Naming Essentials of SSND
Vatican II (1962-65) called School Sisters of Notre Dame to deeper spirituality and to renew commitments that were in accord with our charism. This basic theme of following the call of the church was uppermost in Mother Theresa’s heart as she founded the congregation and was the hallmark of each General Chapter. She had once written to Mother Caroline: “The Catholic faith is applicable for all continents. Why should our holy rule not be equally applicable since it was dictated by the Holy Spirit through the Church?” (#4262 to Mother Caroline, May 3, 1868)
This desire to follow the call of the Church also became the hallmark of each General Chapter. Each chapter looked at the SSND Holy Rule and named themes that relate to a fuller living of SSND spirituality and mission. This discernment flows from reflecting on the corporate experience of SSND, the signs of the times, scripture, and Church teaching.
The repetition of certain goals/themes is an example of the creative fidelity of sisters in the past 40 years. The 13th General Chapter of 1970 and those that follow give evidence of fidelity to Mother Theresa’s vision as well as the challenges of living what School Sisters of Notre Dame profess. The 14th Chapter of 1972, the 15th Chapter of 1974, the 16th Chapter of 1977, the 17th Chapter of 1982, the 18th Chapter in 1987, 19th Chapter in 1992, the 20th Chapter in 1997, and the 21st Chapter in 2002, are an attempt to name the essentials of SSND life and mission.
The 22nd General Chapter mandate of 2007 will be translated into many languages and cultures. This desire to integrate community with all who make this sacred planet, Earth, their/our home will be strengthened by a cosmic dimension of living Eucharist. This will be a challenging vision to explore and live in the next five years. May Mother Theresa enlighten SSNDs and Associates to engage this new mandate with integrity.