Catholic Sisters Week 2022

Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14: Celebrating traditions, changing the world

All throughout the year, School Sisters of Notre Dame and all women religious stand with the poor and immigrants, teach children, fight injustice, heal the sick, share spirituality, empower women, defend the planet, promote peace, create community and offer hope. But for one week, we shine the spotlight on women religious to raise awareness of mission and all the ways Jesus’ goodness is embodied through the lives of Catholic Sisters.

In recognition of Catholic Sisters Week, we collected messages of gratitude and support for our sisters. Thank you for all the kind words and encouragement! We have been overwhelmed by the support from friends, neighbors, local organizations and schools who see SSND as a vital member of the community.

I’d like to thank the sisters for the work they do around the world, educating and inspiring others to join them in their work. I appreciate their work in peace and justice, as well as care for God’s earth. They have made a difference in my life and so many others.
Theresa Francis
Dallas, Texas

I taught in the local Catholic school system with SSND sisters for 16 years. I admire your work ethic, your advocation for women and children, and your firm stands for peace and justice. I am grateful for your tireless sacrifice.
Kathleen Felt
North Mankato, Minnesota

I am grateful to:
Sr. Carola, who intimidated me into doing my best (only when I was ready) a few years after graduating from IND. I have a subscription to the daily New York Times—must have come from her influence and my dad.

Sr. Jacqueline, who taught me algebra when I was 14 and convinced that I would never understand. I learned enough math to get an education that allowed me to use what I learned from her to take care of others as a nurse practitioner.

Sr. Benedicta, who understood in her German soul that individual rights and civil rights really did matter. More than once, I was able to say, “That’s just not right.”

The sisters who tended the rose gardens at IND in the 60s.

All of the sisters who thought it mattered that we showed up every day ready to work, respect ourselves and the work we did.

Sr. Eleanora, who demonstrated great courage and stamina when the Veney brothers were shooting up the street behind the school and in the announcement of JFK’s death. We were all on our knees at St. James that very afternoon.
Pat Balassone
Westerville, Ohio

Darnae Wells and Sister Sharon at NDMU Graduation, 2012

Thank you, Sister Sharon Kanis!
I am so grateful for your support throughout college and your perspective, which I hope I’ve adopted to some extent. I was deeply changed by your patience, love and compassion. In my most confusing times, I am reassured by your presence and teachings.
Darnae Wells
Baltimore, Maryland

Sr. Jan Fennewald and Sr. Laverne Kleinheider,
Sr. Laverne was my first grade teacher at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Belleville, IL, and I knew Sr. Jan from band while at CGS. I was taught by the SSNDs for grade school and high school, and I can’t say enough good things about the quality of education I received and the caring atmosphere in which we were taught. I will be forever grateful that my mom and dad were able to send all three Steckler girls to Cathedral and the Academy of Notre Dame. I have many fond memories of the sisters, and so I just want to say thank you again.

I write Sr. Laverne from time to time. Sr. Jan is my Cardinal baseball buddy, and I hear from her every now and then as well.
Kathy Steckler
Belleville, Illinois

Sr. Ethel Marie Biri,
Sister, your contribution to our diocese has been immense and decisive. Though it was not what you were dreaming of half a century ago, you proved equal to the task. Thank you.

Sr. Frances Wessell,
Thank you, Sister, for your years of service in our diocese, specifically Monroe City, Indian Creek and Hunnewell. Thanks for remaining faithful!
Fr. Patrick Dowling
Holts Summit, Missouri

Your love for your SSND mission and your faithfulness to it, always inspires me!
Arlene Flaherty

I was fortunate enough to have the SSND for both grammar school (St. Helena of the Cross, class of 1967) and high school (Longwood, class of 1971). I owe my education to these wonderful sisters. Thank you.
Mary Kay McGarr
Chicago, Illinois

The Sisters at Villa Assumpta in Towson, Maryland,
I attended the Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Maryland from first grade through 12. When it closed 2 years ago, a little part of me closed to. I thought a great deal about what the building and the sisters meant to me, and I came to this conclusion: the sisters at IND had a VERY large part in shaping the person I am today. My faith, my character, my integrity, my mind, and even my soul, were refined and shaped by those nuns. I am a cradle Catholic and my active faith and prayer life today were formed in those classrooms and the daily visits to the chapel. I even received my first communion there. My love of learning, charitable giving, tolerance, and forgiveness is all part of my experience at IND. I don’t know how many of the sisters who taught me are still living, but I hope this reaches a few of them so that I can say a humble thank you for your work, your love and care of all your students. I am blessed by having had such a wonderful education and to be loved and cared for by such marvelous sisters. Thank you, and God and His Holy Mother bless all of you.
Mary Cole Puskar
Bel Air, Maryland

SSND has impacted my life in a positive way on so many different levels, and I can’t thank you enough. SSND first taught my mom at Academy of Our Lady High School in Longwood, IL. I also attended Catholic school in Chicago, IL. I loved following the Nun Study as a kid. I ended up going to medical school, residency, and fellowship. I specifically chose to do my residency training at the University of Washington because I hoped to work with the Nun Study with Dr. Tom Montine. I have been working with the Nun Study ever since (including at Stanford, University of Minnesota, and Northwestern). Now I’m an attending physician scientist neuropathologist at Northwestern University in Chicago (back home for me) and the new Director of the Nun Study. Most days it still feels too good to be true. The research contributions of SSND are truly incredible and inspirational. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to aging and dementia research, including brain donation. I would also like to thank SSND for believing in me and trusting me with your amazing study. We are making amazing research and education progress with the Nun Study! Two additional personal “thank yous” come from Eva Bambakadis and Jaclyn Lilek in my lab. They specifically would like to thank you because working with the Nun Study has helped them both reach the next stages of their careers.

SSND’s constant support, prayers, and friendship has also been very much appreciated on a personal level. I am very grateful to have such a strong and inspirational group of women as role models. It is awesome to have SSND in my corner supporting my lab’s research and cheering us on every step of the way.
Maggie Flanagan
Chicago, Illinois

Although I know Sr. Jean Regis has passed away, I wanted to salute her warm and compassionate heart. I was a Senior at AOL, and my dad had just died right before finals. My mom had already died when I was a Freshman. Well, I failed my final, but Sr. Jean took me aside and told me not to worry. I’ll never forget her kindness and the impression it left on my life.
Cecilia Jensen McGrath (AOL class of 1967)
Chicago, Illinois

Sister Doreen Norman,
You were always kind to me. I always remember you calling me to the pantry in our lunchroom at dinner time. There was a curry rice dish – what a surprise. Such caring is unforgettable.
Ann-Jane Wong
Toronto, Ontario

I’ve been blessed to have known the SSND congregation since 1958. They’ve taught me and my entire family. Each one had an influence on each of us in different ways. The sisters helped all of us become the men and women we are today. I will always be grateful to them for everything they have done for me and my family.
Susan Smirh
St. Petersburg, Florida

Dear Sisters, I am an SSND associate in Chatawa. Thank you all for sharing your charisms and concern and friendship with me! When I moved to Mississippi, I never dreamed that I would be living practically next door to such remarkable women. I have grown spiritually and educationally since I met all of you. I have been invited to be a part of your community in so many ways. It is amazing the work around the world that the SSND have accomplished. The associate logo shows hands coupled together in friendship. I so appreciate the friendship of the SSND. Thank you all!
Love, Christine Ingrassia
Chatawa, Mississippi

Sr. Nancy Gilchriest,
You remain one of my most favorite people in my life! I am not sure I ever properly thanked you for getting me through some of the toughest, darkest years when my parents were getting divorced. You gave me a safe place, a laugh, and kindness when I needed it most. You have impacted so many lives just by being YOU. I celebrate you every day and hold you in my heart and prayers!
Nancy Eschenauer Parker
Short Hills, New Jersey

Lisa Darress with Sister Marie Patrick

My Aunt Nell, Sister Marie Patrick as you knew her, had one of the most kind and generous hearts. I will always remember her Irish Jig and reminding us that we can have corned beef and cabbage if St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday during lent. Thank you for the support you all at SSND gave to us after her passing.
Lisa Darress
Long Beach, New York

Sr. Anne Vogel,
May God bless you for all you did for the girls back then in Notre Dame Girl’s Secondary School Urua Edet Obo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. We are now ladies and still enjoying the way you molded us, especially me. I’m grateful. God bless you.
Ndisemeke Utitufon (Ensemeke as you use to call me)
Akwa Ibom, Nigeria

I bless the SSND daily! I attended Christ the King School and enjoyed the good sisters’ educational instruction, love, and care K-8th. They taught me to care about my fellow man, question and battle injustice, trust in Our Lord, and to reason. I still remember Sr. Marie Carl thumping me on the head and telling me, “Don’t parrot back to me what I said, Patricia. Think!” I continue to think and reason. Thank you.
Patty Lee-Lucardie
Tampa, Florida

Sr. Stacey Gunnip,
Thank you for your friendship and always having a smile when you need it!
Katherine Bivons
Cockeysville, Maryland

Tracee Cammarata and Sister Roy at one of the Saint Saviour reunions.

Sr. Mary Roy Weiss,
You were an excellent teacher. From your love of music to drama and everything in between, you inspired myself and so many others. You never stopped getting better at your craft and never stopped learning new things. I remember when you came back one year after learning about healing hands and shared what you had learned with us. You continued your education and received your doctorate, teaching us all to keep going and to keep dreaming and achieving. You were always concerned about how we were personally, knowing that if we were well, we could perform well in all of our endeavors. Between you, Sr. Monica, and Sr. Miriam, high school was a place that was loved and that we felt loved. Thank you so much for honoring us as people, but more importantly as young women. I’ve always said that if I could go back and do life again, not changing any outcome, I would go back to high school. You are a huge part of my reasoning! I love you and will always love you. And thank you for being a huge part of the foundation that allows me to stand today.
Tracee Cammarata
Brooklyn, New York

I am not sure how many of the sisters remain here on earth, but the women who taught us to be our best selves at St. Savior HS in Brooklyn will be in my heart forever. So grateful for their leadership.
Shelagh Gallagher O’Brien
Melbourne Beach, Florida

Sr. Genevieve Cassani, Sr. Anne Francioni and SSND congregation,
I was a member of the SSND congregation from 1966 through 1977. Even though I left the community, I know I have been profoundly affected by many sisters and was especially fortunate to have Frances Padberg as a mentor. I am gifted to work closely with Gen Cassani now at our parish on issues of racial equity, anti-racism, and support for immigrants and refugees. And it has been a privilege to be able to support Anne Francioni’s amazing work at Whole Kids Outreach. The SSNDs are an important part of who I am, and I am most grateful for this gift.
Ruth Roetheli Ehresman
St. Louis, Missouri

Three of my great, great, great aunties were SSND. Little did I know when I moved to this tiny little town in Illinois that they are at rest just an hour away in Quincy, IL. I write this in honor of them and in honor of all the sisters. Thank you for all that you do to make the lives of the less fortunate better. I follow in my aunties footsteps as a public health professional. It is my sincere hope that I would make them proud.
Maureen Bezold
Macomb, Illinois via Germantown, Wisconsin

Sister Mary Catherine Dundon,
You gave us unconditional love and enthusiasm. Thank you for your example. Caroline Academy was wonderful with you there.
Claudia Shapley Murtaugh
Weimar, Germany

My late aunt was Mother Georgianne Segner, SSND. According to what I found online, “Mother G” was born September 14, 1914 and died October 30, 2000, made her first profession on August 31, 1936, was the founding Provincial of the Dallas Province September 8, 1961-October 24, 1968 and served as Eighth General Superior October 24, 1968-October 24, 1977. My aunt was warm, friendly and funny to me as a niece, I can only imagine how those she led within SSND felt about her. Through my father Herbert (Georgianne’s brother) and siblings, I got to know a little bit about SSND. Some members of SSND are in elder care retirement life at an Archdiocese of New Orleans elder care community, and in correspondence learned some of the sisters knew my aunt and have met my grandmother Segner too. So I guess we ARE like family! I pray frequently for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Having nuns teach Catholic faith and other subjects in Catholic schools is such a positive influence on a child’s life. It would be great if more contemporary Catholic children could meet and get to know how women can be attracted to knowing, loving and serving God as a sister and also be an excellent teacher.
Carol Segner Koster
Mandeville, Louisiana

Jerry and Debbie Fangel visiting Sr. Petrann.

Sr. M. Petrann Sieben,
You have been a good friend to mom and dad, and I am so blessed to have you in my life also. God bless you.
Love, Debbie Fangel
Vine Grove, Kentucky

The SSND teachers of St. Augustine School 1973-1982,
Thank you so much for the great education, guidance and love during my early years!
Margaret (Casey) Davis
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

SSND remains in my heart. We are indeed called and sent… to make ONE.
Debra Trakel
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

I have been blessed with the privilege of being taught by the SSND’s in grades 1-8 (Immaculate Conception, Lonsdale, MN), AND working with them as a school secretary for 21 years (LNMV Area School, Lonsdale, MN). Each sister gave a unique part of herself to us, and I am grateful to every one of them for touching my life! I pray for you all daily. God bless you!
Dianne Miller
Lonsdale, Minnesota

Sr. Mary Colette Haus

I attended St. Alphonsus Grammar School in Chicago, IL. I graduated from 8th grade in 1956. Seems like ages ago now. As with all my teachers then, I do have wonderful memories. Sister Mary Collette was my 6th grade teacher. Several years after I left Chicago to live in Wisconsin, I came back to St. Al’s and found she was in her 90’s living in the convent. I visited her for quite awhile. She was gracious and welcoming. I distinctly remember one thing she told me which stuck with me. She said that when she was teaching, each day when she returned to the convnet, she said a small prayer. It consisted of asking God that if she had done or said anything to the children that might have been wrong or hurtful, she asked that “God make it right.” That probably was about 40 years or more ago. I’ve not forgotten that humble prayer of hers.
Helen Zaukas

Sister Joanne Poehlman has been my tireless cheerleader, keeping me on track to finish my thesis. She has also been a wonderful friend and support as my husband battles cancer. She has truly been a positive influence in life.
Karen Savitskij
Hartland, Wisconsin

Sister Rose Anthony Krebs,
You taught me so well that I had to become a teacher too! I am so blessed!
Michelle E. Forsyth
St. Paul, Minnesota

Sister Rita Krusell shared a hijab, kaffiyeh, and other traditional headwear with sixth graders at Notre Dame School of Milwaukee in 2020 as they completed their studies on Middle Eastern culture.

Sister Rita, Sister Shannon and all who have supported Notre Dame School of Milwaukee,
I’m so grateful to have worked with Sister Shannon and had Sister Rita as a volunteer at Notre Dame School of Milwaukee. Both have brought so much joy to our school. Sister Shannon’s sense of humor, her dedication to her students and school, and her patience with others is a gift from God. Sister Rita would always come during my social studies classes and share all sorts of wild facts with the kids. She made them laugh, she made them wonder, and she got them to think deeper about how history still impacts us today.

So many others have shared their time and talents with Notre Dame School of Milwaukee, and I am grateful for them as well. Sr. Marianne, Sr. Gladys and Sr. Judy. All are important members of our community.
Maggie Lottes
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Hi to all the SSND sisters of Central Pacific Province. I am grateful for all the sisters that have been in my life, showing me love, prayers and caring. I am glad to be part of the dynamic sisters as an Associate of SSND. Prayers with you all.
Hugs and love, Debby Anderson
Mankato, Minnesota

Sister Mary Faith Parkinson,
You are such an amazing woman with a heart of gold (except when talking about me of course) and such a great wealth of stories. I would have surely loved to have worked with you as a principal. It was a great day when I met you at MQS all those years ago. We hope you’re loving your new living quarters in beautiful Wauwatosa.
Larry and Michele Kartz
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

To all the School Sisters of Notre Dame, thank you for all that you have added to my life from high school at St. Saviour and far beyond those years. Teachers, friends and colleagues, we share a lifetime of love-filled memories. Thank you.
Geri Martinez
Brooklyn, New York

This big thank you goes out to all the sisters, but especially the ones who taught me in St. Gertrude’s Grade School in Krakow, Missouri, and St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington, Missouri. I remember you all with great fondness. May God bless you all!
LuAnn Eckelkamp Cooper
Washington, Missouri

Sister Marguerite Cook

Thank you to so many of you who established Mount Mary University and taught me many things while I was there for occupational therapy. That was over 20 years ago, and I have not forgotten any of you. While I did graduate in 1999, I have been back a few times to Milwaukee to just drink in the beauty of the school, the nostalgia, and the atmosphere. My best memories were the classes I participated in with the sisters. Going to the nursing home to participate with eucharist and one special sister, the hand bell choir, and my favorite history teacher are just a few of my special times. And who would ever forget the justice group with Sister Marcie! Thank you for all the blessed memories and the best education of all!
Sister Marguerite Cook
Springfield, Illinois

I remember fondly the School Sisters of Notre Dame who taught at St. Augustine School in Milwaukee. I graduated from Marquette University in 1976 and Sister Anne Joseph hired me to be the sixth grade teacher. Sr. Mary Leo taught fifth grade. Sister Anne was supportive and kind. I admire her still. Sr. Mary was generous and had a great sense of humor. I taught there for two years before moving to Michigan with my husband.

In 1985, I was traveling through Milwaukee and decided to stop and visit my friends at the Mother House there. I had my four-year old son, Nate, and my 18-month-old son, Sam, with me. I was talking with Sr. Mary Leo as we walked through the halls. I asked her if she was retired. “Not retired,” she replied with a smile, “just tired.” After retiring from teaching, she helped in the school office. When she retired from that she helped the older sisters at the Mother House, taking them for walks. I was quite moved as Sr. Mary Leo and I walked through the hall chatting, other sisters started coming out of their rooms. They were drawn to the voices of my young children. They wanted to come say hello. Once a teacher, always a teacher. God bless the School Sister of Notre Dame!
Mary (a.k.a. Macy) Butler
Silver Spring, Maryland

Sister Madeline Hansen,
Thank you for being a special and integral part of my childhood and young adulthood. Your words of wisdom and unwavering love for me and my family have stayed with us throughout lives; we cherish the lessons and memories. We appreciate you and your ability to have kept us in the light with God.
Allisa Ciccia
Bergenfield, New Jersey

Sister Carole and Jacqueline Finch (Piane), class of ‘93, at the reunion in October 2013.

Sister Carole Tabano,
Few teachers stand out in my memory, but I remember your class vividly. You made learning fun! We all got to know you as a person and that led us to have great respect for who you are. I took the CLEP exam and earned 13 credits (the most possible) for Spanish, which led to me graduating college early. My youngest child is starting AHA in the fall. I wish that she could have had you, but hopefully you can meet. Thank you for being you: an amazing teacher and a wonderful person.
Jacqueline Finch (Piane)
River Vale, New Jersey

Celebrating with the women SSND! My first feminist role models! College educated, any job was within reach. Women of faith, caring and consideration. Particular thank you to Sister Virginia Brobowski who told me my behavior was not so bad after all, which helped my self-esteem! My intuition told me to trust her! With gratitude!
Pamela (Pam) Ann Wynne, Class of 1976
Jacksonville, Florida

I graduated from the Academy of Holy Angels in 1985. The school had so many wonderful sisters who taught us. Sister Ruth, who taught me history, I will never forget her kindness and incredible sense of humor, and Sr. Norice Sullivan who led the school with such incredible vision. Thank you for all you do. You make such a wonderful difference in the world and shape future generations.
Christina Karas
Boca Raton, Florida

It has been many years since I graduated from the Academy of the Holy Angels (‘66), but every day I am grateful for the generosity and expertise of my SSND teachers. My life is rich and rewarding because of the sisters who guided me and loved me. God’s blessings to each of you as we celebrate the gift that you are.
Sharon Machrone
Midlothian, Virginia

I’ve known Sr. Paulette since she was principal at Holy Rosary School in Mankato. Sister asked if I would be the PTA chair. I was relatively new to the area and as a mom of six, did not have much time to spread my wings. However, sister convinced me I could do it. That year I made a presentation during weekend masses. I feel the experience gave me confidence in myself. Sister Paulette’s faith in my leadership potential inspired and spurred me to other pursuits I might not have taken had she not presented me with the opportunity. After my husband died and my children were raised, I trained to be a hospital chaplain (encouraged by Richard Spinal, who taught at Loyola and lived on the hill). He, too, saw potential I would not have dreamed of. My children were educated at Holy Rosary, Fitzgerald, Good Counsel Academy and Loyola High School. The SSND’s helped make them the productive, giving, courageous persons that they are today.

A shout out (posthumously) to Sr. Dolorosa, who tutored one of my daughters in Latin as she planned to pursue a career in medicine. She became a neuro-scientist at Penn State instead, but we certainly enjoyed Sr. Dolorosa visits to our home.

Sister Mariano Pard,
Thank you for bringing joy and life to the school where my children attended, and I worked. The years of your service were full of innovative programs and activities that the students (and parents) really enjoyed! Although your stay at St. John the Evangelist School in Leonia was brief, you made a wonderful impact on so many parents, teachers and students. Thanks for everything!
Love, Julie Diemer & Family
Leonia, New Jersey

Sister Mary Faith and friends at Trinity Woods,
A cake I made for a Fourth of July cake contest at Elm Grove Park, Wisconsin. It won first prize!
Will call you Sister, for a tour soon. Bless you all in your new homes!
Cathy Newbauer, Jeanne Fortino
Brookfield, Wisconsin

Sister Bridget Waldorf,
I am so thankful that we had a period of time together at Loyola Catholic School. You were a wonderful addition to the high school staff, and I always admire your SSND lifestyle and welcoming personality. You touched my heart.
Peace and Love,
Shelley Schultz, SSND Associate
Madison Lake, Minnesota

Dear Aunt Mary (Sister Mary Lennon) and all the SSND,
Thank you for your tireless work and dedication to providing exceptional education, care and wellness to/for Catholic girls and women. My time at The Academy of the Holy Angels was so special and meaningful thanks to SSND teachers and administrators. I’m proud to call one SSND my own. We love you!
Eileen Duff
Ridgewood, New Jersey

Thank you to the many dedicated sisters at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, NJ. I am grateful for the solid educational foundation they gave me.
Kelly Lynch, MD (Academy of the Holy Angels, class of 1985)
N Granby, Connecticut

Sisters Mary Beatrice, Marie Kathlene, Mary Donna and Mary Delores,
Each of you touched my life spiritually while I attended St. John the Baptist school in Marshfield, WI in late 1950s and early 1960s. I’ve never forgotten the special kindness each of you imparted on my life. Thank you, and God be with each of you.
Lynda (Somerville) Evers
Sparta, Wisconsin

Crispin Odhiambo Awino

In memory of Sister Ara Coeli,
In the early 1990s, my mom became friends with Sister Ara Coeli in Kenya. The friendship was very special because it was a time that our economic status was wanting. Sister supported mom with prayers and helped pay school fees for me and my two siblings. Sister passed on, but through her introducing us to the SSND community, our education went on with support from the other sisters that came after her: Sisters Sylvia Bogmiere, Mary Gen Olin and Mara Frandit. I went through a major operation and on numerous occasions, Sister Sylvia took me to and from the hospital until I became well. Sister Mara Frandit helped my brother when he was bitten by a stray dog. My brother’s leg and life was saved because of the true love from SSND. I have achieved a lot through the foundation that was laid by the sisters. Today I have a bachelor of science in community health and development, and I work in non-governmental organization. I am married, and I have three beautiful kids. I believe all these blessings are a result of the sisters’ kindness and prayer. I am a product of love from the SSND Kisumu Kenya.
Crispin Odhiambo Awino
Kisumu, Kenya

Sr. Mary Susan Berg,
You taught me that I am a beloved child of God. Even in a troubled childhood and turbulent adolescence, I knew I was loved! I now rest in that and even in all my brokenness, I am able to share that love with others. I share my gratitude for your witness of abiding in God’s love.

Sr. Kathleen Spencer,
When you were my teacher in 3rd grade at Epiphany in Coon Rapids, I felt I wanted to be a School Sister of Notre Dame. I then spent high school seriously considering a vocation. In the end, I did not enter the convent. I married and continue to serve in ministry, and my husband is a deacon. Thank you for the inspiration, the witness to “realness,” and the witness to love!
Karla Perez (Peterson)
St. Peters, Missouri

I was very lucky to have attended the Notre Dame School Lingfield in Surrey, England between 1981 – 1988. The later years were not run by the sisters, but my early years were with Sister Vivien at the helm followed by Sister Ilene. They instilled a great sense of confidence in us all with strict boundaries of right and wrong, and the belief that anything is possible. I would also like to thank Sister Lois and Sister Mary Heather, too. I probably didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I do now!
Caroline Mackarness
Somerset, United Kingdom

Sisters Linda Jansen, Kathleen Donoven, Joyce Engle, Camille Szydlowski and Louise Benecke,
Thank you for being in my life and for all you do. I am forever grateful. When I am able to be around you at any time, my life is always better. You are all so wonderful, spiritual, giving and kind. You are an inspiration for me. God bless.
Dolores Sunkel
St. Louis, Missouri

SSND Sisters with SSND Associate Anna Mastrolillo. Most of the photos were taken after Anna’s18th re-coveting celebration held in 2016 at the Wilton Villa.

Dear Sisters,
I have been an SSND Associate since 1999. Through the years I have had a few different companion sisters who have been and who are wonderful. Being able to pray, socialize and do things with them is/was such a blessing. I have also met and became friends with many of the sisters who lived in the Wilton Villa and Lourdes, who now reside at Watermark and Ozanam. Being able to visit Wilton on many occasions, I always felt welcomed and loved. Sharing meals, conversation and even some holiday masses with the sisters always was a pleasure. Through the years, all the sisters have kept me and many of my family and friends in prayers for many reasons, and they still do whenever I ask them. Their caring and concern have helped me in more ways than they realize. I miss not being able to visit the Villa in Wilton and Lourdes, but I look forward to the day when visiting will be allowed at Watermark and Ozanam. I am happy that I can correspond with a few sisters via email or on the phone since COVID has changed the visiting rules. I am glad to know the sisters are settling into Watermark and are pleased with the location and that those in Ozanam like it there too. I know the sisters who were my companions and/or friends who have died are now special angels in Heaven. I want to say thank you to ALL the SSND sisters. I want to also say an extra special thank you to the sisters who are/were my companion sisters and those who became my friends. I think and pray for ALL the SSND sisters and wish them all the best.
Anna Mastrolillo (SSND Associate from Norwalk, CT)
Norwalk, Connecticut

Sr. Rose Mercurio,
Your love for God is immense in the dedication you have for serving others, whether bringing laughter to those in Memory Cafe, spreading joy at Alleluia Baskets or providing hope at SVdP to the needy. Your smile brightens the room. Thank you for all you do!
Karen Mesler
St. Peters, Missouri

Estimadas Hermanas de la Congregación, la presente es para agradecerle desde el fondo de nuestro corazón por el apoyo brindado. Gracias por su dedicación y compromiso para con la comunidad, ayudando con las necesidades de muchas personas en Milwaukee. Dios las bendiga, siempre estarán en nuestras oraciones.
Isabel Morales
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Thank you to the SSND for my wonderful education! I wouldn’t be where I am today without the SSND. I wouldn’t be Catholic still if I hadn’t gone to MMU. Now, I’m raising my son in the faith. Thank you to each and every one of you!
Ivy Schwab
Moline, Illinois

Sisters enjoying a few days together at Goderich Beach during Christmas break 1989.

Sister in Sierra Leone 1989-91: Kathy Schmittgens, Cindy Weber, Geraldine Neier, Andre Aubuchon, Ruth Emke, Eleanor Ewerts; Sisters Carol Jean Hecht, Louise O’Connor, Barbara Brumleve,
To the sisters who served in Sierra Leone in 1989-91, thank you for allowing me to spend this time with you in Kabala. It was one of the highlights of my life. My gratitude to Barbara Brumleve and other members of the St Louis Provincial Council who worked through the paperwork so it could happen. Kathy Schmittgens and Cindy Weber who welcomed me to live with them up country in Kabala; and all the sisters who made me feel at home. The experience changed my life!
With gratitude,
Anne Carey
Florissant, Missouri

As a 1964 graduate of Mount Mary College, now University, I am most grateful for all the wonderful, dedicated SSND sisters who taught me so many important things during my four years there. They not only imparted knowledge, but also life lessons which have benefited me throughout my personal and professional life. God bless you all!
Diane Baumgartner Davis
Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin

Sister Carole Tabano,
Thank you for your support and love. You made a difference in my life with Spanish Literature. I became an elementary school teacher. You were an excellent example of what a teacher should be.
Susan Bolanos
Englewood, New Jersey

Sr. Regina Olouh,
Sending words of love and appreciation to you. You made me who I am today. Words alone can’t describe it, but just know that it is from my heart. I love you now and always.
Amaefuna Nkiruka
Gboko, Nigeria

Sr. Grace Okon, Sr. Mary Mayo-Ojo Abuh and Sr. Mabel Doo Abaiyol,
I’m thankful to God for your lives, and grateful to have been taught by you! You molded my formative years, and I appreciate you always. God bless you, Sisters. I love you.
Lily Nyitor, NOGA ‘06

Francis Mandewah with Sisters Andre, Eileen and Rosanne, who helped open the girls’ section of my co-educational High School – YSS – in Sierra Leone, West Africa, in 1973.

To the four original SSND who opened the girls’ section of my co-educational Catholic High School – YSS – Sierra Leone – THANK YOU. Thank you, sisters, for all that you do. God bless you.
Francis Mandewah
Corozal, Belize, Central America

Sr. Margaret (Peg) Malone,
I appreciate the wonderful works of the great congregation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, and in particular Rev. Sr. Margaret Malone for impacting so much in my life at Notre Dame Secondary School Mkar, Benue State. May God continue to bless and keep you.
Elizabeth Iorapuu
Benue State, Nigeria

Sister Charlotte Flarlong,
I can’t express all that you have done to help me to grow in my faith. It has been a blessing since the first SSND associate gathering to today. You are truly a special person to all associates in the Central Pacific Province. Thank you!
Shirley Drake
Blue Eye, Missouri

Congratulations as you celebrate this week! I know many of you and each one of you has been so very hospitable! Your charism amazed me so much that I inquired about becoming an associate, so here I am after 24 years spreading your GOOD news to all I meet! May God continue to bless you!
VIRG Burant-Plosz F
Fort Qu’ Appelle Saskatchewanv

Sr. Ekaette Grace Okon,
Thank you for making me the woman I am today. Thank you for being very patient and accommodating of our youthful excesses. You showed us love, even when we didn’t deserve it. I pray your light never goes dim. You’re a star; keep shining! God bless you.
Patience Ahmadu
Bolton, Greater Manchester

Dear Rev. Sr. Peg Malone,
Thank you for the endless amount of motivation you gave to me as a growing child while at NDSS Mkar. Helping me to believe in myself is worth to me more than gold. May God in His infinite mercy continue to guide, bless and protect you. Amen.
Boikyaa Mngusughun Patience
Benue state, Nigeria

Sr. Helenann Nelson,
Thanks for being an awesome aunt and sharing your love with me for all these years! I am always so inspired and impressed by all your years of giving to others! Your years in South America were absolutely inspiring! You share your love and spirituality with all and you always lead with positivity and kindness! I am hopeful to live like you!
Sheila Himes
West Chester, Pennsylvania

Sisters Regina Oluoh, Grace Okon, Basin and Ebele,
Thank you all for what you did for me. Indeed, I am the strong lady I am today by your mentoring and teaching.
Sr. Ebele, thank you for putting the “I can do it” spirit in my life.

Sr. Basin, thank you for your patience in teaching me mathematics. You made me love math, and I am proud to tell you that I didn’t fail math through all my study years in high school and university.

Sr. Grace Okon, my wonderful principal and my Christian Religious Studies teacher. Thank you so much for your great impact on my life. I still cherish that Smiley you gave me in CRS. It built my confidence to strive for excellence.

Sr. Regina Oluoh. my amiable principal, friend, role model and teacher. Thank you for caring for me when I was sick. Thank you for always stopping by at the house to check up on me and the words of encouragement you gave to my parents in those trying times. Thank you for making me love handball and play it with passion. Thank you for making Notre Dame Secondary School one of the best schools in Benue Nigeria.

To all the School Sisters of Notre Dame at Notre Dame Secondary School, Mkar, Nigeria, I say a big thank you. What I am enjoying now is the good foundation you all laid for me. I am proud to say I am successful from all your individual and collective efforts. Thank you and God bless you all. Long live SSND.
Ngozi Ndiogulu
Notre Dame Secondary School, Mkar-Gboko. Nigeria

Sister Liz on a trek through the jungles of Guam. She was a great sport!

I am so blessed to have met Sister Elizabeth “Liz” Howell while I was stationed in Guam. Sister Liz taught a scripture class on the Navy base. She changed my life for the better and became a trusted friend. Thank you for ALL you ALL do. God Bless you ALL.
With much love and affection,
Mary Mortimer
Washington, D.C.

Sr. Mary Helenann Nelson,
May God bless and share with you all the love, care and commitment you have shown me and the countless people whose lives you touched.
Kathleen Carletta
River Edge, New Jersey

“Everything I ever learned, I learned from SSNDs,” is my mantra. What it really means is that I learned HOW to learn from SSNDs- from Sisters Alaquo and Louis Bertand at Immaculate Conception School in Malden, MA; Sisters Andrew, Cuthbert, DeLourdes, Dorothy, Ambrosine and Mother Vitalia at Holy Name School in Providence, RI; and Sisters Frances Therese, Regina, Cecelia, Helene, Girard, Ignatius, another Louis Bertrand and my pal Sr. Aidan who ran the cafeteria at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Ft. Lee, NJ. As the Nelson family moved from state to state, only one criteria mattered: was there an SSND school nearby? My mother and all her siblings treasured their education at Immaculate Conception School in Malden, which led many of them to college, a rarity in the early 1900s. My life has been blessed by experiencing travel to Chile and Peru visiting Sister Helenann Nelson, who has spent most of her life in mission. Her presence in my life has truly been a blessing.
Claire Nelson Dale, AHA 1948
Cherry Hill, New Jersey

To the Sisters at Holy Angels, Demarest 1980-1984,
My mother graduated from Holy Angels in 1942 and then from Notre Dame Maryland in 1946. She was close to many of the sisters, but especially Sr. Ignatius and Sr. Maura Eichner for whom I was named. They were both a huge part of my life growing up. I loved my four years at Holy Angels in Demarest and have so many fond memories of the sisters. I feel incredibly blessed to have had such amazing role models who helped shape the person I am. Thank you.
Maura Gidez Kilner
Potomac, Maryland

Janet & Dave Lange

Sister Pat Lange,
Just wanted to let you know how much we admire you for all that you do for others. I’m sure that you do far more than you let on because you don’t blow your own horn about all the good works you do. Thanks for doing so many good works. We’re proud of you, Pat!
Love, Janet & Dave Lange
Kirkwood Missouri

Having spent 12 years at the Academy of the Holy Angels it is difficult to narrow down to a few sisters to whom I’m grateful for the education, values and love that was shown by them. I would like to give special credit to Sister Mary Margaret O’Leary and Sister Genevieve Marie Kelleher.
Mary Stuart
Fort Lee, New Jersey

Thank you to deceased Sisters Ann Kihslinger, Pat Gavin & Jeanette Wieland and living Sister Coleen Bauer who serviced Sacred Heart Parish in Warsaw, Indiana. Sister Ann had a heart of gold. So kind and gentle in her ways. Sister Pat was a great principal. Sister Jeanette a teacher. Sister Colleen loved her second grade students and the preparation for the Holy Eucharist and confession. God bless Sister Colleen for her continued years of service at St. John’s in Goshen, Indiana.
Carole Jaroch
Warsaw, Indiana

Sister Evelyn Marie; In Memory of Sr. Alban,
Sister Evelyn Marie, your calmness, friendship, listening ear and encouragement while discerning which path to take in life has always been an inspiration for me. Not only in nursing school, but during my marriage, and especially while raising my children, and my commitment and faithfulness to our precious Lord above throughout my life. I thank you for your faith in me.
Carol A. (Pavlu 1961) Donahue
Townsend, Delaware

SSNDs who taught at STA in Dover, NH,
I am so grateful for the SSNDs who taught me at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Dover, NH. Not only were the sisters exemplary in academia, but in every manner of life. I am forever grateful to my principal, Sr. Joanne Nee (Sr. M. Nathaniel). She brought me up to her office and told me that she knew I had something to tell her. After an hour, I broke down and said the most frightening three words I’ve ever known, “I am gay.” I was shaking in fear of her response. Sister Joanne paused and then said, “Who cares? I don’t!” And just like that, my entire life changed, and for the better. Thank you for changing the very meaning of my life!
Rick Willett, STA Class of ’80

Words are not enough to express my appreciation for the many blessings we received from you sisters. Thank you for all of it, and I send prayers and blessings to all.
Catherine Mayleben
Morrisville, North Carolina

Thank you, sisters, for making my roots sturdy and teaching me how to pray. You are a significant part of my flowering, and I appreciate you. Thank you for everything!
Jenny DeVivo, Ph.D.
Oak Lawn, Illinois

Foundation Day in 2019 at Notre Dame High School Guam.

Guam SSND (On-Island & USA Mainland),
I just want to send a warm Hafa Adai to all our precious SSND. I am blessed to call you dear women my mentors, my sisters and dear friends! Your love for Christ and the people of God is the reason why I attended, graduated, and returned to Notre Dame High in Talofofo. Though we may be separated by physical distance, your love and charism continues on in products such as myself who have chosen to embrace the relationship of being an associate. We love you and cherish each and every one of you!
Hawley Iseke
Agana, Guam

Sr. Anne Vogel,
I appreciate you for the role you played in my life at Notre Dame Girls Secondary School, Urua Edet Obo. May the Lord continue to be your strength.
Edima Isua

To all the sisters that were a part of my life at Grammar Madonna and Academy of Holy Angels. Two special sisters had a great influence on me. Sister Timothy Woods (Sr. Mary Ann Wood) and Sister Virginia Sebert. Sister MaryAnn taught me 6th grade at Madonna. She kept in line. We became great friends and I went to Bolivia twice to visit on Mission. We are still close. Sister Virginia was the wind beneath my wings. We met in summer school at.St. Leo Irvington. When I left the order in1970 and was teaching at Madonna, she became my principal. She was an outstanding woman and SSND. There is so much I could say about her and our friendship, but she still is my heroine and the wind beneath my wings. I miss her very much.
Fortunata Barbara
Fort Lee, New Jersey

The Sisters of the Atlantic-Midwest Province,
I am so grateful to the SSND community for their love and support over the past 15 years. I am honored to lead an SSND sponsored ministry and truly believe that it is the prayers and support of the sisters that help me and the ministry to not only succeed but THRIVE! Every SSND I have met has been an inspiration to continue in this ministry and witnessing the transformative power of education in my daily work is a blessing. God bless you all!
Katie Allston
Baltimore, Maryland

The Sisters of Notre Dame Academy changed my life and gave me faith that carried my family through the trying days when both my maternal grandmother and dear father were terminally ill. The Sisters held me together and loved me through some very dark days. I thank them all, but Sister Sharon especially, for accepting me into this amazing school that showed me a new world of highly educated women of faith that I had never seen previously. Their encouragement and guidance made all the difference in my life, and I proudly carry NDA with me daily, even though I am at great distance now. I have told people far and wide about this amazing, kind and loving Catholic order. My working knowledge of Catholicism that I gained as a student allows me to explain certain aspects of the Catholic Church to others. I have been asked afterwards if I am a Catholic to which I always reply, ” No, but I am a fan.” Thank you from this student who chose to direct her Anglican ways to Anglo Catholicism due to the amazing Notre Dame Academy and its devotion to Mother Mary, Queen of Heaven.
Your most grateful student,
Carolynne Foote