The Sisters of Notre Dame
The Sisters of Notre Dame
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, women with hearts as wide as the world, make known God’s goodness and love of the poor through a Gospel way of life, community and prayer. Continuing a strong educational tradition, we take our stand with poor people—especially women and children—in the most abandoned places. Each of us commits her one and only life to work with others to create justice and peace for all.
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and St. Julie Billiart
St. Julie Billiart founded the Sisters of Notre Dame with the aid of Françiose Blin de Bourdon in 1804. Motivated to make known God's goodness around the world, St. Julie set forth to establish the international, Catholic religious congregation that today comprises 1,820 sisters and 70 novices in 15 countries on five continents. From the beginning, St. Julie and Françiose were convinced of education's power to help individuals lead lives of freedom and human dignity. Their passion for teaching and learning is enshrined in the constitution of the Sisters of Notre Dame, which cites education as "fundamental to bringing about the reign of God."
Many of the principles St. Julie and Françiose established for the Sisters of Notre Dame more than 200 years ago still characterize the Congregation to this day: a passion for education as "the greatest work on earth," a commitment to the poor, a global apostolic mission, a life that balances prayer and action, a focus on community building, and an abiding and deeply rooted trust in the goodness of God. The first Sisters to come to America settled in Cincinnati in 1840. Nine years later, members of the Congregation came to Boston, where they taught at St. Mary School in the North End. From there, they established schools in Cambridge and Somerville and in mill towns such as Lynn, Lowell, Lawrence, Chicopee, and Springfield.
In 1919, the Sisters founded Emmanuel College, the flagship SND institution of higher education in North America. Today, members of the Emmanuel community continue to live out the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame through education, social justice and longstanding tradition of service to the wider Boston community.
To learn more about the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, please visit their website: www.sndden.org.
Sister Dorothy Stang, SND
Sister Dorothy Stang, SND was born in Dayton, Ohio; one of nine children. She was raised on a farm in a traditional Catholic family. She entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur community in 1948 and professed final vows in 1956. From 1951 to 1966 she taught elementary classes at St. Victor School in Calumet City, IL, St. Alexander School in Villa Park, IL and Most Holy Trinity School in Phoenix, Az. She began her ministry in Brazil in 1966, in Coroata in the state of Maranhao.
A citizen of Brazil and the United States, Sister Dorothy worked with the Pastoral Land Commission, an organization of the Catholic Church that fights for the rights of rural workers and peasants, and defends land reforms in Brazil. Her death came less than a week after meeting with the country's human rights officials about threats to local farmers from loggers and landowners.
Before her murder, Sister Dorothy was named 'Woman of the Year' by the state of Para for her work in the Amazon region. She also received the Humanitarian of the Year award from the Brazilian Bar Association for her work helping the local rural workers.
Since her death, Sister Dorothy has been widely honored for her life and work by the United States Congress and by a number of colleges and universities across the United States. She was posthumously awarded the 2008 United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights. Books, movies, documentaries and an opera have been developed about her. She was also formally recognized by the Vatican as a modern day martyr.
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur on Emmanuel’s Campus
Sister Janet Eisner, SND, President of Emmanuel College
Sister Anne Donovan, SND, Treasurer
Sister Mary Johnson, SND, Director, Center for Mission & Spirituality; Professor of Sociology & Religious Studies
Sister Susan Thornell, SND, Associate Dean of First Year Programs; Director of Academic Advising
Sister Mary T. Kelleher, SND, Academic Advisor
Sister Jeanne Royanne, SND, Development Officer
Sister Karen Hokanson, SND, Assistant Professor of Education
Sister Mary O’Malley, SND, Special Projects Assistant – Counseling Center