School Sisters of Notre Dame – Africa

Transforming the World through Education

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Pope Francis brings the message of hope and healing to Africa.

Pope Francis is in Africa for  his maiden visit to these vast continent. Pope Francis chose to make his first stop  in Nairobi,  Kenya. A  choice that saw the country so excited to receive  the special guest.Plans to host  him have been going on for months. Both the government and the church have been working tirelessly to make the pontiff’s visit a success.

Pope Francis’s three days  in Kenya were packed with lots of meetings and activities. He attended an inter religious dialogue where he called on other religious leaders to work for peace. Pope Francis celebrated a special mass for the country at Nairobi University;a mass that was attended by thousands of Christians.  He visited the poor who live in the  slums of Kangemi, Nairobi and  in another event,he addressed dignitaries on climate change and environmental issues  at UNEP  headquarters in Nairobi .

On the last day of his visit , Pope Francis wowed thousands of young  gathered  in Kasarani stadium.This was their opportunity to tell the Pope about the challenges they face from tribalism, discrimination and radicalization to peer pressure.Here Pope Francis spoke off the cuff.He spoke passionately,honestly and was even a little  confrontational about these issues.  It was more of a counselling session. He left them with the message that corruption is an evil they need to eradicate from their society.

But for most  of us ,the best part was when the pope met with the clergy,religious and the seminarians. Putting aside his prepared text, the Holy Father spoke of the joy of a life of radical service to the Gospel and of the radical faithfulness to Christ that is the guarantee of happiness and success in ordained ministry and consecrated discipleship.More than 8000 persons were at this event. Among the audience were the School Sisters of Notre Dame who even got some  great shots of this great man.

While explaining what it means to be called; Pope Francis explained to the Bishops, priests, brothers and nuns that one must live like someone who has been chosen by Christ himself.

An official transcript of the Pope Francis’ extemporaneous remarks is being prepared. In the meantime, has a video of the Holy Father’s address, with side-by-side English translation provided by the Pope’s interpreter, Msgr. Mark Miles.

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Remembering Our Sr Mary Mamwacha

By Sr Joan Mukhwana

Today marks a year since our  beloved Sr Mary Mamwacha SSND  went to God. The  School Sisters of Notre Dame  in the Kenya area marked  this special day on Saturday the 11th of July. The sisters and Sr Mary’s family gathered at our  formation house in Kisumu,Kenya in anticipation of Sr.Mary Mamwacha’s  death anniversary. On this day,  we gathered to celebrate the Eucharist  and bless the new  tombstone.

The newly Professed sisters joined us in the celebration. L-R  Srs Edna,Beatrice,Julie,Ruth and Joy.

The newly Professed sisters joined us in the celebration.
L-R Srs Edna,Beatrice,Julie,Ruth and Joy.

The  celebration of the Eucharist was led by Fr Dominic OP .Among those present were the  newly professed sisters who had just arrive  from  Ghana. They were part of the beautiful choir that sang at  this celebration.The sisters shared with the family a  gift of sister Mary’s memories. These memories  recorded in a digital video disk tell of Sr Mary’s life and her last days on earth.  After the Eucharistic celebration ,we all processed to Mary’s resting place  and held a blessing ritual for  the new tombstone.

It was a great way to remember our Sr Mary, A woman of great faith who shared her love,faith hope with all the people she lived and worked with. May she rest in eternal peace.

Sr Mary's resting place.

Sr Mary’s resting place.

The sisters and family gather at Sr Mary's resing place for the blessing of the tombstone.

The sisters and family gather at Sr Mary’s resting place for the blessing of the tombstone.

The family processes  out to the  place of rest.

The family processes out to the place of rest.


Sharing Our Love and Our Hope!

By Sr Lucy Etim.

St Francis’ Girls, Kiptere Shalom Club members marked the end of a week program of women’s day celebration by visiting our friends in Kericho town. On a beautiful, Saturday  morning we embarked on a journey to Kericho town to visit children in the “Living with Hope Centre.” A Centre managed by the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart.


St Francis Girls High School Shalom club members with the group of former street boys and staff

The first group we visited was a group of former street boys. This  group which is made up former street boys who were  rescued from the streets  and are helped to reconnect with their families. The Street children’s  program at the Living with Hope Centre uses  three ‘Rs’ to work with the street boys i.e. Rescue, Rehabilitate and Repatriate.

The second group we visited at “Living with Hope Centre”  are children living with HIV. These children have  health challenges that are being managed at the Centre. We spent our day in the two homes sharing, chatting and making friends with the children.

IMG_0136.JPG Kids sick
Shalom Club members visit with friends at Living With Hope Centre

“As women of integrity who have been empowered, we felt the need to reach out to other people to empower and support them”.

It was a very enriching experience for each of the Shalom club members We shared experiences and encouraged one another in life. Some of the stories were very touching and triggered emotions.

In sharing of their experiences, the girls became more appreciative of the life and gifts/opportunities  they have. Listening to the stories of these young people among many others have called me to be more attentive to the many voices that cry out around  us and open our hearts to reach out as Christ would. Let us be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in this year  of consecrated life. God bless you!

Lucy in another women's day

Sr Lucy Etim with the Shalom Club at a Women’s day Celebration.


Continuing the Vision of our Foundress

By Magdalene Akpan

In celebration of the year of Consecrated life the School Sisters of Notre Dame will be sharing their call to religious life. This stories have been published in our newsletter “Trust and Dare” visit sisters  for more stories.


Professed July 2011

Sister Magdalene Akpan attributes her strong Catholic background with providing the incentive to listen and respond to the call to religious life. Growing up in the southern part of Nigeria, she was involved in different groups in her parish, which provided her opportunities to serve and evangelize.

Magdalene Good.

“As a result, there was a growing desire in me to be more,”

Sister Magdalene said. “I had a quest for closer union with

God, for living with those who have this same desire and

also for reaching out in service to God’s people.

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Sisters Gloria, Judy, Magdalene and Marceline pose for a group picture on their profession day.

I believed the desire would be fulfilled in responding to the call to religious life.” In college, a friend introduced her to the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

“I fell in love with the spirit of the School Sisters of

Notre Dame from the first moment I was introduced to

the congregation,” Sister Magdalene said. “I felt a deep

resonance with their charism of unity and their ministry

of education. Also, the simplicity of the sisters, their joyful

and welcoming spirit and their having interest in people

were some of the attributes that attracted me during my first

meeting with the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

Magdalene Akpan on Profession Day

Newly professed sisters pose for a group photo S. Judy, Marcy, Magdalene and Gloria

“I have enjoyed the support of sisters in community, which has helped me draw closer to God each day, which in turn

has given me the energy to be about the mission of Jesus Christ. Our internationality is also a great gift.” Sister Magdalene teaches agriculture and business studies in Sister Michaela Girls’ Secondary School in Kenya. She also is co-vocation director in Kenya.

Sr Magdalene Akpan on her profession Day

Sr Magdalene Akpan on her profession day in 2011

“I am ready for all, since I propose to do nothing else but  God’s holy will alone, which should be done in and with us.”

– Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger, foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame

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Come and See! Young women respond to the call.

By Sr Magdalene Akpan  and Sr Theodoah Ihiro SSND

“Through our life as apostolic women religious, we witness to the joy and challenge of following Christ. Gifted with God’s grace and drawn to our way of life, other women perceive within themselves God’s call to share in the life of our Congregation. We welcome these women and together with them enter into a process of discerning their call to be School Sisters of Notre Dame.” (You Are Sent. Par 43, Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame)


In late November last year, young women (from different parts of Nigeria) gathered on the grounds of the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) at Mbribit  Itam community, Nigeria.

Nigeria Vocation Seminars

Sr. Theodora (far right) Novices Edna,Beatrice,Julie and Joy pose for a group photo with the young women.

The aim of this gathering was to help these young women who are aspiring to join religious life begin to discern their call to this worthy life style through various seminars facilitated by SSND novices and sisters.

Apart from the formal sessions, young women participated in other day to day  activities like cleaning and cooking.They were sensitive to each other’s needs; their caring spirit and attitude was admirable.

The last evening, which was set apart as social night, saw the young women explore their gifts and talents in songs, poems, dances and drama.

Kenya      By Sr.Magdalene Akpan SSND

Vocation Seminars girls 1

Young women arrive at St Francis Girls Kiptere,Kenya for the come and see days.

In Kenya, the Come and See Seminars took place in early December. Young women  interested in knowing more about religious life  came from different parts of the country.We  converged in St. Francis School, Kiptere. The seminars are held each year in December . During these three days, we  journeyed with these young women helping  each of them  listen and discern where God may be calling them.

Prayer, reflection and mutual interaction created a conducive environment  for the participants to discern the movements of God in their hearts.

Kanini's washing of feet vocation Seminars Kenya

Sr Kanini washes participants’ feet in the Prayer and service seminar.

For these young women , this  was an enriching experience ; a time to find answers for some  their questions

On our part, we were touched and blessed by the presence  of these young women during these days.

Novices Nduke and Monica

Novices Nduke and Monica (far right ) pose with the young women who attended the seminar on Call and Jesus.

Follow the star design

Magdalene Good.

Sr Magdalene Akpan SSND


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.


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