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A Message from the Provincial Summer break…jubilees and vows… retreats, celebrations, province days, vacations or staycations, welcoming out of town SNDs to sunny So Cal… just some of what has filled our summer days.


Vision & Challenge is published three times annually by the Sisters of Notre Dame, California Province. SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME Founded by Hilligonde Wolbring in Coesfeld, Germany in 1850, the Sisters of Notre Dame is an international congregation of women religious who serve the church in 18 countries. The Sisters of Notre Dame have ministered in California for more than 94 years, bringing hope to humankind through education, faith formation, spiritual development, pastoral ministry, health care, social outreach ministries and missionary service. For more information, visit VISION & CHALLENGE TEAM Provincial Superior: Sr. M. Anncarla Costello, S.N.D. Director of Mission Advancement Services: Sr. M. Lisa Megaffin, S.N.D. Communications Manager: Sarah Marcuse Contributors and advisers for this edition: Sr. Annete Adams, Sr. Betty Mae Bienlein, Jen Coito, Lisa Canterbury, Sr. Anncarla Costello, Sr. Amy Hauck, Sr. Jolisa Lazaro, Sr. Grace Leung, Sarah Marcuse, Jodee McElfresh, Sr. Lisa Megaffin, Steve Pehanich, Sr. Joan Schlotfeldt, Sr. Regina Robbins, Lisa Stupar, Sr. Colette Theobald, Sr. Frances Wahl, Sr. Joanne Wittenburg, Mariana Yniguez Artwork, Graphic Design: Sr. Leanne Hubbard Jamie Designs, Inc. Updates: Please contact the Mission Advancement Office for the name and/or address corrections at or 1776 Hendrix Ave., Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 PRINTING Vision & Challenge is printed locally by Custom Printing in Oxnard, California. Please remember to recycle your copy after reading.



As members of an international congregation, our summer was also filled with opportunities Two of our Jubilarians, Sr. Carol Marie Papet and Sr. to incarnate God’s love and Shawn Marie Doyle, radiate summer’s joy. provident care alongside our sisters and brothers around the world. In particular, the immigration crisis has reminded us of our own experience as refugees to this country in 1874 when all teaching Sisters were banished from Germany due to conflict between the government and the Roman Catholic Church. I was profoundly impacted by the opportunity, with Srs. Betty Mae Bienlein and Gina Marie Blunck, to accompany a delegation from the California Conference of Bishops to the Adelanto Detention Center near Victorville, California. As I pray and reflect on our experience there, I am dealing with several feelings. I am most grateful for the blessed opportunity to have met the immigrant women and men being held at Adelanto whose pain and suffering have not deterred them from clinging to a loving God, and for the members of our group who represent so many incensed by the treatment they are receiving (read the full story on page 5). Reading about and seeing photos of sisters and brothers being held in these centers is one thing; we can remain impervious to the real pain that is there. Being present, shaking hands, looking into faces beyond the skin tones of brown, black and shades in between, connecting deeply with eyes that spoke a heart language filled with fear, pleading, tears… was something entirely different for me. If I remain silent, my complicity indicts me. I place into the heart of our loving God all whom I met and the hundreds and thousands more who are being detained. I commit myself (in my own small ways) to be their arms, to be their feet, to be their voice until they are able to be heard. Please join me in praying and bringing change to a broken and heartless system. Lovingly in Our Lady, woman of hope,

Sr. M. Anncarla Costello, S.N.D.

Perpetual Vows: “For my whole life” A month after Sr. Mary Grace Leung’s perpetual vows, she remembers the feelings leading up to her celebration with a sense of awe. Looking back, she says, “After my vows, it almost feels like the beginning!” Sr. Grace has journeyed a long road to realize her vocation. Born in New York City, Sr. Grace’s upbringing was not centered around faith or religion. She majored in Asian studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Sr. Grace then began her career as an executive assistant for an ABC Television Vice President. In 1997, Sr. Grace was awarded the opportunity to make a move to Los Angeles. Apprehensive about not having friends or family on the west coast, she decided to relocate in good faith. Packing five bags of all her worldly possessions, she said goodbye to her family. Later, she left the entertainment industry and transitioned to a corporate position with Hilton Hotels as an executive assistant in the Treasury Department in Beverly Hills. Her work was satisfying, but in the spring of 2005, she felt an inner calling to seek out something else, something more. After the death of St. John Paul II, Sr. Grace watched in wonderment as the crowds of people made their way to St. Peter’s Square to pay their respects. Reminiscing she says, “[Saint] John Paul II’s death was the spark that led me to the church.” She asked a Catholic friend, Brittany Fish, to take her to Mass. Subsequently, Sr. Grace began RCIA and was given the Sacraments in the spring of 2006 at St. Timothy’s Church in West Los Angeles. She enjoyed being an active member of her new faith community, but still longed for something more.

Sr. Grace was joined by close friend Brittney Fish and members of her immediate family: Jade Leung (sister-in-law), Melissa Leung (niece), and Steven Leung (brother).

Grace fondly recalls the incident saying, “I felt the sense of welcome and family.” In 2009, the SND formation journey began for Sr. Grace, and she made her first profession in 2013. Also in 2013, Sr. Grace received her master’s degree in Pastoral Ministry from St. John’s Seminary. She currently works as an auditor in the Marriage Tribunal for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Of her current ministry she says, “It has been very rewarding helping people return to the Church to receive their Sacraments.” As Sr. Grace reviews the past 13 years, she feels purpose-driven, knowing with certainty that God’s goodness and provident care have always been the guiding inspiration.

In 2007, Sr. Grace attended the Religious Education Congress and was introduced to Sr. Valerie Marie Roxburgh who at the time was making her first profession as a Sister of Notre Dame. Sr. Valerie gave her some literature and introduced her to the Director of Vocations, at that time, Sr. Judeen Julier. Shortly thereafter she enjoyed a dinner with the SNDs at the St. Francis Community in Silver Lake. At that dinner, she immediately felt like she was right at home. Sr. Sr. Grace welcomes her classmates from St. John’s Seminary, Fr. Jonathan Meyer and Fr. Parker Sandoval.


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Rejoicing with Two Partners in Mission Summer 2018 proved to be an exciting time for the SNDs as they witnessed long-time friend and colleague, Bishop Marc Trudeau, at his episcopal ordination for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Bishop Trudeau’s long-standing relationship with the SNDs began in 1986 with his pastoral formation as a seminarian at La Reina High School. Sr. M. Lisa Megaffin served as La Reina’s principal at the time. She recalls, “When I first met him, my intuition said that he was meant for great things. Bewildered, and uncertain about a meaningful experience (besides teaching religion), I assigned him to lunch duty, a responsibility that is probably the least favorite of any teacher. So the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will now have a bishop with lunch duty on his resume--that is certainly a real-life experience!” Regarding his longstanding connection to the SND community, Bishop Trudeau reflected on his time spent with the sisters saying, “Sr. Anncarla Costello and I worked together at the Archdiocesan Center for 6 years. We were also able to honor Sr. Anncarla as a distinguished alumna of St. John’s Seminary in 2016. I have worked with Sr. Leanne for the past 5 years and have had many pizzas and brown ale with her, and sometimes Sr. Lisa. I have had the opportunity to interact with a number of other sisters over the last 30 years. Those relationships mean a lot to me. But my experience with the spirituality of the SNDs is most profound when I have had the privilege of celebrating 6:30 a.m. Mass at the Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks. The sisters are usually already in the chapel praying when I am barely making it in. They are truly an inspiration.” Mugabi John Mary, a member of the first class at St. Julie Model Primary



Fr. Mugabi John Mary celebrates Mass for the St. Julie School community shortly after his ordination.

Boarding School, Buseesa, was among the 14 priests ordained for the Diocese of Hoima, Uganda on July 7. The SNDs and the school community rejoiced that his ordination marked the second priestly vocation from the school. California sisters, Sr. Margaret Mary Scott and Sr. Jane Marie McHugh remember him well. In addition, he is the brother of Sr. M. Assumpta Mugabi. During the thanksgiving Mass at his family home, Fr. Mugabi shared with all of his guests how very much the Sisters of Notre Dame and his primary school experience influenced his spiritual and moral development, and eventually his priestly vocation.

Global SND Update


Maasai children don their traditional attire for a community celebration with Sr. M. Rashmi Mattappallil and Sr. M. Magdalene Musila.

At the invitation of tribal leadership, the Sisters of Notre Dame began a mission to the semi-nomadic Maasai people of Simanjiro, Tanzania in 2008. The mission includes a school now serving 250 children and an empowerment program for the women. In many families, these children are the first generation to receive any kind of education. Because the Maasai children often walk long distances, cutting through the forest and confronting wild animals, the SNDs saw a need for a boarding school to offer refuge to these children. The first 12 boarding students were welcomed this spring, and a second house is currently under construction. Superior General Sr. M. Kristin Battles recently reported that: “In a male dominated community where polygamy is practiced, girls and women count less than cattle. Besides ministering to the children, the sisters also work with adults, especially the mothers, empowering them through education and skill-building. Young adolescent girls have come to trust the sisters and seek protection on the convent premises from abuse by the men in the village. Little by little social change is occurring and girls and women are being empowered to claim their dignity.”

Who Are We That The Church Should Visit Us?


On Wednesday, July 25, 2018, 20 bishops, priests, women religious and lay persons were able to visit the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Detention Facility in Adelanto, California (about 75 miles north of the City of San Bernardino). This visit was made possible by the California Conference of Bishops. The Diocese of San Bernardino has an extensive jail and detention ministry that regularly serves Adelanto and 20 other jails and prisons. The Adelanto Detention Center is a private, for-profit facility where individuals caught crossing illegally into California are detained. They reportedly receive inadequate medical care, live in unsanitary conditions, and experience limited time out of their cells. Nearby jail buildings are surrounded by many layers of barbed wire and police protection. The immigrants are from countries all over the world. Their average stay is about six weeks, although many have been there for years. Members of the SND community who were part of the delegation were Sr. Anncarla Costello, Sr. Betty Mae Bienlein and Sr. Gina Marie Blunck. Mass, confession and fellowship were held in two small chapels on the detention center premises. It was a Spirit-filled day for both the detainees and the visitors who were privileged to witness their faithfulness. Through the midst of tearful stories of separation from loved ones, the detainees remain hopeful of one day reuniting with their families (Sr. Anncarla’s personal reflections are included in her message on page 2).


SR. DWINA MARIE TOWLE July 20, 1937- May 13, 2018

A native of Santa Monica, Sr. Dwina Marie Towle attended Notre Dame Academy, cultivating friendships with Sr. Mary Cordelia May and Sr. Mary Giovanne Vidoni who sparked her desire to become an SND.   Over the years, Sr. Dwina Marie served in various ministries--as an elementary educator and in service to the community, like the valiant woman of the book of Proverbs she was concerned about the needs of her household. Of all the assignments Sr. Dwina Marie was given, she especially loved her years managing the sewing department. In retirement, she enjoyed puzzles and tending a small patio garden.   In early May, her health declined quickly. She passed peacefully into eternity late in the evening on May 13, which also happened to be Mother’s Day, the Feast of the Ascension and the date of St. Julie’s beatification.  Sr. Dwina Marie will be greatly missed and will be remembered as someone who generously used her talents and service for others. May she rest in peace.  SR. M. EMILIE ANN PALLADINO July 9, 1942- April 15, 2018

Faith formation is more than words--it is the powerful witness of example--the example of trust in God’s goodness and provident care. It is this trust in God that many will long remember as Sr. M. Emilie Ann’s spiritual legacy. Sr. Emilie Ann met the Sisters of Notre Dame as a third grader at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Seven Hills, Ohio. Upon completion of her first year of college, she entered the community, receiving the name Sister Mary Nunzio in honor of her father. Sister later returned to her baptismal name, Emilie Ann.    Although Sr. Emilie Ann spent 30 years as a high school teacher in Ohio and California, she dedicated the last 14 years to Our Lady of Grace Parish in Encino, in faith formation and parish ministry.  Msgr. Jay Cunnane, pastor of Our Lady of Grace, remembered Sr. Emilie Ann as having a keen trust in God.  “During these last years of illness and burdensome treatments, Sr. Emilie Ann edified us all with her patience, her faith and trust in God, never complaining.” Sr. Emilie Ann passed into eternity on April 15 at the age of 75, after a brave journey with cancer over the last six years.  Sr. Emilie Ann will be greatly missed; may she rest in peace.





large Hispanic population at Our Lady of Guadalupe, she is determined to learn Spanish in order to communicate better with her students and their families. Sr. Shawn Marie is also the music librarian for the province choir, and her musical skills are deeply appreciated. Recently, for the Notre Dame Charism Day, Sr. Shawn Marie and SND Associate Arnie Lara devised a melody to accompany a litany dedicated to Sr. Maria Aloysia Wolbring, SND foundress. Her sensitivity, compassion and simplicity are gifts to all who know her.

Clergy participating in the July 14 celebration were (from left to right) Rev. John Andrew Doyle, L.C., Rev. Msgr. Michael Jennett, Rev. Paul Hruby, Rev. Joshua Alvero, D.S., and Rev. Robert Jones, C.M.

SR. CAROL MARIE PAPET | 40 YEARS Even as a high school student, Sr. Carol Marie Papet had the desire to work with young children. She took child development courses at Santa Monica City College before entering the community. And so it is no surprise that Sr. Carol has been an educator since 1983, teaching preschool, kindergarten, first and second grade. A member of the founding staff of Notre Dame Learning Center Preschool in 2005, Sr. Carol has seen hundreds of children develop in this play-based environment. Along with her administrative duties, she enjoys playing with the children and helping them grow in mind, body and spirit. She also likes to read and go for long walks. Mariana Yniguez, preschool teacher at NDLC recalls her first encounter with Sr. Carol saying, “I first met Sr. Carol 12 years ago when she interviewed me for a teaching position. Since then she has been my supervisor, mentor and friend.” SR. SHAWN MARIE DOYLE | 40 YEARS Sr. Shawn Marie Doyle joined the SND community in 1975, coming from a large family. Her love for children has inspired her ministry as an educator for over 20 years. Since 2014, Sr. Shawn Marie has served at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Oxnard in the kindergarten and third grade classrooms. Working with a 6


SR. MARY ANN HANSON | 60 YEARS As the oldest of 14 children, Sr. Mary Ann Hanson has learned to guide and mentor with patience and humor. Continuing her care for others, she prepared meals for many SNDs over the years, and was gifted in training novices in the art of cooking for large groups. Additionally, sister taught religious education at St. Mary Magdalen in Camarillo and Our Lady of the Assumption in Ventura, and served as snackcoordinator at Notre Dame Learning Center Pre-school. Today, Sr. Mary Ann continues to reach out to people, making friends wherever she goes. It is not uncommon for her to have a big crowd surrounding her. For the annual SND Nun Run she serves as the matriarch and head cheerleader for her extended family team (Team Hanson). She also enjoys writing cards and sending encouraging messages, a special ministry of sharing God’s goodness and provident care. SR. M. LUELLEN BOEGLIN | 60 YEARS Sr. M. Luellen Boeglin, who became a Sister of Notre Dame in 1956, always felt a special calling to one day become a nurse. In the early years of her ministry, Sister worked at the SND motherhouse in Rome, Italy, where she tended to sick sisters in the infirmary. When she returned to the United States, she earned her R.N. degree through Moorpark College. She subsequently served as a transplant coordinator at various Los Angeles hospitals for nearly 20 years. Eager to share her own deep spirituality, Sr. Luellen became a Spiritual Care Associate at the Saint Camillus Center for Spiritual Care, which serves Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center

CELEBRATING 340 YEARS OF CONSECRATION & Hospital, and the USC University Hospital. Sr. Luellen has a great compassion for all of her patients, a compassion that flows from her own prayer life. SR. M. SHEILA FAY | 60 YEARS Sr. M. Sheila Fay always has a smile and a twinkle in her eye. Her welcoming presence and sense of humor help others see how they can meet life’s challenges. Sr. Sheila was first introduced to the SNDs as an elementary student at St. Rose of Lima, Maywood. Her skill as an exceptional listener is a gift appreciated by many over the decades. As an educator at Notre Dame Academy, La Reina High School, St. Matthias High School and St. Bonaventure High School, she had a positive impact on her students and her colleagues. Sr. Sheila also has an impeccable speaking voice, which she used for making audio recordings for the blind. On a weekly basis, she recorded novels and history textbooks. In her role now as a “Praying Sister,” she has adopted the diverse needs of the SND Associates and Associate Candidates and their families--a ministry dear to her heart.

SR. M. FRANCELIA KLINGSHIRN | 80 YEARS Sr. M. Francelia Klingshirn was born in 1917 in Elyria, Ohio, and she was first introduced to the Sisters of Notre Dame in elementary school. At the age of 17, during her senior year of high school, she entered the community as a postulant in Cleveland. After many years of ministry in Ohio, she came to California in 1962, and served as teacher and administrator at St. Matthias Elementary School in Huntington Park and at Our Lady of the Assumption School in Ventura. In 1981, Sr. Francelia became the founding principal of Sacred Heart School in Ventura. Sr. Francelia also served in province leadership, as school supervisor and provincial superior. As provincial, she was responsible for the design and construction of Notre Dame Center. Many SNDs remember Sr. Francelia’s upbeat attitude which she continues now at 100 years of age.












The Grapevine The Sisters of Notre Dame Distinguished Graduate Award recognizes selected graduates in schools affiliated with the Sisters of Notre Dame National Education Partnership, as being outstanding witnesses to Notre Dame education. From the Class of 2018, the Distinguished Graduate Awardees from California schools included:

Representatives from Notre Dame Academy Schools in Los Angeles attended the 2018 SND National Education Summit in June. Shown here are (back row) Rich Havel, Brad Fuller, Christine Lagrimas, Lee Cotugno and Kristin Callaghan; (front row) Lilliam Paetzold, Sr. M. Frances Wahl, Pat Genovese, Sr. M. Jolisa Lazaro and Ashley Hobbs. Pat received the SND Educator as Gospel Witness Award.


La Reina High School & Middle School, Thousand Oaks ALEKSANDRA LUNICH & NAILAH SMITH

Notre Dame Academy, Los Angeles CATHERINE CARLSON

Notre Dame Academy Elementary School, Los Angeles KAELYN SAVARD

Our Lady of the Assumption School, Ventura LAURA CITLALI MOTA & ANDREW SALAS

St. Helen School, South Gate


St. Jude the Apostle School, Westlake Village ANNIKA DUNCAN & ANTONIO MEJIA HERNANDEZ

St. Mary Magdalen School, Camarillo DIANA ALCANTAR

St. Pius X/St. Matthias Academy, Downey The Uganda mission is preparing to open the A-level program, similar to a community college in the United States, for Notre Dame Academy graduates studying for a university education. Funds are needed for furnishings (such as beds, tables, chairs and desks at $70 each) and for textbooks for courses such as divinity, geography, history, biology, chemistry, physics (averaging $15 per book). Please consider investing in the lives and education of these young women who will have the potential to shape the future of Uganda! Please consider including the SNDs in your will or estate plan. Our legal title is the “Sisters of Notre Dame of Los Angeles” and our IRS nonprofit identification number is 95-2005867. For further information, please call 805-917-3714. Thank you and God bless you!



Profile for Lisa Megaffin

Vision & Challenge Fall '18  

Vision & Challenge Fall '18  

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