Vision & Challenge | Fall 2014

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Vision Challenge &

A Publication of the Sisters of Notre Dame, California

Fall 2014 Vol. XXI No. 3

One Heart. One Hope. One Mission.

Sisters celebrate lifetimes of service at Jubilee page 4 Sister Mary Leanne marks her 25th Jubilee and completes her doctor of ministry degree


years in

California Dear Friends, In his apostolic exhortation The Joy of the Gospel, our Holy Father Pope Francis reminds us that “Joy adapts and changes, but it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty…when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved,” (Evangelium Gaudium, 6). We Sisters of Notre Dame have certainly experienced joy in the events of the past few months and in our anticipation of the future. We are pleased to share these events with you in this issue of Vision & Challenge. In July we celebrated the religious Jubilees of four of our sisters who have served God and God’s people for a combined 165 years. August found us rejoicing in the perpetual profession of Sister Mary Rosaria Park as she gave her definitive “Yes,” to God as a Sister of Notre Dame. We also recalled and celebrated the 90th anniversary of our province, which began when 11 pioneer Sisters of Notre Dame came to California in 1924. The photo at right is of Sister Mary Madelyn Ryan raising the flag over Notre Dame Academy in West Los Angeles in 1961, a proud moment in our province’s history. We have grown as a vital and fruitful community of women committed to the Gospel of Jesus—living joyfully into the future God intends for us. Thank you for being our partners in mission and in joy! Lovingly in Our Lady, Joyful Woman,

Sister Mary Anncarla Costello, SND


North American provinces to join by 2020 The four provinces of the Sisters of Notre Dame in the United States recently announced plans to come together as one by the year 2020 in a project called SNDUSA. This decision was made after many months of planning, careful analysis, consultation and discussion. The sisters’ first priority is to be active apostolic women religious free for mission in today’s world.

Currently the sisters maintain two provincial centers in Ohio, one in Kentucky and one in California. The four provinces have collaborated and shared resources and personnel for many years. “Although we have been working together for a long time, this decision to become one province has emerged as the best way to assure our ability to most effectively continue

our mission as we serve the people of God,” said Sister Mary Anncarla Costello, provincial superior in California. Based on data collected from each province, the sisters have set out several milestones toward becoming one. Those milestones include gatherings, special retreats and meetings among representatives from various leadership and administration

departments. As the sisters of the four provinces move toward this new way of being one, they feel a renewed national energy and enthusiasm for mission and their shared charism of proclaiming God’s goodness and provident care. All concerns and questions regarding SNDUSA may be directed to Sister Betty Mae Bienlein at

The Sisters of Notre Dame currently maintain four separate provinces in the United States (above). They have begun the process of combining into one province by the year 2020. (Inset from left) Provincial superiors Sister Mary Delores Gatliff (Toledo, Ohio, province), Sister Margaret Mary Gorman (Chardon, Ohio, province), Sister Mary Ethel Parrott (Covington, Kentucky, province), and Sister Mary Anncarla Costello (Thousand Oaks, California, province) gather for an SND-USA meeting. FALL 2014



Jubilee Continued from front cover...

Jubilee is celebrated each year by sisters who have reached a milestone in their lifetime of service to God. Four Sisters of Notre Dame marked their special anniversaries among family and friends this past July. We congratulate Sister Julie Marie Arriaga (below, from left, 40 years), Sister Mary Leanne Hubbard (25 years), Sister Margaret Mary Scott (40 years) and Sister Mary LaReina Kelly (50 years).


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Sister Mary Anita Hornack 1914-2014 80th Jubilee of Peace From the age of five, Sister Mary Anita Hornack knew she wanted to be a teacher. At the same time, she also felt called to be a “sister” for in her mind the two vocations were one. In 1931 she became an aspirant, and the following year she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame in Cleveland, Ohio. The following September Sister Mary Anita began fifty-six years of service as a teacher and an administrator. Sister would have celebrated her 80th Jubilee this past July.

Sister Mary Lynn Liederbach 1928-2014 65th Jubilee of Iron Sister Mary Lynn Liederbach had a passion for detention ministry. She made visits to local prisons and jails where she became friends with many of the inmates for whom she prayed daily. Sister became involved in “Get on the Bus”, a program which provides free transportation for children to visit their incarcerated parents for Mother’s or Father’s Day. She would have celebrated her 65th Jubilee this past July.

Sister Mary Rosaria makes perpetual vows Sister Mary Rosaria Park pronounced her perpetual vows as a Sister of Notre Dame in August during a Eucharistic liturgy at Notre Dame Center. The scriptural theme she chose for the day was based on the Gospel of John 2.1-11 (the wedding feast of Cana) and Mary’s words, “Do whatever He tells you.” A religious woman must progress through stages of formation and preparation before she makes her perpetual vows in a religious community. She must first complete postulancy, novitiate and temporary vows to assure that religious life is right for her. Therefore, it is with great joy that the Sisters of Notre Dame welcomed Sister Mary Rosaria into their congregation for life. A native of the Jeju province , South Korea, Sister Mary Rosaria responded to her call to serve God in California and began her initial formation in the community in 2005. She said she feels very much at home with the sisters in Thousand Oaks. During the ceremony she expressed gratitude to her parents and her family in South Korea for their support throughout her preparation. This fall she will continue her celebration with her family when she travels to Seoul. Sister Mary Rosaria is trained as a pre-school teacher and currently devotes her days to the children at Notre Dame Learning Center. She also serves as sacristan for the chapel at the provincial house using her creative gifts for flower arranging. The gift she brings to everyone she meets is one of joy and simplicity, reflective of her own deep faith and trust in God’s goodness and provident care.


easoned runners will agree that running a 5K is a lot like life. The distance is both long and short. You need stamina and endurance, but you also need speed and the drive to push ahead of the pack. In life the same thing is true. But where do you find the energy for both? How can you stay strong from day to day and still keep enough energy in reserve for the tough times? If you’re reading this, you’ve likely drawn on your faith in God to help you through the race of life. Perhaps at one time you have relied on a sister for spiritual guidance, strength or direction, as many do. This winter, we are proud to announce a new opportunity for friends of the Sisters of Notre Dame to join them in fellowship and fun, and to thank them for their steadfast love and unflagging prayers. The Sisters of Notre Dame in California are proud to announce their first-ever 5K race and one-mile fun run, dubbed the Nun Run. With the help of La Reina High School, the sisters are gathering friends, families, neighbors and runners of all shapes and sizes for a very special race on Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 8 a.m. The race course will start at Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks, circle around residential areas near

Hebrews 12:1

Janss road and finish at La Reina High School. The 5K race will include professional chip timing technology for more experienced runners as well as a one-mile track for walkers and participants who would rather take it slow. No matter what your ability level is, the Nun Run has a spot for you! Participants can register online beginning in September and stay updated via our race headquarters site at Supporters who can’t make it to the race will have many opportunities to support the sisters through race sponsorship, donations and volunteer positions.

Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us

Kindred Hearts Ministries delivers Notre Dame charism

Vision Challenge &

Vision & Challenge is published tri-annually by the Sisters of Notre Dame, California Province’s Office of Mission Advancement. Founded by Hilligonde Wolbring in Coesfeld, Germany, in 1850, the Sisters of Notre Dame are an international congregation of women religious who serve the Church in eighteen countries on five continents.

The Sisters of Notre Dame have long offered their help as ministers in local schools and parishes. They provide staff and faculty support, adult education, spiritual direction, retreats and more. Sister Marie Paul Grech began a project to bring those services under one umbrella, called Kindred Hearts Ministries. Sister Marie Paul spent over 20 years teaching and administering in Notre Dame high schools including Notre Dame Academy in West Los Angeles and Saint Bonaventure High School in Ventura. Sharing the spirit of her sisters was always important to her work. “How are we going to make our heritage and mission stay alive in the schools once we turn them over to lay administration?” she asked, ”That question has always been in the heart of what I do.” While at Notre Dame Academy Sister helped lead a series of weekend faculty retreats that focused on the charism of the sisters and how it affected daily teaching. She also served on national and international committees with the same goals. “As the sisters have moved from schools to parishes, we’ve seen what a hunger there is for spirituality there,” she said. For the past five years Sister has served as a parish minister at Saint Mel’s in Woodland Hills. Working there opened her eyes to the need among lay people for the sisters’ support. She said that while some parishes have priests and religious individuals available, others are not so lucky. “Members want to hear about scripture and pray with someone who can direct them,” she said, “We can share our charism with them, which is focused on God’s goodness and provident care. We are rooted in hope, and sometimes those things are hard to find in our fractured world.” Sister Marie Paul thinks it’s important to be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in her new undertaking. She is also grateful to have the prayers of her sisters, as she always does. “I think people respect the fact that we are authentic and collaborative, and we try to set an example for what it means to be a community that can count on each other,” she said. Ministry inquiries can be directed to Sister Marie Paul at khm@

The Sisters of Notre Dame have ministered in California for nintey years, bringing hope to the world through catechesis, pastoral ministry, education, health care, social ministries and missionary activity. For more information, visit Vision & Challenge Editorial Team Sister Mary Anncarla Costello Christiana Thomas Chloe Vieira Anne Interrante Sister Mary Regina Robbins Sister Betty Mae Bienlein Sister Mary Josanne Furey Sister Mary Rebekah Kennedy Sister Mary Francelia Klingshirn Sister Mary Antonine Manning Sister Mary Joan Schlotfeldt

Provincial Superior Director of Mission Advancement Communications Manager Administrative Associate SND SND SND SND SND SND SND

Contributors Sister Mary Lisa Megaffin Sister Valerie Marie Roxburgh Nicole Engler Janece Schaffer

SND SND Notre Dame Academy ‘09 Justice Pilgrimage Participant

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Givers by Association M

adalyn Horton was first called by God to serve the dying when she was a teenager. She pursued a career in healthcare, but didn’t answer that call until she met the Sisters of Notre Dame. “As someone dying of thirst searches for water, I searched for the Sisters of Notre Dame. I went to our church's office and asked, ‘Where's the closest convent?’ A parishioner overheard my conversation and told me that her daughter went to pre-school with the Sisters of Notre Dame. That was the beginning of the beginning,” Horton said. She made her Associate covenant in June of 2007 under the guidance of Sister Mary Lisa Megaffin and Sister Mary Lois Best. Sister Mary Lois was involved with end-of-life ministry and helped Horton begin her year-long training to become an end-of-life minister. The training covered everything from patient advocacy and ethics to funeral arranging and bereavement. Horton now works with Hospice of the Conejo and volunteers for No One Dies Alone (NODA) where she offers her company to dying individuals who have no other next of kin. “I truly believe that as painful and scary as dying can be, 8

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it can also be one of life’s most beautiful times,” Horton said. Her goal is always to offer support to the dying and their families and to help them resolve their personal issues and regrets before they’re gone. “The most rewarding thing is to see the love people have for one another,” she said. The Sisters of Notre Dame have offered their guidance and friendship to Horton throughout her ministry. Sometimes after difficult visits, she came to them for advice or an understanding ear. “Our Associates take on things that are over and above their own lives and careers,” said Sister Mary Bernadette Pendola. “They are drawn to a deeper spiritual life and we support them with our prayers.” Sister Mary Bernadette has experienced how challenging and personally rewarding it can be to minister to the sick and dying. She commends Horton on her compassionate ministry. “She [Horton] is a fine person and very sensitive and prayerful, and that’s perhaps where she draws her strength,” Sister said. Horton currently lives in Oxnard and belongs to Saint Jude Catholic Community in Westlake.

The Associates program familiarizes lay people with the spirit and charism of the sisters. What they do with it is up to them.


La Reina kicks off 50th year

Michael Bates named Head of School

Continued from opposite page...


evin McNamara first met the Sisters of Notre Dame when his daughter Caitlin started at La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks. He volunteered to help them with odd jobs like gardening around the convent, and soon became a go-to person they could call on. Though his daughter graduated in 2004, McNamara never stopped lending a hand for the sisters. “You have to be careful when you give the sisters your number,” he joked, “’Cause they’ll put you on speed dial.” McNamara’s daughter went on to study business at the University of Portland in Oregon and currently works for Microsoft. His daughter’s success and his experience with the Sisters of Notre Dame cemented McNamara’s belief in singlegender education. “I adamantly believe in that aspect of the sisters’ mission,” he said, “I think it’s important because women don’t often have the same opportunities that men do.” An Oak Park resident and lifelong practicing Catholic, McNamara spent 31 years as a detective supervisor with the Los Angeles Police Department before he retired in 2005. He made his Associate Covenant with the sisters in 2007. “As you get older and you have more time, you feel the need to do something more. You try to find your niche and your way to help,” he said, “People become Associates because they believe in the same mission that the Sisters of Notre Dame do. Education is a part of that mission and that’s what has been most important to me.” McNamara remains involved at La Reina High School and currently serves on the Capital Campaign Committee there. He also volunteers for the sisters wherever he is needed. For more information on the Associates program, please visit

Students and staff have welcomed a new Head of School into the fold at La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks, California, which kicked off its golden anniversary this year. Michael Bates, Ed.D., began as Head of School in July and has been busy preparing for a new academic year and a new chapter at La Reina. “We are looking to the future and looking to build,” he said. This is a particularly important year for La Reina, as they are launching a capital campaign to raise funds for major improvements to the campus including a state-of-the-art learning pavilion and performing arts center. Bates will be instrumental in helping the school reach its lofty goals. He earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership for Social Justice at Loyola Marymount University. He also holds a Master of Pastoral Studies degree from Loyola University Chicago and a Bachelor’s degree in History from Catholic University of America. Before he arrived at La Reina he served as assistant principal for student life at Louisville High School in Woodland Hills, California. Christopher Tolcher, M.D., chair of the La Reina Board of Trustees, praised Bates as a “man of great integrity, drive and faith.” Four of Bates’ most recent positions were for allgirls schools sponsored by women religious. “The world right now is so in need of excellent leadership, particularly women, to help us dialogue, collaborate and innovate for peace,” he said. He is confident that La Reina students can fulfill that need. FALL 2014



ver the summer, vocations directors from all four Sisters of Notre Dame US provinces led a group of seven women on a week-long trip to New York called the Justice Pilgrimage. The young women who attended had various relationships to the sisters. The goal of the Justice Pilgrimage was to expose Catholic women to pressing social justice issues and give them an opportunity to connect with the Sisters of Notre Dame. Some of the stops on the trip included the Museum of Tolerance, the Statue of Liberty, Catholic Worker House of Hospitality in Rochester and the United Nations Headquarters. At the UN they visited Sister Mary Jo Toll, the main representative there for the Sisters of Notre Dame. According to Sister Valerie Marie Roxburgh, director of vocation discernment and young adult outreach for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California, these were critical places for the group to explore. “I think a lot of young women today are very aware of global issues and they want to make a difference. [I


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wanted] them to realize they can be a part of that directly, if they’re called to advocacy. They don’t have to be a nurse or a teacher if that’s not what they’re called to do.” Sisters of Notre Dame serve in a variety of missions in the US and abroad. While many of them are nurses and teachers, they are also involved in social justice and public policy efforts. Catholic Worker House of Hospitality in Rochester, New York, was one of Sister Valerie’s favorite sights on the trip. There the group helped serve meals to homeless individuals from the area. The Catholic Worker movement was begun in 1933 by Dorothy Day and now includes over 213 communities that provide hospitality services. “That really had a profound impact on all of us,” Sister said. “From the outside it looked pretty beat up, but there was a beautiful spirit in the place. You could feel God’s love and warmth.” Sister Valerie regularly organizes group activities and worship opportunities for young adults. She can be reached at

Justice Pilgrimage participants took a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. (From top left) Ellie Wallen, Nicole Varnerin, Sister Teresita Richards, Sister Kate Hine, Melissa Olenik and Janece Schaffer. Photos courtesy of Janece Schaffer.


Notre Dame Academy alumna visits Uganda

Notre Dame Center Construction Update

Article and photo courtesy of Nicole Engler.

Project Manager Rick Mitchell (left) stands among the rubble with Sister Mary Karlynn Werth, house administrator at Notre Dame Center.

My name is Niki Engler and I’m a 2009 alumna of Notre Dame Academy in West Los Angeles, California. I graduated from Gonzaga University and am currently pursing a master’s degree in athletic training at the University of Arkansas. I spent six weeks in Uganda, Africa this past summer where I taught soccer coaches first aid and wound care, provided medical care for a regional and national level soccer tournament, and taught physical education classes to children in various villages across the country. When I found out that I was going to Uganda, I knew I had to visit our sister schools there! I remember raising money during high school through our “buck-a-stuff ” fundraisers to send to Notre Dame Academy Senior Secondary School and Saint Julie Model Primary School in Uganda. Although it was difficult to plan a trip to these schools because

of communication and transportation difficulties, I’m very happy that I was able to visit. The schools are located in the middle of a forest in the Kibaale region. The sisters were very welcoming and friendly. I really liked listening to their stories regarding their time in Uganda, the construction of the school, and their students. I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the teachers and the students, from the nursery kids to the secondary (high school) young women. My favorite part of the trip was teaching them physical education classes, which included a lot of soccer! Playing soccer with the students, even in the pouring rain, is something that I’ll never forget. The kids were so happy, energetic, and grateful. I was truly in awe of everyone there. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to visit my sister schools and would love to return some day!

When asked for an update on the renovations at Notre Dame Center, an anonymous scribe submitted the poem below to the editor with a nod to Clement Moore and a disclaimer that this author is not the most prolific of poets. ‘Twas the start of the new week when all through the house, the creatures who stirred there were dashing about, with hammers and saws and nails galore, they built walls and ceilings and tiled the new floor. The sisters looked on with attention and glee to see what the wondrous new building would be. The bedrooms and baths slowly took shape, with two by fours and plaster board all in the right place. The rising sun greets the workers each day, and Sister Mary Karlynn makes sure they don’t turn away. The project manager keeps his workers in tow, though actually all of them seem in the know. The Julie I wing will soon change its form from laundry and computers to six bedrooms warm, for dear sisters who have, in love, spent their lives, in teaching and assisting that others may thrive. The task should be finished by December we hope, a fine gift for the community which has patiently coped. And the prayer of our hearts is “Thank you, God, for being there, in providing for us, for our needs, for our care.” Bless all of those who have shared of their time, their talents, their treasure, they’ve all been so kind. And our return to them is our best gift, our prayer, in love and gratitude for the mission we share. FALL 2014


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The California Grapevine •• Several groups visited Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks over the summer including our German sisters and several sisters from the Chardon and Toledo, Ohio provinces who came for a retreat called Becoming Fire. •• Sister Mary Patricia Dorobek, Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation coordinator for all four provinces, came from Rome to California to present on her many projects. •• The Women’s Rotary Club of Oxnard requested an educational presentation on human trafficking from the sisters, which Sister Betty Mae Bienlein and Sister Valerie Marie Roxburgh happily provided in August. •• The California province celebrated its 90th anniversary on August 30. •• Sister Cristina Marie Buczkowski began teaching at Saint Mary Magdalen School in Camarillo this fall. She joins Sister Louise Marie Hlavac (Saint Rose of Lima School, Simi Valley), Sister Jane Marie McHugh (Saint Dominic School, Eagle Rock) and Sister Donna Marie Appert (Saint Helen School, Southgate) in their local teaching ministries. •• Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks is currently under construction. One major project in progress is the conversion of office space into a spiritual direction center.

•• Several Sisters of Notre Dame were present at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in downtown Los Angeles for a mass in recognition of immigrants to the United States, including unaccompanied children from Central America. •• Sister Jan Marie Villalobos temporarily returned to the California province. She works at the Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home, Center for Children and Families, in Fort Mitchell , Kentucky. •• Father Godfrey Tuhairwe, pastor at Ugandan Martyrs Parish in Buseesa, Uganda, visited the sisters in Thousand Oaks for a month and gave mission talks at several parishes. •• Sister Mary Teresita Keliher, Sister Mary Antonine Manning and Mayra Martinez, postulant with the Sisters of Notre Dame, will each assist an archdiocesan priest in the Teachers and Preachers program this year. The Teachers and Preachers program helps priests prepare homilies in their non-native language(s). •• La Reina High School admitted nine Chinese students for the 2013-2014 school year and welcomed 10 more Chinese students and one South Korean student for the 20142015 year. Ms. Robin Fontana is the Director of International Students and Support Services.