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Spring 2015

The Sisters of Notre Dame Celebrate

The Year of Consecrated Life! Also inside: 20 Years in Uganda Ministry in the Mountains Welcome, Sister Marina

Dear Friends, As I review the just-completed seven months of having the title “provincial,” I realize I first had the time and experience to actually feel I was starting to serve as provincial on February 10. Over the seven months, the overarching sense I had was one of solidarity – and that, I hope will be there for the duration. We Sisters of Notre Dame go about our mission with strong ties to one another, to our SNDs in other units, to our associates, to our staff, and to so many friends and partners. Our staff has been more than equal to virtually every task set before them, whether anticipated or not. On a very few hours notice and with assistance from housekeeping and maintenance, we hosted an interprovince retreat that would have been canceled because of a severe water problem in Toledo. Our healthcare staff was pushed to the limit with simultaneous major changes in Sr. Mary Renée Nienaber’s care and a flu outbreak on a scale not seen in decades. We celebrated what we were able to accomplish together with volunteers and donors. They were first welcomed at our door and, in their time with us, we were fully supported by mission advancement and kitchen personnel. Over the space of a few weeks, we had the totally unique opportunity to welcome family and friends of two sisters celebrating 100-year birthdays! Our finance staff and advisors have worked with us regularly and generously. And any number of friends and associates have been with us, often helping us, on a routine basis. While we celebrated together, we also grieved together. We recently lost a loved sister and two associates as well as relatives and friends of sisters and associates. We walked with one another through all those experiences, though the extent was most evident throughout the dying and funeral of our very extroverted Sr. Renée. We cannot thank enough for all the solidarity we have experienced with so many of you in the ways mentioned, as well as in countless other ways. We are indeed blessed, and it is our prayer that the solidarity we share may be a model of what we dream of for the whole human community.

The Sisters of Notre Dame Covington Province

The Sisters of Notre Dame are consecrated women missioned in the Church to proclaim God’s goodness and provident care by living Gospel values in vibrant communities, by promoting Catholic education, especially for women, and for children in urban and mission schools, and by fostering the fullness of life, especially for people who are poor, sick, and aged.

COVINGTON PROVINCIAL LEADERSHIP TEAM: Sr. Mary Ethel Parrott Provincial Sr. Jean Marie Hoffman Provincial Councilor Sr. Mary Judine Lambert Provincial Councilor Sr. Maria Therese Schappert Provincial Councilor

The Pulse is published bi-annually by the Covington SND Office of Mission Advancement.

Sincerely, Sr. Mary Ethel Parrott Provincial, Covington Province


The Pulse • Spring 2015

1601 Dixie Highway Covington, KY 41011 (859) 291-2040 For more SND news, visit:

It’s a Consecrated Life! In a 2014 letter to men and women religious, Pope Francis declared that a Year of Consecrated Life be

celebrated across the globe from November 30, 2014, through February 2, 2016.

Pope Francis’ letter highlighted three goals for those leading a consecrated life. These goals are to look

to the past with gratitude, live the present with passion, and embrace the future with hope.

As we remember the sisters who sacrificed so much to create a foundation for today’s congregation,

we are certainly grateful for our past. Who knew

that the faith and perseverance of several women

from Germany and the Netherlands would lead to

over one-hundred Covington Sisters of Notre Dame

ministering today? Not to mention all of our beloved

associates, volunteers, and donors who, through their support of our mission, share in living the present with passion!

Pope Francis’ letter was addressed to men and

women religious, but we hope it can be seen as a

letter to all of us as Christians, and that we can work toward the goals of the Year of Consecrated Life together.

The Covington Sisters of Notre Dame are happy and eager to be a face of consecrated life. We embrace

a future of togetherness as the four SND provinces in the United States prepare to unite under one leadership team, and we are grateful for the

dedication our partners have shown in support of our commitment to living this consecrated life.

The Pulse • Spring 2015


We Remember Sr. Mary RenÉe Nienaber was born Nancy Jo Nienaber on August 18, 1946, in Covington, KY, into the family of Joseph and Hilda Brueggeman Nienaber. The Nienaber family had many relatives in the religious life. Sister Mary Renée wrote, “I grew up surrounded by people of faith, so it was easy for me to develop a personal relationship with God.” This relationship developed into a religious vocation to the Sisters of Notre Dame, whom she encountered at Notre Dame Academy during high school years. The teachers “taught us well, loved us deeply, had time for us, and encouraged us to pray in chapel each day.” After high school, Sister Mary Renée entered the Notre Dame Community and was professed on August 16, 1967.

She received Master’s degrees: in Education from Xavier University, in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Institute, and in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University. She was also certified in spiritual and retreat direction.

Sister Mary Renée taught elementary and high school before spending 24 years in adult faith formation. Twenty-one of those years were given to St. Mary Parish in Alexandria, KY. In most recent years she was blessed to be a spiritual director and director of retreats. Her articles on spiritual topics were published in periodicals and in the diocesan newspaper. In 2000, she became the director of the Associate program for the Covington province, and continued in this role for for fourteen years until becoming Assistant Provincial in July 2014. No matter her ministry, Sister Mary Renée always made time to celebrate her Notre Dame sisterhood, as well as her favorite holiday: Halloween. Sister Mary Renée passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 1, 2015.

Rita Mae Fagin 1932-2014


SND Associate Rita Mae “Maizie” Fagin, one of six children, was born and raised in Ft. Thomas, KY. Her older sister, the late Sr. Mary Laurence Budde, SND, gave the following recommendation when Maizie applied to become an SND Associate: “Maizie is steadfast and sincere. Once she decides to do something she will give it her all. I know that she desires an ever-closer life with Christ.”

Marcia Klaene became an SND Associate in 2005 and remained committed to reflecting God’s goodness and provident love to all with whom she came in contact. When applying to become an Associate, Marcia stated: “I am drawn by the opportunity to pray and learn with and from the Sisters and Associates and to nourish my faith life. In turn I wish to give back to others, to stretch and to grow.”

Maizie described God as a good friend who was always with her. Maizie was companioned during her year of Associate formation by her high school teacher, Sr. Mary Reina Arlinghaus, and pronounced her Associate covenant in 2005. At her covenant she said, “As an Associate I can share my beliefs with others who have a similar love for Jesus and Mary. My ways of expressing this love will now be more consistent with the spirituality and charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame.”

Marcia graduated from Notre Dame Academy in 1961 and went on to become a teacher, a wife, mother, and grandmother. Marcia shared that some of her favorite things were sunrises and sunsets, playing with her grandchildren, watching her children interact with their children, lunch with friends, and a good book. Marcia’s family described her as the consummate mother and grandma, stating that she was a woman of great passion for others, who will be remembered by many for her endless energy and outreach.

Maizie had a great love of family and said her family was the greatest gift God had given her. On October 23, 2014, Maizie entered into eternity to begin an even closer life with her God, her husband Tom, and son Timmy. 3

The Pulse

Marcia Klaene

Marcia was preceded in death by her husband, Ken Klaene, and her grandson Benjamin Trimpe. She is survived by her daughters Laura Trimpe and Karen Kleman and sons, Brian, Kevin, and Matthew Klaene.

Spring 2015

Join the SND Associate Community Perhaps you have heard about the Sisters of Notre Dame Associates and have wondered just who they are. SND Associates are men and women, married and single, who are called to share in the mission of Jesus Christ through the charism, spirituality, and ministry of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Associates make a non-vowed commitment to serve as partners with the Sisters of Notre Dame to extend the mission of Jesus in their own lives and family, work, and church communities. There are 435 SND Associates in the United States and 75 in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area. If you feel drawn to share in the SND Associate Community, we encourage you to schedule an inquiry meeting. For more information, click on “Associates” at or contact an SND Associate Director.

we are

SND Associate Directors Sr. Mary Rita Geoppinger (859) 291-2040


to act with


Sr. Mary Luann Bender (859) 630-6336

Justice Pilgrimage Los Angeles, CA June 3 - 9, 2015

Women ages 20-40 are invited to better understand our call to act with justice. To register for the Justice Pilgrimage, please contact Sr. Mary Ruth Lubbers at This includes visits to Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, CA Missions, Catholic Charities, Catholic Worker, Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels, Coalition for Family Harmony, the beach, Downtown LA, Homeboy Industries, Homegirl Café, and Museum of Tolerance. The Pulse • Spring 2015


“I can be proud, in Christ Jesus, of what I have done for God.” by Sr. Marie Joanne Na My name is Sr. Marie Joanne Na.

I am from Incheon, South Korea, home of the Sisters of Notre Dame Regina Pacis Province. Incheon is a coastal city located in Northwestern South Korea. It is the third largest city after Seoul and Busan, and is an international city with a Free Economic Zone. My home parish is St. Clara in Incheon. The Sisters of Notre Dame have a ministry there, so I have known the congegration since I was in middle school. I always thought the sisters looked happy, but as a young girl I never thought about becoming a sister. Then things changed.


I was a web designer at a credit card company; however, I was not satisfied with my career. I wanted to work for God, not for the companies or their owners. My father suffered from a cancer called multiple myeloma. He died on Christmas day in 2006. At that time, I truly realized God’s presence. After my father died, I met with Sr. Julina, whom I had known for 15 years.


When I met with sister, she told me she had been praying for my religious vocation. Because I felt the need to live a religious life after my father’s death, I joined the vocation gathering for a year. Finally, I decided I would formally enter the convent in 2007. Since I was still a graduate school student, my mother wanted me to first finish my studies. As soon as I received my master’s degree, I entered in 2008.

First Vows

After I entered the convent, I was in formation for three years and made my first vow in 2011. Sisters work at the provincial center for the first six months after their vows. We call this period “Benjamin” because those sisters are the youngest group of the community. Following my “Benjamin” time, I received my first ministry in 2012 as the director of a public relations office for one year.

Covington, KY

I arrived in the United States at the end of July in 2013. Living with the Covington Sisters of Notre Dame, I have learned a life that is filled with gratitude and joy. During my U.S. pilgrimage this past summer I learned the history of all the good things the sisters have been doing in Kentucky for over a century. I have also been learning English at Northern Kentucky University and Xavier University, and playing the organ at Mass at St. Joseph Heights. I have met many friends from different countries. This has been an amazing experience that has made me realize consecrated life is a symbol of the Kingdom of Heaven. I will return to Korea in July 2015, ready for my next adventure. No matter what it may be, I am happy with whatever I do because I am a Sister of Notre Dame. With the talent God gave me, I give my best in all I do for the congregation and others, always remembering my motto that “I can be proud, in Christ Jesus, of what I have done for God” (Jerusalem Bible, Romans 15:17).

The Pulse • Spring 2015

Sister, Sister In late November, Sr. Anita Marie Stacy (pictured, right) returned to Kentucky for a two-month home visit from the SND mission in Uganda. While she was flying over the Appalachian Mountains, preparing to land at CVG airport, Sr. Maria Francine Stacy (pictured, left) was driving south on I-75 from Dayton, OH, ready to reunite with her twin sister. From November to January, the two were often spotted hurrying down the halls of the Provincial Center, fitting in as many appointments, meetings, and happy reunions as possible. Between these meetings, Sr. Anita Marie and Sr. Maria Francine took a moment to speak about their respective ministries and the progress they have witnessed in those they serve.

Sr. Anita Marie:

I wanted to be a sister because I felt it was the deepest relationship I could have with Jesus. I felt that as a sister, I could best serve His people, especially those who are poor and have special needs. I have been a part of many blessings as a math and science teacher and now headteacher at the mission in Uganda, including seeing how the young women at Notre Dame Senior Secondary Academy grow in confidence of the talents God has given them. We are preparing students for the future by helping them succeed in areas such as math and science. Yet, we don’t just develop their academic potential. We also develop their spiritual self and help them realize how present God is in their lives. Ugandans typically see success as doing well on exams. We tell them success is how you are in front of God, which can include working hard so they do well on exams. When in poverty, academic success is a way to move forward, and it can seem like the only thing one should focus

on. Hopefully, what we give them at school prepares them in all facets of life.

For me, it’s important for our partners to know that our students really need them. Their parents often cannot afford to give them a good education, which continues the cycle of poverty. These children need help getting through the first step of becoming a student. They need to be taken by the hand and guided, like a child taking her first steps. It’s slow, but over time it works! After two decades in Uganda, we have seen the outcome of everyone’s hard work in what our graduates are now doing in their community. Several of the “old boys” from St. Julie School started a clinic, some of our graduates work in microfinance at Buseesa Community Development Centre, and many of the young women have become nurses and teachers. They have been empowered by the mission to make a difference in their own country and, slowly but surely, break the cycle of poverty.

Sr. Maria Francine:

I met the Sisters of Notre Dame when I was a student at Thomas More College. Not long after graduation, at the age of 22, I joined the community. After teaching English and Spanish for over 20 years, I began serving in Dayton, OH, as Director of Hispanic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The Hispanic Ministry serves many people in the Dayton area. We are available 24/7. While there is no typical week, I serve people as they come to my office each day, often helping them to fill out forms, find lawyers and doctors, enroll in school, and deal with personal and family issues. This is an active, apostolic mission because the work is of the Church, following in the tradition of the Apostles, who were sent to evangelize and bring others closer to Jesus. Through the Hispanic Ministry, I have seen positive change in the community as various people become involved in the Church,

The Pulse • Spring 2015

catechesis, prayer groups, and our Marriage Encounter program. Many people share their talents by acting out the Way of the Cross, dancing for the Virgin of Guadalupe, preparing food for congregational activities, and organizing festivals. We pray together and have seen miracles among us as God blesses us.

My goals for the ministry are that the Hispanic population would encounter Jesus in a personal relationship and that from this relationship, they would be active participants in the Church. Also that, in line with Hebrew Scriptures that attest to the worth of the immigrant, each immigrant feel welcomed and valued in this country. That, through their crosses, the immigrants may grow in faith. Finally, that our partners in mission understand that we serve one of the most vulnerable, abject populations in the U.S.


Uganda, East Africa Mission

20 Years 1995-2015

This July, we will celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Sisters of Notre Dame arrival in Uganda.

The planning process for the St. Julie Mission began in 1992 when Bishop Deogratias in Uganda reached out to the Sisters of Notre Dame. Even after three years of preparation, the July 1995 arrival of Sr. Mary Janet Stamm and Sr. Mary Delrita Glaser (pictured below) along with two California SND’s was an experience that opened and impacted the heart of the province in a way that still inspires us today.

When Srs. M. Janet and Delrita first arrived, the convent was not yet completed. The sisters slept in storage rooms for several months while their bedrooms were constructed. Food was scarce. There was no garden and the closest market took four hours to travel to in good weather. In fact, Bishop Deogratias delivered food to the sisters to assist them before the mission farm took off. There were no means of communication beyond face-to-face interaction, and the sisters did not know the local language.

While it seemed like the sisters were up against so much and had so little, what they did have greatly eased any hardship. The sisters had an immense trust in God, and they believed in God’s goodness and provident care, thus making that phrase more than just a motto. Their faith was evident in the letters they wrote home, which never hinted at the notion of “poor us.” Rather, they often asked, “What can we do for the people?” After some time and relationship-building, that question turned to, “What can we do with the people?”

A humble request from the people in Uganda developed into a true collaboration that has united the sisters, the students and local residents, as well as our many generous partners in mission, who also have great faith in the work God has set out for us in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.

Sr. M. Janet Sr. M. Delrita Sr. M. Janet

a Sr. M. Delrit

O’ Happy Day!

East Africa Conference

When the fall 2014 O-Level Examination results were published in January 2015, Notre Dame Academy Secondary School students had much to celebrate:

In December 2014 the Fifth African Conference assembled in Njiro, Arusha, East Africa. Participants included fifty-eight professed Sisters of Notre Dame from Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Mozambique; along with Sr. Mary Kristin Battles, Superior General, Sr. Mary Shauna Bankemper, Sr. Mary Ethel Parrott, representing the Covington province, and representatives from the other sponsoring provinces: Thousand Oaks, CA; Passo Fundo, Brazil; and Patna, India. The theme of the conference was SND Vision for Africa. Because the sisters in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya will soon form a new general delegation, much of the agenda focused on this exciting development.

NDA ranked 1st in the Kibaale District and 56th in Uganda (out of approximately 3,000 schools). 19 of the 36 NDA students, or 52%, scored at the top Division I level (only 10.4% of total national test-takers scored Division I).

The primary school students also had reason to celebrate. St. Julie School ranked third highest (out of approximately 500 district schools) in the Kibaale District on the Primary Leaving Examination. Our students earned 12 Division I, the best possible score, and 15 Division II scores.

Congratulations to the students and teachers on these amazing outcomes!


Engineers Without Borders

Representatives from Engineers Without Borders will travel to the SND Mission in Buseesa, Uganda this March. Their goal? To continue work on a biogas system that will provide fuel for cooking at the mission, as well as a water supply project that will provide water for the mission and neighboring community.

The Pulse • Spring 2015

Sponsored Ministries NOTRE Dame urban education center Special activities abound at the Notre Dame Urban Education Center thanks to the collaborative help of our friends in the community. Recently, NDUEC students have created awardwinning photo essays with Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington; crafted unique works of art with Sr. Mary Reina Arlinghaus, Wendy Fleury, and Sherri Kelley, and The Carnegie; expressed themselves through dance coached by students from Notre Dame Academy; and learned age-appropriate financial skills with representatives from PricewaterhouseCoopers, as pictured.

Julie Learning Center The fall 2014 issue of The Pulse featured students at Julie Learning Center integrating technology into the art of documentary storytelling. Since then, the students have delved even deeper into their gadgets.

Students deconstructed the towers and keyboards of desktop computers this winter in order to better understand the inner workings of the devices they are learning to utilize.

Notre Dame Academy Notre Dame Academy’s Science Research students took top honors at the Science and Engineering Fair of Northern Kentucky (SEFNK). SEFNK, now in its twentieth year, was held Sunday, March 1, at Northern Kentucky University. In addition to NDA students winning the school award for most points amassed, Notre Dame students took home the two top awards at the fair. NDA senior Cassidy Ryan (pictured, middle) earned First Place Overall, junior Kelsey Sucher (pictured, right) achieved Second Place Overall, and sophomore Paige Montfort (pictured, left) received Third Place Overall. Cassidy now receives an all-expenses-paid trip to compete in the International Science and Engineering Fair to be held in Pittsburgh in mid-May.

The Pulse • Spring 2015


Ministry in the mountains By Sr. Marge Mouch

Smart Moves at St. Charles Community

When I returned to the U.S. from Uganda in December 2013, I spent time discerning what my next ministry might entail. After much consideration, the call of the people of the Kentucky mountains reached out to me again, and the journey to a new ministry began.

I have settled in the small city of West Liberty in Morgan County, KY. I am a member of the Prince of Peace parish where I sing in the choir, teach the confirmation class, and visit with the homebound. In December 2014, I began meeting with the women of the church for faith-sharing at the SND house in Frenchburg, a perfect spot to share our lives as we reflect on women in the gospels. It has been so good! A wonderful opportunity for ministry also opened up for me at our SND-sponsored St. Claire Regional Medical Center. Two days a week, I travel to Morehead, KY, and am learning a new job as a Patient Support Navigator. The position is a new one. I am excited to share in the development of the process to help people in the community stay healthy. I visit many of the patients in the hospital and then follow up through weekly phone calls. The goal is to encourage each one to follow his/her plan of care. I network with the nurses, social workers, and other health providers to help the people to reach this goal.

Weekly, while I am in Morehead, I am able to spend time with Sr. Mary Judine Lambert, Sr. Mary Jeanne Frances Cleves, and Sr. Mary Juanelle Thiel, who live and work at St. Claire. Since I lived with these sisters from 2004-2013, it is surely a second home for me.

St. Charles Community and its therapy partner, RehabCare, are fostering the fullness of life by helping seniors to move in the right direction. In 2015, St. Charles Community will offer “Smart Moves,” a free lecture series that includes a variety of educational activities.

Smart Moves 2015 Schedule • May 21: Women’s Health • July 16: Men’s Health • September 17: Alzheimer’s Disease • November 19: Living with Arthritis Smart Moves lectures begin at 1:30 p.m. in The Charleston Room at St. Charles Community, 600 Farrell Drive, Ft. Wright, KY. For more information, please contact Maydie Conkin, MPT, at (859) 292-1661

Prince of Peace Church and December 2014 Saturday Women’s Sharing group. Back row, left to right: Judy Easterling, Pat Motley, Brenda Morgan, Monica Hall. Front row, left to right: Sue Miller, Sr. Marge Mouch. 9

The Pulse • Spring 2015


continuing a legacy of care at DCCH

Welcome, Sister Marina In January 2015, the Covington Sisters of Notre Dame welcomed Sr. Marina (pictured, below) from Our Lady of the Assumption Province in Patna, India. Sr. Marina is working toward her MBA at Xavier University in Cincinnati, OH. When asked how it feels to be so far from home, she said, “The sisters here are so loving toward me! I haven’t felt any homesickness yet because of the sisters’ love.”

We are blessed to have Sr. Marina’s company and we pray for her as she pursues her rigorous class schedule.

Sr. Jean Marie Hoffman and Mr. Bob Wilson

Since 1973, Sr. Jean Marie Hoffman has fostered the fullness of life for many at DCCH Center for Children and Families. With the commencement of her role as SND provincial councilor in summer 2014, Sr. Jean Marie stepped down as DCCH Executive Director in December 2014. Accepting the charge of Executive Director is Mr. Bob Wilson, who served DCCH as recreation director, a relief childcare provider, and most recently as a member of the Board of Directors. After his appointment, Sr. Jean Marie shared, “I am leaving DCCH in good hands with Bob as the Executive Director. He brings great talent and dedication to the mission of DCCH.” In reply, Mr. Wilson explained, “There is something about the power of the Sisters of Notre Dame and their mission that I don’t want to lose here. They built a legacy of care and support that I want to maintain, which is why I am so glad Sr. Jean Marie is staying on in an advisory role.”

Happy 100! Did you see on the SND Facebook page when Sr. Mary Paul Zembrodt (pictured, left) and Sr. Mary Sheila Felix (pictured, right) turned 100 on November 28 and January 15, respectively?

Thank you to everyone who joined us in celebration and sent birthday greetings to our beloved centenarians!

To view photos from the centenarian celebrations, visit

1601 Dixie Highway, Covington, KY 41011 • (859) 291-2040 •

Sisters of Notre Dame 4th of Ju ly Festival!

Festival proceeds benefit the Sisters of Notre Dame Ugand a & East Africa missions, SND urban education ministries, and SND retirement needs.

How can you partner with the

s of Notre


9 3 r d A n n u al th



Join us at the 93rd Annual


er ist

4 of July Festival F u n fo r t h e w h o Co

le family

v ington, KY

Sisters of Notre Dame festival? • Order Grand Raffle tickets They are just $1.00 / ticket! • Become a Festival Sponsor or Supporter We have giving levels to meet all budgets! • Place an ad or personalized message in the Festival Direct ory Promote your school, business, or organization, or send a personalized greeting! • Donate prizes and Silent Auction items This includes toys, gift cards, vacation rentals, housewares, sports items, jewelry, and antiques-anything you can think of! Regift to the Sisters! • Volunteer before or during the Festival You can even be a part of the 4th of July Market baking crew! • Attend the Festival The fun goes from 2:00-7:00 p.m. on

Saturday, July 4th! Bring the whole family!

Lear n more and dow nloa d festi val form s at www.sndk /fest ival. Than k you! $2,500



License No: 0000155

Grand Raffle Prizes

The Pulse | Spring 2015