Mission Advancement Egram | March 31, 2020
and finding tranquility and resilience 

Dear Friends,

With lightning speed, COVID-19 has spread across the world.  Similarly, stories, data, prayer, and anxiety also span the globe.  In God's providence, Lent, spring and this pandemic are happening simultaneously.   It is a time of personal transformation and new life.  God's promise that all will be made new is evident in nature's resilience and tranquility, evident in the images of spring all around us.

The Sisters of Notre Dame are carrying you and your loved ones in our hearts and prayer as we together face a unique springtime.  While out on a walk, I discovered a child's chalk-drawing, a big heart with the words "we are in this together!"  The younger generation is learning a lot about our global interdependence and respect for the common good.  We can hope that this experience is engraved in their spirits, to be shared with future generations.  With that in mind, we want to thank you, our relatives, friends, colleagues and donors for the gift of your partnership over the years.  Together, we can embrace and exercise Jesus' mission with the blessing of springtime  resilience and tranquility.  

Blessings always,
Director of Mission Advancement Services
responding to the needs of our time

Ms. Lilliam Paetzold, President of Notre Dame Academy Schools of Los Angeles, made these comments:

Ms. Lynda Nguyen checks-in with her Religion 9 students.
As challenging as our current environment is for education, our faculty and staff were uniquely poised to make a transition to distance learning because innovation has been a key component of our work in providing a 21st-Century curriculum. In just 10 days, our team has developed and delivered virtual modules to more than 600 students in nearly 200 courses -- even activities and extracurriculars -- almost seamlessly. Although it doesn't completely replace our school environment, our students won't lose any academic ground and our community will be strengthened during the school closure.

Even in the midst of challenge, NDA and the legacy of the Sisters of Notre Dame are stronger than ever. When the Sisters established the school 70 years ago, they responded to the needs of that time...  "Responding to the needs of our time" couldn't be more relevant today.  The SNDs have instilled in each of us a profound understanding of and appreciation for God's goodness and provident care. That grace, that charism, binds us as a community and unites us in support of our young women.
preparing confident, capable and compassionate women

Cyber-calculus, courtesy of Mr. Stan Hirsch
Tony Guevara, President of La Reina High School and Middle School, recently sent this message to the school community.  "We are blessed that our great school has never been better prepared to respond to a crisis. La Reina's instructional framework has already been markedly changed this year.... What matters most is that we continue to transform the lives of more girls setting them on the path to  being confident, capable and compassionate women.... I  look forward to sharing with you soon, that La Reina has  emerged from our present situation stronger than ever as a nurturing Catholic institution of e xcellence and discovery for young women."  

La Reina's seamless transition to distance learning has received praise from school families, including this comment:  "Really nice to see La Reina step up and use technology to keep classes going. The same tools the girls will be using in the workplace. Way to go!"
and fullness of redemption

Praise God!
Mrs. Heidi Vass, music instructor at La Reina High School & Middle School, has designed this creative way to stay connected while students are safely at home.  This video blends students' individual voices, sung in isolation, in praise of God.  Most of the voices in this video are her students.  "In this time when we cannot meet and sing together, we lift our voices as one in praise." 
sharing the journey together

Following federal and local requirements to hunker down at home, the SND Associates are engaging in fellowship and faith-sharing via video-conferencing.  What was really special was the ability of Debbie Buckingham, formerly of Long Beach but now a resident of Arizona, to join her Associate colleagues in this time together.  The photo above shows the Associate generational diversity:  Tom Grasmehr, the eldest of th is group and Matthew Coito, Associate-to-be at nearly 6-months old! 
I really need the Eucharist and community

Being a daily communicant, I am kind of lost without
daily Mass.  I am a take charge, get the job done kind of gal, and not usually emotional.  When I saw the priest enter the church during a live-streamed Mass, I was overwhelmed by feelings of relief so strong they made me weep.  Definitely not my style.  Throughout the Mass I was exhilarated, touched and had powerful feelings of reconnection.  I tend to accept what the world has to offer and not feel deprived, so this came as a total shock to me.  I really need the Eucharist and the community, not doing my own thing at home.  Thank you to all who are making Mass available to us in our homes.
SND Associate Sherry Reynolds, Camarillo, California
grateful for time for personal reflection

Since this pandemic began, I have been talking with numerous young adults on FaceTime rather than meeting in person, as I usually do.  I am grateful for the gift of technology that is keeping all of us connected!   I am inspired by their flexibility.  Those attending college classes had to move out of their dorms and apartments, change to online classes, and had significant events cancelled.  Some of the common themes in our conversations have been they miss being able to attend Mass and receiving the Sacraments, but they are grateful for more time for prayer and reflection.  They are tapping into online resources for spiritual nourishment and catching up with relatives and friends.  Their attitudes and spirits are positive and deeply rooted in God.  May this experience be transformational for all of us as we become Easter people of hope!
Sr. Valerie Marie Roxburgh, S.N.D., Long Beach, California 
may you keep safe in the gentle arms of God

This is a time of two major conflicts in my life!  I'm torn
between a need to help others and stay safely at home.  I'd like to be out on the front lines helping at food banks, etc., but I know for my own health as well as that of my family, I need to stay home. Even more so, I'm torn between prayers for those personally touched by the virus and anger at God for allowing this suffering to occur.  I'm keeping a journal, to mark the days, keep to a schedule and record uplifting thoughts. One inspiration was from Pope Francis: "Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons." So I pray.  I've been watching Mass from the Los Angeles Cathedral. The cantor frequently concludes with the Irish blessing, "May the road rise to meet you...until we meet again, may you keep safe in the gentle loving arms of God."
SND Associate Candidate Susan Cass, Westlake Village, California
the most powerful force for healing

I am blessed not to be homeless or an international traveler stuck in a foreign county. Nor am I an owner of a drowning business. I don't have the responsibility as a pastor, teacher or a breadwinner to a family.  Every day I feel overwhelming gratitude to those who are fighting to restore health to our country. Our elected officials, firefighters, police, grocery workers and scientific community working for a cure...the frontline health care workers, the missionaries throughout the world serving the most vulnerable...the countless people who are putting their lives at risk for others.   As we snuggle in our cozy homes, we too can share in the burden.  Prayer is the most powerful force for healing.  My favorite saying is "There's good in everything."  I'm enjoying my down time by writing more with a new cheerful blog, with someting new every Monday.  Please join me att www.val-ubooks.com and click on Theresa's Blog or WISE, the name of the blog.  We'll have fun!  
SND Associate Theresa Schultz, Thousand Oaks, California 
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