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Welcome to the Generalate

By Sister Kate DuVal
The Generalate, located in Rome, is home to many sisters. Along with office space, chapel and guests room. This is a photo of the main building on the grounds.

Have you ever heard others talk about the Generalate in Rome and wondered what that is? Is it a building, a group of people, a church or a castle of sorts?

Having lived at the Generalate for five years, welcomed guests to this SSND international center in Rome several times and visited numerous other times, I offer my understanding and experience of what is often referred to as “the Generalate.”

The School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) were founded in 1833 in Neunburg vorm Wald, Germany. Ten years later, the center of governance for our religious community was transferred to Munich, Germany, and remained there until 1957, when we moved our “international headquarters” to Rome. We made this move to strengthen communication and community among ourselves as an international congregation. This move also strengthened the bond with other religious communities and groups based in Rome, including the Vatican, as well as to offer hospitality for many friends, partners in mission and associates who visit Rome for professional and personal reasons. We are blessed by the sharing of prayer, community and ministry through these varied encounters.

The Generalate, located in Rome, is home to many sisters. Along with office space, chapel and guests room. This is a photo of the chapel on the grounds.

Initially, we purchased property at Via Appia Nova, on the outskirts of Rome. However, we soon realized it was too small to serve the needs of a growing congregation. In 1960, we were able to purchase our current property, which is conveniently located near the international airport and just one train stop from the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Generalate located at Via della Stazione Aurelia, rests on a hill with 12.5 beautiful acres, high enough to see the cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica. This incredible space provides sisters office space, community space, housing, meeting space and even translation booths for a variety of groups. These groups include our international congregation’s leadership team, known as the General Council, colleagues, a hospitality community, SSND student sisters, sisters studying in Rome from other world-wide congregations, our international novices and housing for refugee families in transition once welcomed legally into Europe.

Sister Jean Greenwald moved to the Generalate in Rome early 2020 from Sancta Maria in Ripa in St. Louis. she is photographed working at her desk at the Generalate.

Over the years, the consistent “occupants” of the Generalate have been the congregation’s leadership team and a hospitality community that includes both colleagues with the leadership team and sisters who, generously, faithfully and skillfully, tend to the various needs of this large house and spacious grounds.

With this international center of SSND life, the Generalate stands as a beacon of light and love for all whom we are privileged to encounter its sacred grounds.

Join me and my sisters in prayer, that this symbol of congregational unity may always be a source of hope, peace and inclusivity for all who cross the threshold of grace.

Learn more about the Generalate.


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School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100



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