Meet Our Sisters 2022

Sister Patty Rass

Sister Patty Rass, wearing her “sage shawl” in celebration of entering a new decade of life, displays the flowers from her community members at the International House of Studies in celebration of her 70th birthday.

What is your country of origin? What city do you currently live in?
Although my full name is Patricia, I’ve been known as “Patty” all my life. I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which is where I currently live and minister.

Why did you join the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
I met my first SSNDs while studying at Mount Mary University. I felt at home there and was touched by the sisters’ friendliness, joy, dedication and sense of community. A year after graduation, I began my inquiry into joining SSND.

Can you please share with us your academic background or degrees/certificates?
I have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in mathematics, and I have a master’s degree in art therapy. I am also a registered and board-certified art therapist.

What is your current ministry with SSND?
I facilitate women’s art support groups for the Hmong American Friendship Association, lead art prayer sessions at the Center for Contemplative Outreach of Southeast Wisconsin and give art workshops to the residents at Trinity Woods Intergenerational Living Community. I’ve recently begun speaking at parishes and community organizations on the topic of art and wellness.

What ministries have you served in prior to now?
I have taught at the middle school and university levels, and I have provided art therapy services in educational, clinical and spiritual environments with people of all ages. I served as administrative assistant for a home health care service. I was house coordinator at the SSND International House of Studies located on the campus of Mount Mary University.

Has your ministry in SSND taken you to other cities, countries or continents? 
During my years at the International House of Studies, I had the privilege of living with SSNDs from the Province of Africa. One summer I accompanied a sister on her home visit to Kenya. While there, I had the opportunity to spend time at the SSND Postulancy in Kisumu and facilitated several contemplative art sessions with the postulants. It was a grace-filled event in my life!

Are you currently involved with any committees of SSND? Have you been involved in any committees in the past?
I am currently a Provincial Assembly member for the Central Pacific Province, and I serve on the governance committee. I am also on the Board of Directors for Notre Dame School of Milwaukee, which is one of our SSND-sponsored institutions. Over the years, I have served on committees for the Gerhardinger Fund, Women’s Leadership Luncheon, Jubilee and “All Province” days.

I am proud to be a School Sister of Notre Dame because…
I have had the opportunity to minister at two SSND-sponsored institutions for many years and have seen the transformation that has occurred in women and girls’ lives because of SSND presence and leadership.

What is your favorite memory from your time with SSND so far?
I will never forget how special my final vow celebration was! Since I was the only sister making her profession of vows at that time, I was able to hold the ceremony in the parish church where I was teaching. It was a glorious spring day a week after Easter. My family was present, as well as many SSNDs. The students I taught were involved in the ceremony and the parish choir that I belonged to led the music. It was truly a defining moment in my life as a School Sister of Notre Dame.

What are your special talents or skills?
I have been told I am a natural-born teacher, and I know I have both the organizational ability and the creativity to help learning become a positive experience. I am a lover of music and enjoy singing, dancing and playing the guitar. As an artist, I am skilled at designing and sewing art quilts.

What has been most challenging for you as a SSND?
Although the benefits and support of belonging to a community are many, there are times when I just want to be independent and make my own decisions. I am challenged to dialogue and make choices in the context of the whole, not just me.


Sister Marie Mendy

Sister Marie Mendy

What is your country of origin? What city do you currently live in?
My name is Sister Marie J. Mendy. I am from The Gambia, and I currently live in West Coast Region, Foni Kansala, Bwiam, The Gambia.

What inspired you to become a sister?
I was privileged to stay in the hostel managed by the School Sisters of Notre Dame from the Polish Province in my high school days at Fatima High School in Bwiam. I admired the sisters’ way of life. So, when I felt the desire to become a sister, I undoubtedly thought of joining the School Sisters of Notre Dame. I became a School Sister of Notre Dame in 2001.

Can you please share with us your academic background or degrees/certificates?
I received my Higher Teacher’s Certificate (H.T.C) from The Gambia College of Education with a major in mathematics and minor in agricultural science. I also attained my bachelor of education degree in mathematics and master’s degree in project planning and management from Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Kenya.

What is your current ministry?
At the moment, I teach agricultural science at Fatima Senior Secondary School in Bwiam. I am a senior mistress, member of the management team, science department head and acting school bursar.

Has your ministry in SSND taken you to other cities or countries?
I had the privilege of living in Ghana and Kenya, and spending a month in both Nigeria and Japan. I witnessed the richness of the charism being lived and expressed in all capacities. It was a clear indication that our charism is still needed in the world. The experience also brought me a better understanding of our internationality.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love exploring new places, watching movies, visiting family and friends, and jogging or taking long walks. I also like to play volleyball with the students.

Are you currently involved with any committees of SSND?
I am a member of the Personal Development in Community (PDIC) committee. In the past, I participated in ministry and finance committees.

I am proud to be a School Sister of Notre Dame because…
of our spirit of unity in spite of the different cultures, our strong heritage and passion for the enablement of persons to reach their full potential.

What is your favorite memory from your time with SSND so far?
I have so many memories to share, but one that stands out was my time in Kenya. I learned and relearned many things from culture to personalities.


Sister Rose Federici

Sister Rose Federici

What is your country of origin? What city do you currently live in? 
My name is Sister Rosalia Federici. Most people call me Rose. I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, which is where I currently live.

When and why did you join the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
While I was a student at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, I got to know our sisters. I was awed by their love for God, their living of gospel values, and their deep respect and love for one other. Inspired by the sisters, I became more aware of how God was present in my own life. Each one in her own way encouraged me to strive to become the best person I can be. During my junior year at college, I worked at St. Vincent Home in Philadelphia where our sisters ministered. There I lived with the sisters and shared community life with them and assisted with the care of the children. At St. Vincent, I witnessed God’s unconditional love for the children living at the home. The sisters there nurtured my vocation by being loving and gentle with me.

Can you please share with us your academic background or degrees/certificates?
I have a bachelor’s degree from The College of Notre Dame of Maryland and a master’s degree from La Salle University.

What is your current ministry with SSND?
I am currently on the leadership team at Stella Maris. I minister with our elderly sisters in skilled care.

What ministries have you served in prior to now?
I taught elementary school at St. James and John and St. Matthew in Baltimore. In Philadelphia, I taught at St. Peter the Apostle School and St. Boniface. For 33 years I ministered as principal at St. Peter the Apostle School, founded by Mother Caroline in 1848. In June of 2021, I retired from that ministry. What a privilege it was to live in St. Peter the Apostle Parish, which is the Shrine of St. John Neumann.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to cook, bake and decorate for the seasons. I also love relaxing at the beach.

Are you currently involved with any committees of SSND?
I am Temporary Professed Directress for the Atlantic-Midwest Province.

What do you love most about being a SSND?
I love our charism of unity and our ability to support each other on a daily basis.

What is your favorite memory from your time with SSND so far?
A memory that I cherish was on Christmas Eve at our generalate in Rome. Our sisters were gathered in the aula where we all sang “Silent Night” in our native language.

What are your special talents or skills?
I love gathering people together and celebrating holidays, feast days and individual accomplishments, especially with the children and now with our elderly sisters.


Sister Katherine Braun

Sister Katherine Braun

What is your country of origin? What city do you currently live in?
I am Sister Katherine Braun born in the United States. I am currently living in Burlington, Iowa.

What inspired you to become a sister?
I was taught by School Sisters of Notre Dame in grades 1-12 and also taught with them as a lay teacher for a year. I was impressed by their love of God and service to the church. They helped me as a beginning teacher.

When and why did you join the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
I joined SSND on August 24, 1973. I felt a strong sense of being called by God and a desire to follow Him as I witnessed the living charism of the sisters with whom I taught.

Can you please share with us your academic background or degrees/certificates?
After graduating from Notre Dame High School in Burlington, Iowa, I received an associate degree from Southeastern Iowa Area Community College, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from University of Northern Iowa, and a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary’s University.

What is your current ministry with SSND?
I am a pastoral minister to the sick and elderly and RCIA team member at Divine Mercy Parish.

Has your ministry in SSND taken you to other cities, countries or continents?
For two summers I ministered at a Christian Life Camp in Mandaran, North Dakota. One summer, I ministered in seven small villages on a reservation in Arizona with another SSND who was a full-time parish minister there. I appreciated the opportunity to experience the Native American culture. I remember picking fruit from saguaro cacti and making syrup, and attending powwows and funeral gatherings.

What do you like to do in your free time? 
I enjoy walking in the park and neighborhood. I like to read spiritual books and devotionals. Spending time with friends is important – on the phone or in person. I attend Travelogue programs learning about places around the world.

I am proud to be a School Sister of Notre Dame because…
I am following the Lord’s call as a consecrated woman witnessing unity in a divided world and living counter-culturally a life of poverty, celibacy and obedience. I have many opportunities to bring God’s love to others through service.

What is your favorite memory from your time with SSND so far?
I experienced our internationality when I participated in the Rome renewal program for my 25th Jubilee. It was truly a gift!

What has been most challenging for you as a SSND?
It is challenging integrating community, ministry and prayer. Technology is also a real challenge for me.


Sister Kim Nguyen

Sister Kim Nguyen

What is your country of origin? What city do you currently live in?
I am a product of Vietnam. I came to the United States in 1975 with my family as refugees. I am currently living in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

When did you join the School Sisters of Notre Dame? What inspired you to become a sister?
I joined the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1993. God led me to an “educator” community where I could use God’s gift to serve his people.

Did you have a career before joining SSND?
Yes, I was a teacher in public schools in Chicago, Illinois.

What is your current ministry with SSND?
I am a DRE, director of religious education, at St. Gerard Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to read novels and watch movies. I also enjoy nature.

What is your favorite memory from your time with SSND so far?
My favorite memory was in Stickney Community in Stickney, Illinois.  Everyone in the community was supportive and respected each other.

What are your special talents or skills?
Sense of humor, compassion, well organized


Sister Dorothy Enang

Sister Dorothy Enang

What is your country of origin? What city do you currently live in?
I am from Nigeria, and I currently live in Rome, Italy.

When did you join the School Sisters of Notre Dame? What inspired you to become a sister?
I became a School Sister of Notre Dame in 1989 because I wanted to serve God through educating the poor and less privileged.

Academic background or degrees/certificates?
Teacher’s Grade 11 certificate (TC 11); National certificate in Education (NCE); B.Ed. certificate in finance track; Certificate in human resource management

What is your current ministry?
I am a sacristan in the Generalate in Rome.

What ministries have you served in prior to now?
Headmistress at a kindergarten and school, principal of a high school, teacher and librarian

What do you like to do in your free time?
Cooking, reading, listening to music, farming, singing and dancing

What do you feel is the most important thing for people to know about the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
Life as a School Sister of Notre Dame is not only ministry and prayer. It involves all-around development of an individual that will help make a community a home.

I am proud to be a School Sister of Notre Dame because…
I can help people to develop their potential and bring out the best in them.

What is your favorite memory from your time with SSND so far?
Seeing the children that I taught when they were 2-3 years old now grown up and becoming priests, nurses, teachers, etc., in life.

What has been most challenging for you as a SSND?
I would not say most challenging, however, intercultural living is what I have to keep learning.


sister juliette daigle at desk

Sister Juliette Daigle in her ministry as administrative assistant for the Central Pacific Province.

Sister Juliette Daigle

What is your country of origin? What city do you currently live in?
Hello, my name is Sister Juliette Daigle. I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. I currently live and minister in Dallas, Texas.

What inspired you to become a sister?
I was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame through elementary and secondary school. When I felt God’s call in my life to become a Sister, I naturally considered entering the School Sisters. I enjoyed my years of education and had wonderful relationships with the Sisters who taught me. Some were stricter than others, but I felt comfortable with knowing them. The sisters seemed to be very human and fun loving. I entered the Convent in 1960 after graduating from high school.

Academic background or degrees/certificates?
I received my first degree from Notre Dame College in St. Louis, Missouri, with a major in economics and a minor in business education. I also received a Master’s Degree from the University of Central Arkansas in business education.

What is your current ministry?
I minister as one of the administrative assistants for the Central Pacific Province.

What ministries have you served in prior to now?
I began ministry on the elementary level, then moved to high school teaching business education subjects. I taught in the following cities: Marrero, Louisiana; New Orleans, Louisiana; Houston, Texas; and San Antonio, Texas. Having business skills in various areas was an asset for me when, after 29 years in formal education, I was asked in 1993 to minister as secretary to the former Dallas Province. From 2006-2014, I ministered as general secretary/archivist at our Generalate offices in Rome, Italy.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I am an avid reader and movie lover, and I enjoy traveling. My experience of living in Italy gave me an opportunity to visit many cities and some countries in Europe.

What do you feel is the most important thing for people to know about the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
We are women who are aware of God’s grace working in our lives as we minister to all those in need, encouraging them to become the best persons they can become. We recognize the dignity of all people, as we minister not only in the United States but internationally. God’s whole creation of the universe is important to School Sisters of Notre Dame, and we work toward systemic changes that will benefit all people of the world. Our mission is to bring all to oneness with God.

What do you love most about being a SSND?
What I love most about being a School Sister of Notre Dame is a sense of community, and the welcoming spirit of our sisters and others who help to form a community of service and love. The sharing of our gifts and talents helps each of us to become fully alive in God’s grace.

I am proud to be a School Sister of Notre Dame because…
of our charism and spirit of having a world vision as we move forward toward embracing our diversity as Sisters and as a world of God’s people so that the dignity of each person is honored and cherished.

What is your favorite memory from your time with SSND so far?
There are many favorite memories for me over the years, including living with sisters of various ages and personalities that have helped me mature as a person; the ministries I have experienced, which also continue to help me grow into the best person I can be.

What has been most challenging for you as a SSND?
Along with experiencing many happy memories, there are always challenges in each person’s life. One challenge that I experience is living in a divided world where greed and power seem to always cause a lack of compassion and forgiveness in individuals.


Sister Esther Ayaapoa Alaam

Sister Esther Ayaapoa Alaam

What is your country of origin? What city do you currently live in?
I am from Ghana and currently living in Nsawam, Ghana.

When did you join the School Sisters of Notre Dame? What inspired you to become a sister?
November 2011; The charism of Mother Theresa (women empowerment) inspired me to join SSND.

Did you have a career before joining SSND?
Yes, I was a community health nurse.

Can you please share with us your academic background or degrees/certificates?
I am a certified community health nurse. I mostly did immunizations for children and mothers, health education and home visits.

What is your current ministry with SSND?
I am a midwife performing deliveries and attending to pregnant mothers for their various needs.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy watching movies or reading novels.

Are you currently involved with any committees of SSND?
I am a member of the personal development in community (PDIC) committee.

What do you love most about being a SSND?
Our togetherness and community life.

I am proud to be a School Sister of Notre Dame because…
l have enabled and empowered many women and young girls.

What is your favorite memory from your time with SSND so far?
My time in the novitiate; I miss it so much.

What are your special talents or skills?
Personable, good relational skills, gift of laughter, flexible, simple and easy to live with.


Sister Paula Marie walking her cat

Sister Paula Marie Blouin takes her cat, Chunky, for a walk.

Sister Paula Marie Blouin

What city do you currently live in?
Flowood, Mississippi

When and why did you join the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
I entered SSND in August of 1962 because I preferred the global outlook and because I had SSNDs in high school.

Can you please share with us your academic background or degrees/certificates?
Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies, master’s degree in education with an emphasis as reading specialist, master’s degree in education with an emphasis on early childhood education, certified administrator

What ministries have you served in?
I have been a teacher, administrator, superintendent and finally, my true passion, director of an early learning center.  In reading the signs of the times as Mother Theresa did, I realized the need for working with the very young since both parents have to work in this day and age.  Fifty percent of a child’s morals and values are formed by the age of five and Catholic education was not addressing this. I served as Director of Assisi Early Learning for more than 34 years and helped four other ministries get started in our diocese. We served infants through four-year-old children. I recently retired in December 2021.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Caring for the cat that adopted us (Chunky), reading, gardening, resting, cleaning, volunteering at our parish, and just being in community.

Are you currently involved with any committees of SSND? Have you been involved in any committees in the past?
I am presently on the alms committee. In the past, I have served on the ministry board in the former Dallas Province.

What do you feel is the most important thing for people to know about the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
We are a wonderful group of women with a global vision serving God’s people and their needs.

What do you love most about being a SSND?
Everything, but especially the support of living in community with other women who are so committed to God and to service to God’s people.

Finish this sentence: I am proud to be a School Sister of Notre Dame because…
God has called me to religious life and this community that serves God’s people and their many needs. I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher, and education was and is our charism.

What is your favorite memory from your time with SSND so far?
In the words of St. Augustine, I enjoy the talking and laughing together, reading from books that speak of pleasant things, disputing now and then but without resentment, missing the absent one and tasting the joy of their return.

What has been most challenging for you as a SSND?
Leaving places where I have served, and the people with whom I have served.


Sister Frances Okafor

Sister Frances Okafor

What is your country of origin?
I am a Nigerian from the southeastern region of Anambra State.

What city do you currently live in?
I live and minister in Benue State in the north central region of Nigeria.

What inspired you to become a sister?
My high school teachers spurred in me the desire to be a religious by their example. I was amazed at their selflessness and deep desire to live their life in service of others. I wanted to serve God in others as I experienced them doing.

When and why did you join the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
I joined the SSNDs in 2016 because I was captivated by our charism of unity and education, as well as our emphasis on community.  The bond of love the sisters shared in community was so warm; I felt at home from my first visit.

Did you have a career before joining SSND?
Prior to becoming a religious, I worked in the customer service department of one of Nigeria’s leading multinational telecommunications company.

Can you please share with us your academic background or degrees/certificates?
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communication among other certifications and proficiency courses.

What is your current ministry with SSND?
Currently, I minister as a teacher at Notre Dame Secondary School, Mkar, Benue State, Nigeria. I teach eighth grade national values (social studies, civic education,  security management). I also serve in the communication department of the Province of Africa.

Has your ministry in SSND taken you to other cities, countries or continents? 
I had the opportunity to live in east and west Africa, as well as Europe. It was such a beautiful experience to see our charism lived across cultures and nations. It deepened my understanding of living interculturality, implanted in me a deep reverence for the sacred history of all people, and offered me an opportunity to become a better person by the diversity I encountered.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy reading and movie watching.

What do you feel is the most important thing for people to know about the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
I feel our values of unity and dialogue are what the world needs to know and soak in.

What do you love most about being a SSND?
I love our focus on community, our internationality and central government which is our effort to witness to unity in our divided world.