American Renewal Group Eagerly Tread Paths of Founding Sisters
October 16, 2013
Left to right: Sisters M. Margaret Droege, M. Kathleen Burns, M. Luellen Boeglin, Christine Marie Foos, M. Jennifer Kramer, M. Rosellyn Theisen
Back Row left to right: Srs. Carol Marie McHenry, M. Julindis Melis,M. Ruth Lubbers, M. Kathleen Hine
With the arrival of the last American renewal group participants in mid morning, September 23, 2013, in Coesfeld, the fourth congregational renewal course for this year got underway. On hand to welcome the sisters were Sister Mary Kathleen Burns, program facilitator, assisted by Sister Maria Julindis Melis, Assistant General, and Sister Mary Joell Overman.
Eager to tread the paths of our founding sisters and to meet the sisters in Kloster Annenthal, the renewal group made use of offered opportunities for this purpose. They walked the cobblestone streets in downtown Coesfeld; searched out the original site on Süring Strasse where Sister Maria Aloysia took in the first homeless children, and spent prolonged periods of time praying before the crucifix in Saint Lamberti Church.
A special time of gratitude was the celebration of Erntedankfest (Thanksgiving Day) with our sisters in Kloster Annenthal. This occasion also allowed the group to express gratefulness to Sister Maria Anneliese and the local community for other shared feasts: Foundation Day on October 1st, and October 3rd, the German national holiday commemorating the Unification of East and West Germany. All of these experiences helped to put “flesh” to the formally prepared program on our SND spirituality and history held in Haus Ludgerirast, Gerleve.
When asked for responses to the renewal program, several of the sisters had this to say:
“The grace of the renewal program – our sessions, prayer, reflections, sharing and experiences in Germany moved the information I’ve always heard and read about from my head to my heart. Our SND foundation, our spirituality, the Coesfeld crucifix, my crucifix – I can claim them now wholeheartedly.”
“…It touched the essence of who we are so we can put other things in perspective…”
“Being here on German soil, seeing the places, hearing the stories of our origins, actually meeting some of the elder sisters in Annenthal, soaking in the atmosphere of St. Lamberti Church and imagining Sisters M. Aloysia and M. Ignatia walking around in there, spending time before the Coesfeld crucifix… these gave me a connection to our SND community…”
“Living in Coesfeld, seeing our heritage display, meeting many German sisters, praying before the Coesfeld crucifix, reading some of the original documents and taking all of these experiences into prayer strengthened my identity and appreciation of our founding group and the hardships of our beginnings.”
“…My identity as a Sister of Notre Dame has become more clear with each passing year as the initials after my name continued to change from AND to PND to NND and finally SND. These were like “seals” upon my person. This renewal program burned this seal indelibly as it strengthened my identification NOW.”
“From our earliest days, we have been a mission-driven group who is grounded in prayer and community. I have a better sense of how it all came to be and a greater desire to bring our prophetic witness of God’s goodness and care to our world.”
Making the long Coesfeld Way of the Cross in prayer and song and joining the local parishioners for Sunday morning liturgy at St. Lamberti Church at the end of their retreat, brings to a close the congregational renewal programs for 2013. The American renewal group returned to their respective provinces on October 14th.