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Welcoming new associates

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There is a long legacy of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) in Effingham, Illinois, including 67 women from the area becoming SSND. In 2011, SSND celebrated 150 years in Effingham through years of service, presence and ministry. This rich history has led to the incredible call for 10 women to join the SSND associates in Effingham this past spring.

This associate commitment ceremony, known as a covenanting, was special, not only to the women becoming associates, but also to the SSND community. The five sisters serving in Effingham felt as much pride as the new associates. As Sister Jane Marie Hotze shared, “We won’t be around forever and the number of vocations coming are very low. So, I asked the sisters in the area to join me to ask for people to become associates. The personal invitation and being present to the women are really what led to such a large group of associates.”

Ten new SSND associates made initial covenant at St. Anthony Parish in Effingham, Illinois.
Ten new SSND associates made initial covenant at St. Anthony Parish in Effingham, Illinois. Front row, from left, are Paula Bushur, Kathy Fearday, Ann Hotze, Judy Goeckner and Irene Koester; back row are Sister Christina Frick, Judy Luchtefeld, Sister Jane Marie Hotze, Patti Devall, Dolores Kroeger, Teresa Tegeler, Barbara Tegenkamp, Sister Lois Martens and Sister Jane Boos. Not pictured is Sister Pat Thies.

Associates are people called to live the Gospel values within their own vocation in the spirit and vision of Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, foundress of the SSND. Together, associates and sisters continue the mission of Blessed Theresa. “Through this special relationship as associates, women and men are called to address the divisions in our world with audacity and hope,” said Sister Kathy Schmittgens, co-director of the Central Pacific Province associates. “Associates focus on the needs of women, youth and persons who are poor and marginalized. Integral to the gospel commitment is SSND work for justice, peace and integrity of creation.”

“Many of our newest associates have interacted with SSND their entire lives through schools, parishes and community organizations,” said Sister Kathy. “Four of the associates, Patti (Emmerich) Devall, Kathy (Boos) Fearday, Ann (Spour) Hotze and Irene (Schmidt) Koester, have blood sisters who are SSND.” These 10 women accepted an invitation by the sisters to become associates in January 2020.

During the pre-associate phase, which includes meetings, mentoring and SSND mission formation classes, many of the sisters felt a stronger connection to their vocation. Sister Lois Martens shared, “I feel a lot of gratitude for my call to SSND. I learned a lot about our history that we didn’t learn or forgot during our novitiate, as well as other aspects of our community based on the research provided and what we looked up on our own. It was an opportunity to learn and grow together and deepen our relationship of who we are.”

Associates are very active throughout the province. To learn more about the SSND Central Province associate program, visit the Associate News page for a listing stories and activities from around the province.


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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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