California Region

Mission Advancement Egram
September 30, 2020 


...170 years of God's provident care!

Dear Friends,

Yet another SND anniversary!  Thursday, October 1 marks the 170th anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Coesfeld, Germany.  As I wrote last month about our California pioneers in 1924, little did Hildegonda Wolbring and Lisette Kuhling know how future generations would be impacted by their generous surrender to God's call.  Sr. Maria Aloysia and Sr. Maria Ignatia chose to reveal God's goodness and provident care to the orphaned and poor children of their village--and now their passion embraces the world!

Recently, I experienced our co-foundresses' inspiration when I heard of the plight of four children, refugees from Afghanistan.  Their family has settled in Southern California, but the children need Zoom tutors to help them learn English so they can understand their online school lessons.  Just as Sr. Maria Aloysia and the SNDs felt the sting of being banished from Germany, there are similar refugees in our midst.  Wherever we are, ours is the call to respond with generosity to those in need!  And thanks to several SNDs, Associates and friends who are helping the Afghan students... 

A little-known fact:  it was Sr. Maria
Pals on earth and in heaven--SND Associate Vicky Godar with Sr. Marilynn Palenchar
Aloysia's inheritance that funded our congregational beginnings.  With that in mind, we wish to again acknowledge the bequest of SND Associate Vicki Godar in 2004.  It was these funds that gave a jumpstart to our capital campaign for Notre Dame Learning Center Preschool. 
  Readers, if you have questions about making a planned gift to benefit the Sisters of Notre Dame and those we serve, please contact me.  Indeed, many hands and many hearts work miracles!

Blessings always,
Director of Mission Advancement Services | 805-917-3714

Through the dedication of Sr. Betty Mae Bienlein, Sr. Carol Marie Papet, Sr. Rosaria Park and the lay staff, there is daily magic at NDLCP!   Since Notre Dame Learning Center Preschool opened in 2005, hundreds of childen have experienced what it means to be a child of God.  Through various opportunities for play, they are totally engaged in the learning process.  They are prepared for school and a lifetime of learning!

Spirituality begins and grows with a child's sense of self-worth.  Students are encouraged to express their interests, and themes and activities are adapted to support their learning.  The attractive campus is arranged with purpose--the areas are intentional, supporting wonder, curiosity, fine motor skills, language and literacy.  Students learn to share, resolve conflicts respectfully and make friends. 

Congratulations and special thanks to everyone who is part of the NDLCP history, awakening children to the beauties of God's world!
...sharing God's goodness and provident care

These reflections were written by Sr. Shawn Marie Doyle who was able to distribute a grant through Sisters on the Frontlines...

Through the generosity of Catholic Extension, I was able to share a $1,000 grant between two groups: needy families from Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Oxnard and clients of the St. Vincent De Paul Society at St. Paschal Baylon Parish in Thousand Oaks.

Seven women from Our Lady of Guadalupe received gift cards for food and other necessities. They are immigrants, women with incarcerated husbands, single moms, and people suffering from pandemic stress.  They are also women who manifest compassion toward others. Follow this link to see just how contagious generosity is...

The St. Vincent de Paul Society started the Saturday Food Distribution in mid-spring.  The number of  participants has increased, now serving 120 cars and over 500 people each week.   I see marvelous organization, cooperation, service with a smile and encouraging words; with team work and a joyful spirit, the ministry of love is accomplished!

Through these experiences, I have received profound graces. With greater mindfulness of the needs of the poor, I am living more simply... and joyfully.  
...wisdom woman and devoted friend

With gratitude for her life of consecration, we announce the passing of our dear Sr. Mary Sheila Fay on Sept. 18. Sr. Sheila was a role model to many, inspiring them by her wisdom and warming them through her friendship. She courageously engaged in her final journey with the same dignity and caring presence that characterized her entire life, communicating to all who loved her how much she cherished them, and promising her continued prayers on their behalf.

Sr. Sheila's 44 years of ministry as a secondary teacher, administrator, and counselor made a positive impact on her students. One remembers that she "projected an image of strength and confidence, wisdom and wonder, joy and laughter. She managed to convey a deep spirituality to others, and I am deeply appreciative of that." Another recalls that "she was always patient and kind, playing a vital role in my life at a time I really needed guidance."

A valuable "ministry on the margins" for Sr. Sheila was her 15 years as a volunteer reader at the Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic studio in Hollywood. Regarding this experience, she later commented, "this service [was] so important to me."

Interment services for Sr. Sheila will be on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 11:00 a.m at Assumption Cemetery in Simi Valley. We can be confident that she who was so attentive to others during her life on earth will continue to be our advocate in heaven.   
KEVIN'S SECRET...'s all about yes!

Kevin McNamara, La Reina alumna
Kevin McNamara receives congratulations from La Reina staff members Darlene Goodman, Sr. Regina Robbins and Karen  Starleaf.

parent and former staff member, received the distinguished "Spirit of La Reina Award" on September 23. In making the presentation, Tony Guevara, president of La Reina High School & Middle School, said, "this award is the highest accolade we can bestow on a member of our La Reina family. It is represented by a statute of our Blessed Mother. Just as she said 'yes,' so also have the recipients of this award said 'yes' on countless occasions and in many ways. Kevin McNamara is such a person."

Kevin's life has been all about service--as a United States Marine, member of the Los Angeles Police Department, of La Reina's facilities staff, and as an all-around volunteer. Laird Wilson, La Reina's Facilities Director, characterizes Kevin as dedicated, committed, and compassionate.  Since 1998, Kevin has demonstrated unwavering loyalty to the school's mission, programs, staff and students. It seems like Kevin has adopted every alumna and student as his own daughter.  

Kevin is also an SND Associate, a commitment to live the spirit and mission of the SNDs in his family, in his volunteer work and in the community at large. Kevin is dedicated to a life of prayer and to compassionate care for the poor and marginalized, especially the homeless. Beyond a doubt, the world needs more Kevin McNamara's.

California's Sr. Kathleen Burns (on the far right) regularly prepares SNDs from around the world to guide newer members. Sr. Mary Karuna (on the far left) from India was a co-presenter for recent coursework at the Motherhouse in Rome.  Participants included sisters from Brazil, East Africa and Vietnam. The SND global mission continues the vision of Sr. Maria Aloysia 170 years ago! 
Concerned about homelessness? Many Mansions is a nonprofit organization that builds and manages affordable housing communities in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.  Residents are low-income individuals and families--previously homeless, seniors, veterans, the disabled...  What distinguishes Many Mansions is that residents participate in free, on-site services.  Learn more at the virtual, free State of Many Mansions event on Thursday, Oct. 22 from 8:30 until 9:30 a.m. through Zoom.  Register here and learn more about this powerful outreach to the marginalized.   A Zoom link will be sent to registrants closer to the event.