Meet Our Sisters 2022

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.

Finish this sentence: 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.