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The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur: Making known God's goodness


Sister Jennifer Pierce, SNDdeN (far right) and students from the Notre Dame Education Center, South Boston on a field trip to Copley Library. Photo courtesy/Notre Dame Education Center, South Boston

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The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) is an international congregation of women religious, founded in 1804, in France, by Saint Julie Billiart. We live lives of prayer, community and service and strive every day to live the prophetic message of the Gospel, making known the goodness of God to others, especially those most in need.

We are committed to education in all our ministries, serving in a variety of settings from pre-school through university and adult education. Our ministries also include religious education, pastoral ministry, retreat work, health care, social services -- advocating for justice and human dignity -- and projects geared toward a healthy environment and care of the earth.

Our roots in Massachusetts can be traced to 1849, when we established St. Mary School in the North End of Boston. Today we sponsor Emmanuel College in Boston, Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School and Notre Dame Adult Education Center in Lawrence, the Notre Dame Academies in Hingham, Tyngsborough and Worcester, St. Patrick School and Education Center in Lowell, Cuvilly Arts and Earth Center in Ipswich, the Notre Dame Virtual School and Notre Dame Health Care Center in Worcester. In the Archdiocese of Boston we also serve at Julie's Family Learning program and Notre Dame Adult Education Center in South Boston, Notre Dame Children's Class in Wenham, and several parishes.

Next week marks the 175th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the United States. On Oct. 31, 1840, eight sisters landed in Cincinnati from Belgium to begin the first US mission. Within months of setting foot on this new land, the sisters established two schools. Their efforts expanded and in 1849 six sisters from Cincinnati traveled eastward to Boston to establish a mission here. Subsequently, the expansion continued to Rhode Island, Connecticut, the Midwest, the South and West to begin ministries that would educate for life and proclaim God's goodness to all.

Today the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur can be found on five continents, in 17 countries, 27 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to Emmanuel College, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur sponsor and serve at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC, Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California and Notre Dame Mission Volunteers/AmeriCorps. Across the United States, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur serve in a variety of settings ministering to people living in poverty, especially those in the most abandoned places.

We are an international congregation, which strives to recognize God's presence in the signs of the times and in each person, race and nation. We commit ourselves to that action for justice, which makes real and credible the message of the Gospel.

For more information, please see www.snddenusa.org.

Meg Glendon is Director of US Communications, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (meg.glendon@sndden.org).

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