By Sister Anna Marie Reha, Provincial Council
At the Celebration of Gratitude and Farewell to 145 Years of SSND Presence at Chatawa, sisters placed a memory on a tree.

The Advent season is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus and the anticipation of the coming of Christ in fullness. This time of waiting holds the balance of remembrance and expectation. This period can also be called a liminal space in which, we honor all that has been before and anticipate all that will be new. We, Schools Sisters of Notre Dame of the Central Pacific Province, are experiencing this balance as we move through a time of many transitions.

Over the past six months, it has been a time of transition for the Provincial Council, which was installed on June 9, 2019. In September, General Superior Roxanne Schares and General Counselor Martina Radež met with the Council and talked not only about the needs and reality of the Central Pacific Province (CPP), but also the entire congregation. After dialogue and prayer, the Council developed its vision, initial goals and objectives then shared these with the province and provincial staff. The CPP has been engaged in a strategic planning process over the past four years, which has called us to look at what we have and what we need in order to fulfill the mission of Jesus Christ. Part of the Council’s work has been following through on the Integrated Implementation Process. After long and careful study, reflection and prayer, we are now moving into the process of divesture of our large properties and making new provisions for the ongoing residential and health care needs of our sisters. This process has placed the CPP precisely in a liminal space as we journey into the future.

Sister Canisia Hyodo places her memory of St. Mary of the Pines on the memory tree during the Celebration of Gratitude and Farewell to 145 Years of SSND Presence at Chatawa.

Presently, our sisters who have lived at St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa, Mississippi, are truly living in between the ‘what was’ and ‘what is next’ as they transition from living at Chatawa and moving to St. Anthony’s Gardens in Covington, Louisiana, a senior living ministry of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Moving to this new place allows our sisters who are independent to live in the same facility as those requiring assisted living and memory care, all within a Catholic facility supportive of religious life and community. The sisters began moving in mid-August and over the past several months have been settling into their new home. It is projected that in February 2020, sisters requiring skilled care will move to Trinity Trace Skilled Care, currently under construction, next to St. Anthony’s Gardens.

We live in the balance of deep gratitude for the 145 years at our beloved St. Mary of the Pines and in anticipation of the new ways we are being invited to live in community and be present at St. Anthony’s Gardens. Liminal space is where all transformation takes place, if we learn to wait and let it form us. This is living Advent to the fullest, in expectant waiting.

Join us in prayerful solidarity through this time of transition!

You may also be interested in:
  • Prayer through quilting Sister Josephine Niemann displayed two fabric pieces at Good Shepherd Gallery in north St. Louis to honor Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Sí. The quilt, “Global Warming,” and the banner, “Creation,” represent a creative take on the serious subject of caring for the Earth.
  • Celebrating Mother Caroline: A lesson in courage The passion and courage of Mother Caroline Friess, the American foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, can be seen in the ministries of sisters today. More 100 years later, sisters continue her efforts to educate and aid immigrants and those less fortunate.
  • St. Louis sisters, associates Adopt-a-Highway Sisters and associates in St. Louis took to heart Pope Francis’ call in his second encyclical, Laudato Si’, for people to take swift actions to improve the world’s environment. The section of I-255 at Telegraph Road they were assigned as part of the Adopt-A-Highway program got its first cleaning in August, with a second planned this month.

Want to learn more?


School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100


© 2017 School Sisters of Notre Dame