Faithful and Focused
Sandra Spencer entered the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato , Minnesota and took her first vows in 1954. She was a teacher, principal, piano teacher, organist, choir director on five missions in Minnesota from 1956 – 1963. She had received a B.A. from St. Catherine’s College, St. Paul in Education and English. Her minors were History and Music.
In 1963 she was sent to Guatemala where she continued as elementary teacher. She was also involved in teacher training, ministry in the orphanage, and catechetical work among women. Her ministry gave her fluency in Spanish and took her to Puerto Rico , Honduras , and Porto Alegre , Brazil : these cross cultural experiences changed her world view. She remained in Guatemala until 1982, when she was made Motherhouse Local leader and returned to Mankato where she served until 1987. She also received education in spiritual direction during this time.
Sandy received permission to study in a Clinical Pastoral Educational residency at Hazeldon, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. She was a Board Certified Chaplain. She had also received an MA-PHC, Masters in Pastoral Health Care from St. Louis University . This period of study from 1987 – 1990 deepened her awareness that she needed to leave the School Sisters of Notre Dame and share the charism in the broader community.
After leaving SSND Sandra was employed in chaplaincy at St. Louis University Hospital : for three years in the Trauma Center and eight years in the Cancer Center . (1990-2001) She was asked to be Director of the Pastoral Care Department where she served from 2001 until her “retirement” in 2005. From 1993 to the present she has been part of the RCIA Team at St. Francis Xavier College Church where she also serves as lector and brings communion to the sick. She is also offering counseling and spiritual direction as well as giving presentations.
Reflect on Sandra’s lived experience of the corporate world meeting the SSND charism.