Pole depict the Central Pacific Province's historical roots, as well as the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) present reality in ministry. They include English, German, Spanish, Swahili, Lakota and Hmong. The bricks surrounding the pole are from the old barn on Good Counsel Hill, a symbol of the former Mankato province history and its grounding. The bricks radiate out in all directions from the Peace Pole as a symbol of SSND internationality and of a prayer for world peace.


Two Peace Poles at St. Mary of the Pines

By Sisters Joan Schafer and Georgiann Wildhaber

The Peace Pole at St. Mary of the Pines, Chatawa, Mississippi, Retreat Center. This pole will me relocated to St. Anthony's Gardens in Covington, Louisiana. There are two Peace Poles located at St. Mary of the Pines (SMP) in Chatawa, Mississippi. One can be found by the Retreat Center and the other one is near the main entrance.

The Peace Pole by the Retreat Center was donated in honor of Sister Mary Murphy, by her family. The Retreat Center was the site selected because our retreatants could see and appreciate it. This Peace Pole will eventually be brought to St. Anthony's Gardens in Covington, Louisiana, where the sisters from SMP now reside. It will be placed in the Memory Care courtyard for the sisters and residents to enjoy.

The Peace Pole near the main entrance is centered in a flower garden with a wooden arched bridge and surrounding shrubs. While I (Sister Georgiann) was the director of the SMP campus the Peace Pole needed to be replaced due to weathering and erosion.


Peace Pole at Sancta Maria in Ripa

By Sisters Carol Marie Wildt and Paulette Zimmerman

The Peace Pole located at Sancta Maria in Ripa, St. Louis. June 5, 2014, sisters and staff members gathered at the entrance of Caroline Center at Sancta Maria in Ripa in St. Louis for a short dedication ceremony of the new Peace Pole. The Peace Pole idea began with Mr. Masahisa Goi after World War II and the dropping of the atomic bombs. Mr. Goi came to understand that words, thoughts and intentions carry energy strong enough to influence the destiny of all living beings and by speaking, acting and living in the spirit of the prayer ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ the energy field of love and harmony would radiate forth to all of creation. It is appropriate that the dedication of this Peace Pole was on the United Nations World Environment Day as a reminder of SSND commitment to peace for the whole Earth community.

The four languages on the St. Louis Peace Pole are Japanese, which faces east, Spanish is south, English is west and German faces north. These languages unite us with SSND throughout the world. Around the Peace Pole are stones inscribed in Japanese, English, German, French and Spanish with sentiments that promote acceptance, love and peace.

When the Peace Pole was first dedicated, 10 trees were planted in African countries in honor of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.


MORE's Peace Pole

By Sister Kathleen Spencer

The Peace Pole located at MORE in St. Paul, Minnesota. A sponsored ministry of SSND, MORE’s mission is to bring peace and understanding between the various groups. It evolved from a very violent situation where various cultures and races were attacking each other. The Peace Pole was erected after the new addition was added to the MORE house in the 1980s. On the Peace Pole are languages that represent the cultures that came together in peace. We dedicated the Peace Pole to continue working and living in justice and peace.

Learn about the history of MORE.


Want to learn more?


School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100



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