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New focus for SSND ministries

The recently formed Ministry Commission and Ministry Office was established to carry the charism of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) into the future. Sisters have responded to urgent needs in their communities for 186 years. These needs have evolved into a variety of ministries centered on educating women, children, the poor and communities. As time has passed, sisters are no longer managing day-to-day operations in many ministries. The torch is being passed to laity who continue to embrace the mission, the heritage and the charism of SSND.

The Ministry Commission and Ministry Office consists of 10 commissioners, six sisters and four lay people.As stated in the SSND Constitution, You Are Sent, “Urged by the love of Christ, we choose to express our mission through ministry directed toward education. Responding to varying needs, we engage in a diversity of ministries, specific services through which we work for the enablement of [the] person.” This calling has led SSND of the Central Pacific Province to establish, partner with and provide support for its current 13 sponsored, co-sponsored and affiliated ministries. These ministries embrace the charism of SSND while also meeting specific legal and budgetary guidelines.

In July 2018, the sisters unanimously affirmed ministry recommendations centered on governance, formation, finance and sustainability, in support of the 13 ministries. The recommendations, both direction setting and operational, were refined and approved by the province leadership in early 2019, leading to the formation of the present Ministry Commission and Ministry Office

The Ministry Commission serves as a direct contact between the provincial council and the 13 ministries. The 10 commissioners, six sisters and four lay people, serve as a primary resource in inspiring faithfulness to the SSND charism, educational vision and ideals as they collaborate with the leadership of the ministries. Sister Carol Jean Dust, Chairperson of the Ministry Commission, works to assure the commission is effective and strategic, and acts as the liaison between the commissioners, Ministry Office and the provincial council. “The deep story of SSND and the evolving charism of Blessed Theresa, has long been near to my heart. Facilitating, nourishing and sustaining this through our ministries was only strengthened in me through my recent experiences of congregational living and ministering in our global context,” states Sister Carol Jean. “I am delighted now to bring my gifts and experiences to serve on this Ministry Commission, where we will be building relationships, forming others in our deep story and charism, networking, collaborating and being a supportive presence, all of which will foster unity in our world.”

Sister Joan Andert, Director of the Ministry Office, brings 44 years of education and administrative expertise. Her responsibilities include promoting the vitality of the ministries and supporting the 10 ministry commissioners. “I love ministry. I am better suited to mentor people and facilitate then run a ministry,” states Sister Joan. “We are very fortunate that the laity, who have engaged in our ministry with our sisters, after the sisters are no longer present, are of high quality. They get the charism and understand what it means to live the ideals of Blessed Theresa and Mother Caroline.”

The Ministry Commission and Ministry Office are working together to support the ministries and allow each ministry an avenue to discuss needs, concerns and provide support to one another. Recently, two ministries’ collaboration with one another helped to affirm why Sister Joan is working as the Director of the Ministry Office. “I was very inspired by the fact that Mount Mary University (in Milwaukee) worked with our volunteer tutoring ministry, Rising Stars, to provide an in-service workshop on working with trauma victims. This is exactly what our goals are for the Ministry Commission and the Ministry Office. We hope to foster these relationships and continue to grow them.”

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