School Sisters of Notre Dame – Africa

Transforming the World through Education


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Shaping a future full of hope!

By Sister Mary Mburu. SSND

The  School Sisters of Notre Dame of the Province of Africa  held the PDIC conference  in Accra, Ghana in mid December this year. The conference which brings together all the sisters working in formation in the province was  facilitated by Sister Kate Duval  SSND.  Sister. Mary Kerber,the provincial leader for Africa  welcomed, thanked and blessed each of the sisters at the beginning of this meeting.

Formation Group

Sister working in formation and the provincial Council pose for a group picture with Mrs Millicent Togoh(5th left)

For all of us, it was a time of prayer, reflection and sharing, in which we invested ourselves into open and honest discussion  regarding one congregational novitiate in Rome.

Formation Mburu

Sisters Mary Mburu, Janet and Delia share a light moment during the conference.

Participants  at this conference took time to listen to the report presented  by the sisters who had attended the  PDIC meeting in  Rome in August.The sharing of this report was followed by an interactive session of questions, comments and feedback for clarity .The interactive session was a moment of grace because it led to a better understanding  of the implications of having one congregational novitiate for the province of Africa.  It also provided a basis for our discussions  we had at  this meeting.

We commit ourselves to create  a more welcoming, nurturing, and supportive environment for our women in initial formation.

Formation magda and Janet

Sisters Magdalene, Janet and Goretty take time to relax at the conference.

It was a privilege to experience a day with Mrs. Millicent Togoh, an intercultural consultant and coach who spoke passionately about the dynamics and skills of intercultural living. The theme of her talk  was based on Martin Luther King Jr’s words  “We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters or perish together as fools”.

Our days together were marked by a sense of joy, hope, open and sincere dialogue.

DSC01415

Sister (Priscilla poses with Sr Grace and Sister Victoria our provincial councilors who were part of the conference.


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Hurrah! Nigeria Celebrates Her 40th Anniversary

SR. PRISCILLA C. ONWUKA SSND, Area Local Leader in Nigeria writes:

This year,  Nigeria  marks the 40th anniversary of School Sisters of Notre Dame  presence on the Nigerian soil. We the sisters in Nigeria rejoice in God’s goodness, love and hope, as we continue to trust and deepen our relationship with God  and humanity, we shall soar high.

The first School Sister of Notre Dame  who came to Nigeria  in 1974 was Sr. Melmarie Gentry from Baltimore province . Sr. Melmarie was invited by Bishop Obot, the then  Auxiliary Bishop of Ikot Ekpene Diocese . Sr Melmarie   met Bishop Obot in Rome and  Bishop Obot  requested her to teach come to Nigeria and teach in  the seminary and in the girls  secondary school in his  diocese (Ikot Ekpene).

Sister Melmarie

Sister Melmarie

Sr. Melmarie’s coming was an individual commitment but afterwards, the Baltimore Province in the United States made a commitment to Nigeria. In this regard, Sr. Gabriel Roeder from Baltimore and Maris Simon from Mankato joined Sr Melmarie in 1977. In 1981, Srs Dorothy Hunt and Virginia Brien joined  the sisters in Nigeria. They taught  at  a private  secondary school at Ikot Ekpene and  lived  in a rented building. The chief and the villagers in Ikot Etuk udo were not comfortable seeing the sisters living in a rented house and they offered  land for the sisters to build a convent. In 1984, the house was  completed, Cardinal Dominic Ekandem blessed the new residence for the sisters.Through the generosity of our sisters in Bavarian province, Mother Caroline’s Nursery and Primary school was built at Ikot Etuk Udo. Today the school is called Notre Dame Nursery and Primary School. Even though the sisters are no longer ministering in this school.

In 1985, Sr. Eugenia Forebeck arrived and 1987 Sr.Jane Irons followed. Since then many sisters from the former Baltimore, Chicago, Canada, Dallas and Milwaukee provinces have  worked in Nigeria. Some of them are: Sr. Martin Colbert, Sr Peg Malone, Sr. Sharon Dei, Sr. Anne Vogel, Sr, Carol Schmitz, Sr Anne Arthur Klinker, Sr. Betty Roesser, Sr. Doreen Schommer, Sr. Antoinette Naumann, Sr Jane Weisgram, Sr. Sandy Weinke, Sr. Inez Bocklage, Sr. Carol Kleber, Sr. Marie Theresa Nowakowski, Sr Sylvia Borgmeier, Sr. Antoinette is now ministers  in Sierra Leone and other sisters have returned back to their different provinces of origin . Sisters Melmarie, Sharon Dei and Carol Kleber have gone to heaven. May their gentle souls rest in perfect peace. Amen.

The sisters  taught in secondary schools , seminaries and others worked in the remands homes. Most of the sisters worked  as formators for the young sisters. In 1989, the formation house was built at Mbribit Itam in Uyo Diocese.  Sr. Martin Kolbert was the first postulant directress,she was  assisted by Sr. Anne Vogel,  Sisters  Carol Schmitz, Carol Kleba, Marie Theresa Nowakowski, Antoinette Naumann and Sandy Weinke were also formators in Nigeria.

In 1993, Sr Gabriel Roeder built the Notre Dame Girls’ Junior and Senior Secondary School in the Diocese of Makurdi at Mkar in Benue State. This  school (NDSS), the only school owned by the School Sisters of Notre Dame was built to provide education for girls. The first Principal (Administrator) of the school was Sr Peg Malone.Gabriel in kitchen copy

August 15th, 1989 was a special year for us because it was the year the first five (5) Nigerian women were accepted into the postulancy. On 14th November, 1992 they made their first profession. Since then, we have been having a steady stream of candidates for religious life. Today we have ten (10) Nigerians who have made their final commitment, thirteen (13) under temporary vows, seven novices and three postulants.

As an international congregation, most of the sisters are working in other countries, the novices are in Ghana while the Postulants are in Kenya for their formation training. As of now, we have one novitiate and one postulancy for all African candidates.

In  life’s endeavor, every experience we have , in no small measure  contribute to our joy and our resilience in facing  today’s realities. Our God, we thank you! We are very grateful for your abundant love for us. May your name be ever glorified, as we bring you to every soul we encounter through our ministry.

Sisters Marie,Janet,Monica,Dorothy and Meg

Sisters Marie,Janet,Monica,Dorothy and Meg