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Catholic Identity

From January 30–February 3, Emmanuel College hosted Founders’ Week, an annual tradition commemorating the founding of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur by St. Julie Billiart in 1804, and the founding of Emmanuel College in 1919.

The theme, Together!, was selected to inspire members of the Emmanuel community to join in sharing the mission and charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) through their work and lives each day.

Throughout the week, events—such as the Follow Your Heart dinner and the Year of Service Panel—took place, engaging students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in strengthening the bond of community and mission.

On Wednesday, February 1st, the Sr. Dorothy Stang, SNDdeN Lecture was a keynote event to share the story of Sister Dorothy’s life and legacy. Sister Dorothy was martyred for her work to help poor farmers build independent futures for their families in the Amazon.

On Thursday, February 2nd, the College celebrated Founders' Day, with a Mass celebrated by Fr. Oscar Pratt, the pastor of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Boston who recently joined Emmanuel as the Sacramental Minister and will celebrate weekly Sunday Mass at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel. Concelebrating the Mass was Fr. Federico Cinocca, who also recently joined the Emmanuel community as Campus Minister and is also teaching a course on Catholic Social Teaching. Over 30 Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur were present on campus for this special Mass and reception in honor of Founders’ Day.

This year, President Mary K. Boyd, celebrated her first Founders’ Day at Emmanuel saying, “On this day in 1804, Saint Julie Billiart, along with Francoise Blin de Bourdon, founded the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. St. Julie placed education at the heart of the congregation’s charism because she believed passionately that learning serves as the foundation of so many goods, both for the individual and for society.”

President Boyd continued, “This same vision inspired the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to open Emmanuel over a century later—in 1919—and it continues to animate all we do today. Through our teaching, research, community building, and focus on the whole person, we strive to empower young people to reach their highest aspirations—and to make a positive difference in a world that, more than ever, needs Emmanuel graduates.”

Following the reception, the Office of Mission and Ministry hosted a Founders’ Day Panel featuring Sr. Mary Alice McCabe, SNDdeN, Sr. Mary Farren, SNDdeN, and Sr. Rosemary Reynolds, SNDdeN, who spoke about their individual roles in the Order and most recent work.

Sr. Mary Alice McCabe's recent ministry has taken her to the U.S.-Mexico border, where she has been working with local organizations and other Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur to help immigrants. Sr. Mary Farren is a Trustee of Emmanuel College and currently serves on the leadership team of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur's U.S. East-West Province. Sr. Rosemary Reynolds currently serves as Associate Director for Employment Partnerships at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, CT. Each Sister shared valuable insights into their work and the realities of our world today, encouraging the Emmanuel community to stay engaged beyond 400 The Fenway.

Committed to education and social justice, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are currently serving in 16 countries on five continents. For more on the mission and the work that they do, please visit