Facebook IconTwitter IconInstagram IconSpotify

One of life’s most stressful events

By Sister Mary Kay Brooks, Provincial Councilor
Mary Kay Brooks, SSND

One of the five most stressful life events are the death of a loved one, divorce, moving, major illness or injury and job loss.

The question that swirled around in my mind in early September was, “If moving yourself, or even your family, is one of the top five stressful life events, how stressful is moving over 100 sisters to either assisted living or independent living?” For some, this move from Notre Dame of Elm Grove (NDEG) in Elm Grove, Wisconsin to Trinity Woods in Milwaukee, is very daunting and extremely stressful. For me, I try not to let it overwhelm me, and I moved to the attitude of, “we can do this together.” Then my fears decrease.

The laundry list of details I pondered was overwhelming at times. I am reminded that there were so many who were taking part or helping with this endeavor each time I sat in a virtual meeting and discussed another issue that needed attention. I didn’t have to carry all of the information, all of the details in my head, all by myself. Just about the time I would wake up in the middle of the night and think, “How will we handle this?” a new connection was discovered, and I could let go and let God be in charge.

“God is good all the time; all the time God is good.”
– African Proverb

We accomplished quite a lot when I look back over the past several months:

This stain glass window and another idential one were relocated from Notre Dame of Elm Grove, Elm Grove, Wisconsin, was taken to the chapel at Trinity Woods.
  1. The stained-glass windows were removed from Holy Family Chapel at NDEG and were installed in the chapel lobby at Trinity Woods.
  2. The stained-glass windows from the Resource Center at NDEG were removed and placed in the prayer rooms/chapel at Trinity Woods.
  3. Over 80 pieces of artwork were donated to Trinity Woods for offices, hallways, the dining room and other general areas for all residents to enjoy.
  4. All of the artwork and heritage items were documented and recommendations were made for distribution.

Each week, as the updates came regarding the progress of the building, the one piece of information that continued to elude us all was, “What is our moving date?” Many decisions could not be finalized until a firm date was set. Even though the moving date was not settled, due to weather and delivery delays, we knew some broad timelines.

Sisters work to pack the Heritage Room at Notre Dame of Elm Grove, Elm Grove, Wisconsin, in order to make their move to Trinity Woods.
  1. In the last two weeks of September, the Heritage Room was dismantled and packed. Items that went to the North American Archives on Mount Mary University campus were boxed and labeled, ready to be moved. Michele Levandowski, the SSND archivist, took the lead on this part of the project.
  2. The staff offices were packed and moved on October 4.
  3. At the end of October, the major packing came – packing the sisters’ rooms and common spaces, sorting and staging and creating address labels.
  4. We are still creating a list of all the other practical details that people encounter during the last days before an actual move.
  5. We are praying for good weather in December, which has always been on the list. We may be moving in the cold of December, but we don’t need snow.
  6. After the sisters are moved, then the work begins to organize an estate sale sometime in January. Again, the community of friends of SSND is wide and bountiful.

The Central Pacific Province provincial council visit Trinity Woods on a

For the past nine months, the sisters have participated in “Coffee and Construction,” which are the monthly updates about the progress of construction, details of their living spaces, pictures of Trinity Woods, drone updates, carpet samplings and so much more. Each time individuals emailed questions or groups asked questions the response would be, “This is what I know today.” As all moves in our lifetimes, there will be glitches, issues, problems and unexpected twists. Perfection is overrated, so 90% accuracy is the ongoing motto. This will be by far the most intricate move we have done since it includes not only all the sisters at NDEG but also another 25 sisters who will be moving to Trinity Woods from around the city of Milwaukee and beyond. Each change of plans, each new wrinkle, affects so many details in the overall plan. The puzzle gets more and more complicated with every change, but reading the last sentences of paragraph seven from the SSND Constitution, You Are Sent, gives us all hope:

“In our efforts to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens, we experience the reconciling power of our merciful God. Awed by the mystery of God’s action in our midst, we gratefully celebrate life.”

The move from NDEG to Trinity Woods is a gift for all, and I personally am in awe of God’s work in each of us as we continue to work together.


Read more articles about the history of NDEG:


Want to learn more?


School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100



© 2022 School Sisters of Notre Dame