From Rome to Thousand Oaks... and Around the World by fdh56iuoui


									From Rome to Thousand Oaks...                                                                 In This Issue
and Around the World                                                                          Message from the
                                                                         Attending the        Development Office       2
                                                                         Province Chapter
                                                                         was a top priority   From the Provincial...   3
                                                                         for Sr. Gina         Mpala Foundation Grows,
                                                                         Marie during         Prepares for Ministry 4
                                                                         her recent home
                                                                         visit. Here she is   Provincial Chapter,
                                                                         pictured at far      December, 2009           5
                                                                         left with Srs. M.
                                                                         Kristin, Colette,    Notre Dame Academy
                                                                         and Anncarla in      Celebrates 60 Years      6
                                                                         the chapter room.
                                                                         For more about       Roadblocks to Responding
                                                                         the provincial       to God’s Call          7
                                                                         chapter, go to       Open House               8
                                                                         page 5.
                                                                                              California Grapevine     8
Sr. Gina Marie Blunck currently serves the congregation as Treasurer General and lives
at the Notre Dame generalate in Rome. She made her home visit to southern California
in December and January. During that time, Sister was able to spend time with family and friends as well as attend
the Province Chapter (more about that on page 5).
Her position is described in the Constitutions of the Sisters of Notre Dame, which state “(t)he treasurer general
administers the property of the generalate and oversees the administration of the temporal goods of the provinces
and delegations.” (Article 132)
As part of a recent study of congregational resources available for ministry, Sr. Gina Marie visited provinces in the
United States, Europe, Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Korea as well as delegations in England, Italy, Kenya and
Tanzania. She also visited the missions in Mozambique, the Philippines, and Uganda. Two exceptions were Papua
New Guinea and the brand new mission in Nicaragua.
The fruits of the research will help guide the congregation in its long range planning. For Sr. Gina Marie, the
work also provided an important connection between her sometimes routine fiscal responsibilities and the vibrant
ministries of Sisters of Notre Dame around the world.
“What we are doing corporately as a congregation is just incredible,” she said. “Every once in awhile when
I’m sitting in my office paying a food bill, I go back and think about that sister who’s working as one of the
missionaries of India or Indonesia and say, ok what I’m doing now is supporting that sister. There are a lot of us
who can’t, for one reason or another, actually be doing things in those countries, ministering to the people where
there are needs, but what we are doing supports them.”
“The other thing that struck me is no matter what language our sisters speak, you can feel that          continued on p. 
                                                   Message from the
                                                   Development Office

                  is published by the
                 Development Office
                Sisters of Notre Dame,
                 California Province.

    Director of Development
    Carmela Anne Burke

    Editor                                        A letter from St. Julie Primary School in Buseesa, Uganda.
    Lisa Helene Donovan
                                                  We hope this handwritten note from one of the students at St. Julie
    Sr. M. Kristin Battles
                                                  in Uganda brings a smile to your face just as it did ours. It is so
    Carmela Anne Burke                            heartwarming to see that our partnership continues to touch the lives
    Lisa Helene Donovan                           of so many in need here and abroad. Thanks to your generosity, you
    Madalyn Horton                                can find a Sister of Notre Dame in:
    Sr. Valerie Marie Roxburgh
                                                      Archdiocese of Los Angeles ministries   St. Dominic Parish and School, Eagle Rock
                                                      California Hospital                     St. Hedwig School, Los Alamitos
    Sr. M. Kristin Battles
    Sr. Betty May Bienlein                            Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital         St. Helen School, South Gate
    Lisa Helene Donovan                               La Reina High School                    St. John Seminary
    Sr. M. Lisa Megaffin                              Mercy Housing Preschool                 St. Jude School, Westlake Village
    Tanya Mills                                       Nazareth House                          St. Luke School, Temple City
                                                      Notre Dame Academy                      St. Matthew Korean Education Center
    Many thanks to Denise Crosby for her              Notre Dame Academy Elementary           St. Mel Parish, Woodland Hills
    grapevine photograph.                             Notre Dame Learning Center              St. Paschal Baylon Parish, Thousand Oaks
    Consultants and Researchers                       Our Lady of Grace Parish, Encino        St. Philip the Apostle Parish, Pasadena
    Sr. M. Sheila Fay                                 Oxnard Korean Parish Center             USC University Hospital
    Sr. M. Josanne Furey                              Sacred Heart Parish, Ventura
    Sr. M. Francelia Klingshirn
    Sr. M. Antonine Manning                       Our ministries and volunteer activities also include supporting and
    Sr. M. Joan Schlotfeldt                       serving at the missions in Buseesa and Mpala, Uganda, as well as
    Printing                                      the generalate in Rome; organizing a dinner program for a homeless
    Gordon Bowers Printing                        shelter; serving on the boards of organizations that provide assistance,
    Westlake Village, California                  housing and education for low-income families; and staffing a shelter
               Printed on recycled paper          for women who have fled the horrors of human trafficking. We
                 using soy-based inks.            pray you will continue to choose the Sisters of Notre Dame in your
                                                  philanthropy. May each one of us be a factor in the present and
    Correction                                    future of a compassionate world.
    In our previous issue, Msgr. Joseph
    Hernandez was misidentified in a caption as
    Msgr. Joe Kennedy. We regret the error.

    Address changes and other
    correspondence may be sent to:
    Sisters of Notre Dame
    Development Office                            Carmela Burke
    1776 Hendrix Avenue                           Director of Development
    Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
    phone: 805-917-3714

From the Provincial...
Dear Friends,
One thing we can always count on in this life is change. As much as we
sometimes resist it we all know that it is in most cases healthy for us. We have
had some experiences of change in our Notre Dame world that you may have
noted here or there talking to sisters or reading in our communications but it
is good to see them printed all in one place.
This year we moved into a new convent in the South Bay. We have rented a
convent in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles (almost into Torrance).
Sisters Mary Regina, Paulynne, Amy and Valerie Marie are the residents of
what we now call Caritas Convent. They are within a 20 minute drive to
our house of formation, Providence House in Long Beach. Several of these Sisters had been living in
Providence House where we needed more living space because this fall novices from our other American
provinces will come to California to continue their formation.
Another change is that as our sisters need skilled care we will use the services at Santa Teresita Nursing
Facility in Duarte, at Mary Health of the Sick in Newbury Park or at St. John of God in Los Angeles. After
much study these three Catholic health care centers seemed the best to meet our needs. Our province is
small in number, so keeping our own skilled care services operating was not feasible.
Our next change is that this year we are holding an Open House Sunday, April 11 from 1:00 p.m.- 5:00
p.m. at Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks, to celebrate our 30th anniversary in our provincial center.
This event is replacing our traditional Spring Fling. We are still holding our raffle and have increased the
monetary prizes this year. You will be receiving your tickets soon. The winning tickets will be pulled on
the afternoon of the Open House. We hope many of you can join us on this day for our provincial house
birthday celebration.
Finally, we have expanded our mission in Uganda. Two years ago we purchased property just south of
Kampala, the capital. We now have new buildings on the property so that we can expand our formation
program. In addition we hope soon to do more work for the poor in that area. In Buseesa, Uganda, within
the past year we have begun the Buseesa Community Development Centre, a micro-finance agency that
is now helping approximately 50 people from the village improve the lives of their families. We hope to
expand this program soon to include close to 75 people.
As we all continue our journey on mission for the Lord may we adapt to the changing times with courage
and enthusiasm. Thank you for continuing to partner with us as we bring God’s goodness and provident
care to others.

Sister Mary Kristin
Provincial Superior

                       Please remember the Sisters of Notre Dame in your estate plan. Our legal title is “The
   Donor               Sisters of Notre Dame of Los Angeles, Inc.” and our IRS non-profit identification
   news                number is 95-2005867. For further information, call 805-917-3714 or visit our
                       website at Thank you and God bless you.

Mpala Foundation Grows,
Notre Dame Education Center Becomes a Reality
                                                             In late January, our community in the suburb of Mpala more
                                                              than doubled. Sr. Sharan Hendricks of India and six young
                                                               Ugandan women beginning their formation as Sisters of
                                              Sisters of
                                             Notre Dame         Notre Dame joined Srs. M. Amony, Colette, Immaculate,
                                             UGANDA             Juliet, and Ruthilde. Mpala is located on the main road
                                              K A M PA L A     between Entebbe, site of the main Ugandan airport, and
                                   St. Julie
                                   B USEESA
                                                             Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. The new compound will
                                                           be known as Notre Dame Education Center to reflect the
                                                programs for people in the area that will start soon. It is located on
                                          a hill in a neighborhood of Ugandans from various social and economic
                                   “You see very fancy houses, middle class houses, and very simple houses all
                                   mixed together,” Sr. Colette explained.
                                   “We have more connection to people here in the city than in Buseesa,”
                                   observed Sr. Ruthilde. “Our friendly neighbors often say Mgungobi when they
                                   see us.” (Mgungobi is a term of affection for white people.)
                                   Many people stop by the new Notre Dame establishment to learn more about
                                   the sisters. This gives the sisters an opportunity to practice the warm Ugandan
                                   tradition of hospitality for everyone, even at a moment’s notice.
                                   “You must always make time for people who come to see you,” said Sr.
                                   Ruthilde. This fall she and Sr. Colette spent months getting to know their new
                                   neighbors while the three Ugandan Sisters of Notre Dame who also live in the
                                   community spent their weekdays in class at nearby universities to prepare for
                                   their professional ministries.
                                   The property came with one small house and one big house but no structures
                                                 suitable for ministry or formation for the growing Notre Dame
                                                 community in Uganda. Three new buildings have been built
                                                 into the hill in a way that provides flexibility for future local
                                                 ministries as well as space for the sisters to live, work and have
                                                 formation activities. A chapel, classrooms, and gathering spaces
                                                 for ministries have been built in the uppermost building closest
                                                 to the road. Next comes a large kitchen and dining space which
                                                 is accessible from both the upper building and the formation
                                                 house below.
                                                  Now that construction is completed, the sisters will settle
                                                  into daily schedules filled with ministry and studies. The
A woman carries her child near      new Ugandan aspirants will be receiving instructions in religious life and
the new Notre Dame Education        volunteering at local centers to get some ministry experience.
Center, Sr. M. Ruthilde visits a
local family, the view from the     One goal of the new compound is to establish financially sustainable
uppermost building.                 ministries that will serve as seeds of the Gospel in the local community.
                                    Currently the sisters are developing plans for a nursery school to give young
                                    children in the area a head start at learning English, reading and math.

California Provincial Chapter, December, 2009

Srs. Mary Regina, Cristina Marie and Mary Rebekah during the procession from the chapel at Notre Dame Center to
the chapter room at La Reina High School. The cafeteria was transformed for the chapter by a team of sisters.

The Sisters of Notre Dame in the California Province assembled on December 28, 29 and 30 to hold
a Provincial Chapter. This special gathering occurs every 6 years so that the sisters of the province can
review matters pertaining to their life together and their ministries. At this assembly, decisions are
made regarding future directions. A delegate is also elected at this time to represent the province at the
General Chapter of the Sisters of Notre Dame in Rome. The General Chapter will be held during the
month of November, 2010. During both Chapters, Provincial and General, the membership focuses its
dialogue and considerations around a theme. The theme for the current Chapters is:
               Rooted in contemplation,
               Called to be prophetic women,
               Missioned for global transformation.
The California Provincial Chapter opened with a beautiful Mass celebrated by Reverend Leon Hutton,
professor at St. John’s Major Seminary in Camarillo. At the conclusion of the Mass the sisters processed
to the chapter room (a transformed space in the cafeteria of La Reina High School) where Father
Hutton blessed the room at the conclusion of the opening prayer service.
The first day of the chapter was filled with reports and processing how the sisters of the province
authentically live out the theme. Ideas were shared and directions were set for more intentional ways to
respond to the challenge of our theme. Time was spent discussing community properties and how best
these can be used in the coming years to support ministries as well as the needs of the province.
During the morning session of the second day, a delegate was elected to represent the province at
the General Chapter in Rome. Sister Mary Colette Theobald was elected as delegate and Sister Mary
Anncarla Costello is the alternate delegate. As provincial Sister Mary Kristin will be an ex-officio
member of the General Chapter. Sister Gina Marie will be an ex-officio member of the General Chapter
as Treasurer General. In the afternoon of day two discussion focused on various proposals initiated by
the sisters which will help them minister in more effective ways or promote some type of renewal.
The chapter concluded with voting on various issues and discussing further how to implement plans in
the immediate future. A lovely closing prayer service wrapped up the time together. The sisters left the
chapter feeling energized by the decisions which were made and with much hope for the future.

Notre Dame Academy Celebrates 60 Years
                                Following a liturgy with Bishop Edward Clark, actress Linda
                                Gray received the Alumnae Leadership Award (l.), the service
                                of Sisters of Notre Dame was recognized (below), and Srs. M.
                                Carlann Paganelli & Joann Schlarbaum presented the Sister
                                Aloysia Award to Arlene Hackl Platten (r.).

                                                                                                          Photos by Tanya Mills
continued from p. 
there’s something that we have in common -- the Notre Dame spirit. Sometimes it’s hard to be in a country
where very few sisters speak English, but the smile always works,” she said.
Sr. Gina Marie sometimes finds it a challenge to stay connected with her home province here in California,
but regular e-mails from Sr. Kristin and various friends help her stay up to date.
“I felt it so important that I could come to the provincial chapter because I know our province is really
moving along,” she said. “I’m so proud of this province. I was very struck by the fact that the sisters here
were looking forward and outward and using a pretty sophisticated vocabulary when speaking about social
issues, especially human trafficking. I left here seven years ago when everyone was at a different level and
seeing some of the younger women mature into socially conscious women religious just impresses me.”
Sr. Gina Marie’s skills and expertise as Treasurer General grew out of previous ministries and training. She
initially taught biology and chemistry at La Reina High School and Notre Dame Academy and eventually
became principal of Notre Dame Academy. During her tenure, she pursued a business degree from
University of Notre Dame in order to better facilitate fundraising and management of the school. Then she
worked in the Department of Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, guiding diocesan high schools in
financial matters and serving as the director of technology.
After a stint at Notre Dame Center as business manager and house director, Sr. Gina Marie went to Rome
to manage a hotel on the generalate property. After the hotel was sold, Sr. Gina Marie expected to return to
California. Instead, she was named Treasurer General and asked to stay in Rome. She was surprised but has
found the ministry to be a good fit.
“I do have the background for what we’re doing and I believe that I’m supposed to be here right now doing
this ministry,” she said.

                Associate Program Approaches 10th Anniversary
              With ten years of experience and growth, the SND Associate Program is now approaching 70 associates strong.
              When asked about her experience, Lois Harrion, one of California’s first Associates, says, “My spiritual life has
              been and continues to be enriched by a number of experiences I have shared with the sisters.” In addition to
              opportunities like faith sharing, book clubs, and retreats, Associates are committed to service. Associates are
              involved in a variety of ministries and have volunteered thousands of hours as they carry God’s goodness and
              provident care out to the world.

              If you or someone you know would like more information about this amazing program, please contact Sr. Lisa
              at 805-402-8623 or                          -- Madalyn Horton, SND Associate

Roadblocks to Responding to God’s Call
by Sr. Valerie Marie Roxburgh

As we move into this sacred time of Lent, I thought it would be beneficial to write
about responding to God’s call in our lives. One of my favorite bible stories on this
subject is the story of Samuel’s call (1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-20). God had to call Samuel’s
name several times before he identified that the call was truly from God and then he
responded. In young Samuel’s case, the reason for his delay was that he was not familiar
with the Lord, because the Lord had not revealed anything to him yet (3:7). It was Eli,
Samuel’s trusted mentor and temple priest, who helped Samuel recognize God’s call.
I believe one of the most common roadblocks to discerning God’s call in our lives is
FEAR. When I heard God’s call to religious life I experienced fear while discerning this
counter-cultural life change. Much like Samuel, I had to discern that the call I felt in my                               You can reach Sr. Val at
innermost being was from God and then seek how best to respond. Clarity came through                                      --9 or
doing the following:                                                                                            

    • Daily prayer, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, meditating on scripture, reading
      books on discernment, and attending daily Mass
    • Listening to my heart and getting out of my “head” (analysis paralysis)
    • Talking with my family, close friends, and wise mentors. God placed amazing people in my path (my
      parish priest, discernment group leader, spiritual director, and vocation director)
A spirit of fear and lack of hope is very prevalent in our world today. Reports about our challenging world
economy and tragic natural disasters such as what has occurred in Haiti can shake our faith and trust in
God. When we allow our fears to paralyze us, we limit God’s ability to work in our lives. I think the
counter balance for fear is God’s LOVE. John states this so well in scripture “There is no fear in love, but
perfect love drives out fear… (1 John 4:18).” Timothy also tells us that God does not give us a spirit of fear
but of love and peace (2 Timothy 1:7). We are so blessed that God’s love for us is unconditional, but we
have to choose how we respond to His love.
If you feel God is calling you to religious life or the priesthood, I encourage you to put God in the driver’s
seat. Please do not allow fear to block your vocation discernment and limit what God can do in your life! I
love being a Sister of Notre Dame and if I had allowed my fears to block me, I would never have found my
true vocation.

      Grapevine            Formation Gathering in Ohio
      continued from
                           In mid-January, Srs. M. Kathleen Burns, Amy Hauck and Regina Robbins accompanied postulant
           back page
                           Jane Leung, novice Sr. Mary Kristina Fuller, and temporary professed Sr. Rosaria Park to Toledo,
                           Ohio for the annual gathering of women in formation with the Sisters of Notre Dame throughout
                           the country.
       Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign Continues
       In late January at St. Mary Magdalen Church in Camarillo, Sr. Mary Rebekah Kennedy, three La Reina High School seniors,
       and Lisa Helene Donovan made a presentation about the crime of human trafficking and how it can be prevented through
       awareness efforts, fair trade, and other anti-poverty projects. Visit for links to some of their resources and
       more information about this crime of modern day slavery and what you can do to help end it.
       Sisters Start Blogging Ministry
       In the Hands of the Potter is a new group blog produced by the Sisters of Notre Dame. The blogging team of Srs. Mary Amy
       Hauck and Kristina Fuller provide regular reflections which often find connections between our faith and the rest of our lives.
       Other Sisters of Notre Dame contribute when they have something special to share and during Advent or Lent.
       You can visit the blog at or via the link on our website.
                                                                                        More at
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 California                                  The Sisters of Notre Dame
                                                          California Province

 Sisters Speak at
                                           are celebrating 30 years of life and service
 University Series                              at our provincial center with an
  Srs. M. Lois Best, Kathleen
  Burns, Antonine Manning
  and Regina Robbins will
  be giving talks as part of
  Ventura County’s multi-
                                                Open House
  parish University Series.
  For specific dates and                             …and you’re invited!
  times as well as registration
  information, visit
  or www.theuniversityseries.
                                        Sunday, April 11, 2010
 Check Your E-Mail for
                                        1:00 - 5:00 p.m.
 Lenten Reflections
  Various Sisters of Notre
  Dame are collaborating                Tours
  to send weekly Lenten
  reflections to our friends,
  colleagues, and donors. Not
  on our e-mail list? Sign up at
  our website!                          Raffle
  You can also read the                                    Notre Dame Center
  reflections at our new blog,
  In the Hands of the Potter,                             1776 Hendrix Avenue
  www.inthehandsofthepotter.                            Thousand Oaks CA 91360
        Grapevine continues on page 7
                                            RSVP by April 8 to Carmela Burke at (805) 917-3714

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