Celebrating 164 Years

Posted on: September 29, 2014 11:00 am

The Sisters of Notre Dame were founded on October 1, 1850 in Coesfeld, Germany. In the spirit of St. Julie Billiart, Sister Maria Aloysia, Sister Maria Ignatia and the first Coesfeld Sisters, our congregation continues to witness God's goodness and provident care throughout the world today.

As we celebrate 164 years of active apostolic ministry, several Covington Sisters took time to reflect on what it means to be a Sister of Notre Dame in 2014, and how we actively uphold the values and mission our foundresses put in place in 1850.

Click here to read the history of the Sisters of Notre Dame 

Sr. Mary Virginia

"I'm proud to be a Sister of Notre Dame. I believe our world needs our witness and our prayer.  We witness by the support we give through ministry and by the love we show to each other.  Our prayer is evidenced by our being women of deep faith and trust in a good and provident God. Our spiritual mother, Sr. Aloysia, told us to 'do the good that is immediately in front of you' and we are striving to do that."

~Sr. Mary Virginia Bruemmer, SND

Sr. Mary Dennise

"She sees needs and responds;
She sees difficulties and risks;
She sees concerns and dares;
She sees loneliness and comforts;
She sees hatred and loves;
She is a Sister of Notre Dame today."

~Sr. Mary Dennise Wagenlander, SND

Sr. Mary Claire

"Presently I teach second grade at Holy Trinity School, Bellevue, formerly Sacred Heart School, Bellevue: the same school that housed the school for the blind in the 1960's.  I taught first grade there in 1963-1964. I still remember how Sisters Mary Bernard Clare and Francello mainstreamed the blind children into the regular classrooms for at least part of the school day whenever possible.  A legally blind first grade boy came to my class every day for reading and math.  Each week I would fill out a form for Sister Mary Francello, which told her what we would be taking that week, and she would type out the lessons in Braille for him.  The children were very accepting of him, and were willing to help him walk through the halls if necessary.  He fit very well into our reading and math classes.

Today, although we no longer have the school for the blind in Bellevue, I still remember the  children, feeling their way through the halls as they traveled to another room, and I hope and pray that they are living happy lives, aware of the goodness God showed to them through the kindness of Sisters Mary Bernard Clare and Francello.  I hope my present day efforts of teaching religion in preparation for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion make today's children aware of God's goodness to them."

~Sr. Mary Claire Engbersen, SND


Sr. Maria Francine (far left) and Sr. Mary Heleen (far right)

"We feel so truly blessed to be sharing in the charism of our foundresses. They were inspired by working with the poorest of the poor.  Today, in the US, we feel we have that privilege by working with one of the poorest segments of the population, the Hispanic immigrant. Parents have sacrificed almost everything, their homeland, their families, their language, their culture, almost their entire identity so that their children can have a better life. Out of poverty and with courage, they have dared a new life, which is usually not what it promised to be. But many have hung on to one precious treasure, their faith.  And it is our work to help them to bring that faith into expression in their new reality while we ourselves are inspired by that faith."

~Srs. Mary Heleen Hehman and Maria Francine Stacy, SND


Sr. Mary Luann

"In the founding document for the Sisters of Notre Dame, Bishop John Georg Mueller of Muenster, Germany wrote: 'The Sisters of Notre Dame of Coesfeld,Germany are founded for the education of children and the care of the elderly.'

We at St. Charles are privileged to continue the ministry of our founding Sisters through our  service to senior adults and their families here in Covington, Kentucky in the twenty first century." 

~Sr. Mary Luann Bender, SND


Sr. Mary Pat

"What it means to me to be a Sister of Notre Dame today...
At 81, I'm just grateful I can be a Sister presence at St. Agnes CCD and share with eight second graders God's love and goodness as I help the parents prepare the children for First Communion and Reconciliation. I have six kindergartners to 'color the ABC's of the Bible' and to share and act out Bible stories with, so that they will remember them.  This is a start in sharing God's word with them and hopefully beginning their spiritual life as we learn a morning prayer and night prayer.

Going to the Notre Dame Urban Education Center on Thursdays to help the children with their homework shows them God cares for them and their needs.

As I bring Jesus to St. Charles Community, distributing Holy Communion to those in their rooms, in the day care area, and wherever He is needed, I pray with them and share God's love and goodness.

Transporting the Sisters where they need to go shows my Sisters God's love and His Provident Care for their needs and God's love for me to give me the health to do this.

Praise God.  Amen."

~Sr. Mary Patricia Kenney, SND


"The words gift, privilege, challenge, and joy come to mind as I reflect on the question what does it mean to me to be a Sister of Notre Dame today?  God's call to be his disciple and bring the good news to others is surely gift and privilege, but also a challenge.  It is a joy for me to share the news of God's goodness and His provident care with others and to help them realize this especially in our world today when so much that we hear and see gives reason for fear and dread.  Our first sisters saw the needs of their time, especially the plight of the poor and marginalized and reached out, sharing the good news of God's love and care for them.  I am so grateful to be part of our Covington Province which reaches out today to the poor and marginalized in many ways.  What is most dear to my heart, our mission in Uganda continues to minister to the poor, especially to children and women.  Our Province is committed to the urban schools and serving the children who are in need.  Many sisters are involved in service to shelters or kitchens serving the homeless. For many years now our Sisters have ministered to the sick in hospitals and at St. Charles Community.  There is an ongoing commitment to care for the elderly. How desperately the people in our world today need to hear and see the love and provident care of our good God.  I am so very happy to belong to the Sisters of Notre Dame in the Covington Province as we follow in the footsteps of our big-hearted and faith-filled founders."

~Sr. Mary Janet Stamm, SND


Sisters of Notre Dame (KY)
Date: on October 9, 2014

Judy, We are blessed to have you as an Associate and it warms our hearts to know that you, too, are fulfilled by sharing Jesus' mission. Lil Dance, Thank you for your prayers and for welcoming the Sisters of Notre Dame on your journey.

Lil Dance
Date: on October 2, 2014

The SND and the Associates are imbedded in my heart and prayers as we all move forward in the mission set before us. I think of my first encounter in Calif. with Sister Christine and Sister Mary Demaris, I think of them often as I do the Sisters of this province, thank you each and everyone as you walk with us on this part of God's journey.

Judy Parsons
Date: on October 1, 2014

Our Good and Provident God's missions for us are many and varied. Through the SND Associates' program, many of us are helping to bring Christ to others- this is a blessing for them and for us.

Sisters of Notre Dame (KY)
Date: on October 1, 2014

Karen and Mary Ellen, Thank you for thinking of us and for your kind words. We are so happy for your fond memories and your partnership with the Sisters of Notre Dame. God bless you!

Mary Ellen Millar
Date: on October 1, 2014

Dear Sisters, Thank you so much for the Associate program with the Sisters of Notre Dame. You have helped all of us to understand God's love and provident care and have supported us as we try to live Jesus's message to love one another. Thank you so much.

Karen M. Quitter Henson, NDA '78
Date: on September 29, 2014

Congratulations, Dear Sisters! I have so many warm memories of the sisters who taught me at St. Joseph, Cold Spring, and Notre Dame Academy! Sister Ancille, Sister Eloise (who encouraged the girls to crochet during 4th grade lessons!), Sister Karyn, Sister Josette, Sister Verda, Sister Angeleen ( I still tell my own students to go "Quick like a Bunny"), Sister Ethel,, Sister Rachel, and those I still count today as friends - Sister Marla. Sister Dennise, and Sister Luann - just to mention a few! May Almighty God continue to bless each of you as your have blessed me!!

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