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Why I became a SSND associate

By Hawley Iseke, SSND associate in Guam

In John 1:39 we read of Jesus' response to Andrew and John about where Jesus was staying: “Come and see.” To me, this best summarizes why I wanted to join the associates of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Their love, example, passion, tenacity and wit always serve as something I enjoy and love.

The invitation to “come and see” started many years ago as a young 14-year-old student at Notre Dame High School, Talofofo, Guam. These sisters were totally different! They baked cookies, tended the garden and grotto, loved students, and were always warm and inviting.

Associate Hawley Iseke

In my previous experience, the sisters were to be feared and scared the “daylights” out of the students. The sisters I met at Notre Dame were compassionate, kind, always singing and ended the conversation with a “God Bless You!”

This invitation continued throughout my high school years and I was greatly influenced by the life of Sister Ignatia Sanchez. Sister Ignatia was never a regular classroom teacher of mine, but she served as a substitute for a week in Algebra. I was a little terrified of her and was even a little worried about having her during my senior year in government class. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. Ignatia was diagnosed with cancer and the disease took its toll. A few months before graduation, I recalled how she offered me her dinner plate at our annual Songfest gathering. Sister did not want the food to go to waste. Fast forward to graduation night and after all the greetings, congratulations and gift giving, I needed to do something special. I wanted to see Sister Ignatia, who at this time was quite ill but allowed me to visit her. She was so overjoyed to see me and reminded me of something important, “It's now your turn!” The invitation to come and see was evident during that visit. She entered eternal life a few weeks after my visit.

“Come and see” continued into my college years and into my teaching years at Notre Dame. The invitation to come and see the convent, to talk to the sisters, to be one in prayer with the sisters was, and continues to be, special to me!

Hawley Iseke is a faculty member at Notre Dame High School in Talofofo, Guam.


To learn more about the SSND associate program, visit Become an Associate.


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