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Moving forward in our new normal 

Time is not just the hands of a clock. It isn’t just a change of seasons either. It is a treasure trove of precious moments, infinite little joys and blessings, precious smiles, tears and heartbeats.

– Mona Soorma

By Sister Dawn Achs, Provincial Councilor
Dawn Achs, SSND

We all breathed a sigh of relief as the CDC lessens restrictions and we could again begin to enjoy time with each other and loved ones. We all reflected on the trove of precious moments, joys and blessings, tears and heartbeats, that have been a part of the past two years. It is wonderful to really see the precious smiles again on each other’s faces. These changes have allowed for more travel. It was a welcome change to be able to meet face-to-face for visits and meetings. Now, we take what we have learned and try to cautiously move forward into our new normal.

Despite all the isolation we experienced over the past two years, meetings via the internet, and all the emails and phone calls, the work of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) Central Pacific (CP) Province, sisters, associates and lay colleagues have continued to work hard and move forward. Of course, the Implementation of the Integrated Plan (IIP), which was agreed on at our Assembly of the Whole in 2018, has continued. The sisters in Milwaukee are adjusting to their new home at Trinity Woods on the Mount Mary University (MMU) campus. The sisters at St. Anthony’s Gardens in Covington, Louisiana, have continued to find ways to form community, despite their limitations due to COVID-19. Although travel has still been restricted to or from Japan and Guam, we stay connected with our sisters through phone calls and the internet.

The council continues to dialogue and work with developers for the property and potential use of the buildings at Sancta Maria in Ripa, St. Louis. In February, the Our Lady of Good Counsel Work Group in Mankato, Minnesota, sent a recommendation to the provincial council for a new home for the sisters. After almost two days of discernment, the council affirmed the recommendation. As shared in a news release, the sisters are making preparations to move to Benedictine Senior Living at Windemere Way, Shakopee, Minnesota, in the coming months. There is also a purchase agreement being negotiated with a local developer for the Our Lady of Good Counsel property. Loyola Catholic School is preparing to close on the purchase of the buildings and the property that they had been leasing from SSND.

Sister Dawn Achs is featured in this image with two lay-colleagues discussing ministries at the Ministry Commission gathering in March 2022 at Sancta Maria in Ripa in St. Louis.

The Ministry Office, the Ministry Commission and the leaders of our sponsored, co-sponsored and affiliated ministries gathered at Sancta Maria in Ripa at the end of March for a short retreat that included networking. Experiencing their enthusiasm and commitment to their ministries was certainly a witness to how the SSND charism is being continued through the works of these ministries.

The board of trustees and the corporate board for MMU have been very involved in the search for a new president for MMU. We awaited this announcement with gratitude to the search committee, the board of trustees and the corporate board, and to all the applicants for all the time put into this important task. We thank Christine Pfarr for her years as president of MMU and to all she brought to the university.

On May 22, we gathered across the province to celebrate our Jubilarians with a Virtual Jubilee Celebration, which can still be watched. What a wonderful new tradition the pandemic brought us last year. Planning is already in full swing for in-person Jubilee celebrations throughout the province.

Finally, there is a very active committee planning our third Assembly of the Whole, which is coming up in July. We are looking forward to this special time together.

So, as we look over the last six months, spanning nearly three seasons, in our ever-evolving history, it is clear we have a trove of treasures and precious memories for which to be grateful.

Let us remember that, in the words of Blessed Theresa of Jesus:
Love is a bond that unites us with one another and with God.


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