We Sisters of Notre Dame are 171 years young today! Our two founding sisters, Sister Maria Aloysia Wolbring and Sister Maria Ignatia Kühling, became the first Sisters of Notre Dame on this date in 1850. God has blessed us through the years, and we are doing well. So let’s call ourselves “young.” We are young in several ways. First, as an international congregation we are blessed with many who are chronologically young, especially in Africa, Indonesia, South Korea, and the Philippines. And we’re happy to have some younger sisters in our own country. Second, we have a young spirit. We’re adventuresome seeking new frontiers, that is, new places of ministry, always answering the question “Where is the need?” Recently some Sisters have worked at the borders with migrants. Others have lent their expertise and muscle to assist during the pandemic. Third, we’re young in our thinking. It’s nothing unusual for a sister in her nineties to say “When I’m old . . .” as she takes Communion to residents in a nursing home or keeps up correspondence with prisoners or makes sandwiches for the hungry.
In the year 2000 our congregation celebrated its sesquicentennial. It was a grand event with sisters from across the nation gathering for prayer, picnic, and play at Lial Renewal Center in Whitehouse, Ohio. What will our bicentennial be like in 2050? If I live to be a hundred, I’ll let you know.