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Vision C hallenge &

A Publication of the Sisters of Notre Dame, California

Sisters and co-workers advocate for marginalized groups at State Capitol Page 9

Fall 2013 Volume XX No. 3

Letter from the Editor... This summer, we celebrated with our six jubilarians more than 300 years of Dear dedicated service to life in Christ. Joining them was Sister Mary Grace Leung, Readers, celebrating her first profession, and the beginning of her life as a Sister of Notre Dame. I hope you will take a moment to read about the jubilarians’ service to Christ and the Church on page four of this newsletter. Together these women have had a profound impact on the lives of many thousands of people and plan to continue their ministries to reach many thousands more. While we talk often in the Vision & Challenge about the impact of our sisters in direct service to the people of God, working behind the scenes are many sisters who help make these active ministries possible. They serve in unpaid positions of service to the Church, ministering to the needs of the congregation as well as the people of God.

Sisters in unpaid ministries: Ministry Number of Sisters Service to the province 8 Service to the international congregation in Rome 2 Service to the people in the Ugandan Mission 2 Volunteer ministries 2 Eldercare 2

Sisters of Notre Dame receive no operating subsidy from the Catholic Church and as such, we rely on the generous support of our community to continue these unpaid outreach ministries. Standing in St. Julie’s Church last July, cheering with the crowd, I was struck not only by the sisters’ beautiful commitment to religious life, but also by the deep love for the sisters that filled the church. I hope you will join me this year in supporting the sisters’ unpaid ministries, helping us maintain the vitality of our mission to serve God and the human family. To keep up with the latest news on our ministries, please check in with us on our newly redesigned website,, where we always post the latest news and events as well as spiritual inspiration from our sisters.

Sincerely, Christiana Thomas Director of Mission Advancement


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Celebrations... Sister Mary Francelia Klingshirn 75th Jubilee of Joy

s a member of the Cleveland province, A Sister Mary Francelia Klingshirn taught at the Demonstration School of the Catholic University of America. She transferred to California in 1963, where her education ministry included teaching and serving as principal in schools including Sacred Heart in Ventura. As Provincial Superior from 1974 to 1980, Sister guided the SND California Province through years of transition at Notre Dame Center. Before retiring, she taught English as a second language. Sister spends her days praying, doing tasks around the convent and making floral arrangements. FALL 2013


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Sister Mary Josanne Furey


65th Iron Jubilee

ister Mary Josanne Furey came to the Sisters of Notre Dame from Toledo, Ohio. As a lay woman, Sister attended Notre Dame College. In 1945 she entered the community and taught math, chemistry and Latin in Cleveland at Notre Dame Academy, St. Boniface High School and Regina High School. In 1963 Sister was sent to California where she taught at Notre Dame Academy in West Los Angeles. Sister taught at La Reina High School from 1966 to 1970 and served as principal from 1970 to 1983. She taught at St. Bonaventure High School from 1984 to 2007, then retired from classroom teaching. Now Sister works in the Office of Province Finance. In her free time, she enjoys community life, reading and assembling puzzles.


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Sister Mary Donnamay Weigler


65th Iron Jubilee

ister Mary Donnamay Weigler heard God’s call as a young girl. She lived at the Notre Dame Provincial House in Cleveland, Ohio during high school in preparation for her formation after graduation. Sister taught primary school for many years in Cleveland. She found great joy in music and shared that gift with the SND Community and with others through her ministry. Sister later moved to California and continued teaching. She retired and served as treasurer for the Notre Dame Center community and played the organ for the sisters. Earlier this year Sister became a resident at Mary Health of the Sick Convalescent Hospital in Newbury Park, California. She reads the newspaper faithfully every day. The news becomes part of her prayer intentions.

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Sister Mary Teresita Keliher


50th Golden Jubilee

ister Mary Teresita Keliher grew up in Los Angeles enjoying the great outdoors with her family of seven. Her relationship with the Sisters of Notre Dame began in elementary school and continued at Notre Dame Academy. In February of her senior year she entered the community to become a Sister of Notre Dame. She taught primary school in Los Angeles. She also taught religious education, helping children who could not attend Catholic school to realize Jesus’ love for them. Sister now serves in pastoral ministry, guiding adults on their journey to becoming Catholic Christians and empowering many to grow spiritually. She is grateful to the children and adults who have welcomed her into their lives and encouraged her faith journey.

Sister Emilie Ann Palladino 50th Golden Jubilee

A province, God called Sister Emilie Ann Palladino to California in 1980. She fter many happy years as a Sister of Notre Dame in the Cleveland, Ohio

attended Notre Dame Academy and Notre Dame College in Cleveland, and grew to admire the authenticity and dedication of the sisters. She served in urban and suburban high schools in Cleveland. During those years, Sister taught at the SND school in Rome and grew professionally through National Endowment for the Humanities grants. Her ministry to high school students continued in California. She earned an advanced credential in adult religious formation to help Catholic adults grow in their faith lives. For the last sixteen years, she has been in adult pastoral ministry at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Encino, California.

Sister Anna Maria Vasquez 40th Ruby Jubilee

A Academy in 1966 she worked for several years as a secretary in Santa fter Sister Anna Maria Vasquez graduated from Notre Dame

Monica and Century City. In 1970 she answered God’s call to become a Sister of Notre Dame. She taught shorthand, typing, Spanish, Scripture and religion classes. In 2011, she had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Sister also served as chair of the Religion Department at Notre Dame Academy, and moderated the HOPE and Justice Clubs there. She is grateful to be part of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RICA) team at St. Mel Parish in Woodland Hills, California. FALL 2013


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Sister Mary Grace Leung First Profession


ister Mary Grace Leung’s work at ABC Television and the Hilton Hotel Corporation brought her to Los Angeles from New York City. She was baptized into the Catholic Christian faith family in 2006. The Holy Spirit called her to become a sister in 2007, the year she met Sister Valerie Marie Roxburgh. Sister Valerie Marie accompanied Sister Mary Grace when her discernment journey began in 2009. In 2013 Sister Mary Grace earned a Master’s degree in pastoral ministry from St. John’s Seminary. Sister expressed gratitude and humility as she made her first vows as a Sister of Notre Dame at Saint Julie Billiart Church in Newbury park in August.

Sister Mary Angela Lee and Sister Mary John Shin Perpetual Professions

With great joy, on August 17, 2013, Sister Mary John Shin (left) and Sister Mary Angela Lee pronounced their commitment to God as consecrated women religious through perpetual vows and full incorporation into the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Rev. James Stehly presided at the Eucharistic liturgy which was followed by a festive luncheon. Since the event coincided with the general visitation of the province, Sister Mary Kristin Battles, superior general, received the vows and Sister Mary Shauna Bankemper, general councilor, was also present. Having made vows in Korea in another religious community, Sister Mary John and Sister Mary Angela felt a new call to Notre Dame. In their words of gratitude to the sisters, it was again obvious that, after much searching for a religious community, they both experienced an “at homeness” with the charism, spirit and mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame. Over the past eight years they have identified with and embraced key aspects of our life: the spirituality of St. Julie Billiart and of our foundress, Sister Mary Aloysia; apostolic zeal rooted in contemplation and community prayer, devotion to the Eucharist, to Our Lady, and a rich community life. 6

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During the month of September both sisters traveled to South Korea to continue their celebration with family and friends. A highlight for them was being met at the airport by our Korean SND’s and spending several days at the provincial center in Incheon, where they experienced the blessings of our international community. At present Sister Mary John ministers as a chaplain at Hollywood-Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles and assists at Notre Dame Center. Sister Mary Angela serves as a nurse at the same hospital and lives with our sisters at St. Dominic Convent in Eagle Rock. Indeed we are blessed to have these sisters with us.

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Superior General visits the province The Sisters of Notre Dame recently welcomed superior general Sister Mary Kristin Battles and assistant general Sister Mary Shauna Bankemper to the California province of the congregation. Every six years members of the general government of the Sisters of Notre Dame make an official visit to each unit of the Congregation. This official visit, called General Visitation, took place in the California province from July 25 through August 18, 2013.

Today people are very busy, but they want to be connected to something they can make a difference in– something that gives their life meaning,” Sister Mary Kristin Battles Superior General

During the visitation Sister Mary Kristin and Sister

Mary Shauna met with the provincial leadership team and department personnel from various province departments and groups. These meetings gave an excellent profile of the province and provided information about strategic planning for the future. Encouragement, support, camaraderie and a sense of unity with the larger congregation were some of the fruits of the time spent together. As Sisters Mary Kristin and Shauna noted, “It’s about seeing the possible, liberating potential in each place, and it gives us a sense of the whole.” Speaking for the Sisters, provincial superior Sister Mary Anncarla Costello added, “New eyes are looking at what we are very familiar with. The result is always a renewal of life in the province,” Besides the many meetings there were less formal gatherings with SND Associates and dinners at each of the convents in Southern California. These gatherings provided opportunities for informal sharing as well. “Today people are very busy, but they want to be connected to something they can make a difference in– something that gives their life meaning,”

Superior General Sister Mary Kristin Battles giving a presentation at the provincial house in Thousand Oaks, California.

Sister Mary Kristin said. When the visit came to a close, all wished Sister well on the rest of her trip. “It’s a special blessing to have her with us. We are her home province. It excites us and makes us proud of the leadership she is providing for the whole congregation,” said Sister Mary Anncarla. Visitation concluded with the perpetual profession of vows of Sister Mary John Shin and Sister Mary Angela Lee. This joyous occasion was the perfect ending of four gracefilled weeks.

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Notes from Uganda ders!

Hi V&C Rea

day, Sister n u S y r a M of Sister lie This picture nd I was taken at St. Ju are rie a Therese Ma sa. Both young women usee School in B sed sisters. s e f o r p y r a r to collect s k n a tempo t r e t a re large w Behind us a the roof. There is no om , so rain water fr er available in the area t wat supply. r e t a w r governmen u o e help ensur these tanks ou! God bless y


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Sixth grade class raises thousands for mission Since she returned from Uganda, Africa in 2005, Sister Jane Marie McHugh has motivated her students at Saint Dominic School in Eagle Rock, California, to raise thousands of dollars for the ongoing mission in Buseesa, Uganda. Every year she explains to her class of sixth graders that, as citizens of the world, they are responsible for each other. She tells them stories about her time in Uganda and paints a picture for them of what life is like for the students there. “They love it,” Sister Jane said, “They love helping and they know that it’s their obligation as brothers and sisters in Christ to help those less fortunate than they are.” The money raised goes to Saint Julie Model Primary Boarding School, which serves kindergarten through seventh grade students in the Kibaale District of Uganda. The Kibaale District has no paved roads, and electricity is only available in some areas. “Our goal is to train Catholic leaders for the Kibaale District,” said Sister Jane. Some of the first students who attended Saint Julie School are now teachers there. Others have gone on to college, seminary, or have become Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister Jane hopes that these individuals will help to uplift the district the long run. Our goal is to in Last school year alone, train leaders Sister Jane’s students over $800 for the for the Kibaale raised mission. That money can district.” be used for purchasing hoes for the garden Sister Jane Marie McHugh where food is grown for the Saint Julie School, for textbooks, or for paying the matrons, cooks, teachers and workers on the property. “Outside donors are where the money comes from,” said Sister Jane.

In 1992 the Sisters of Notre Dame were invited by the Bishop of the Diocese of Hoima in Uganda to go to the Kibaale District to raise the standard of education and to train for Catholic leadership there. Sister Jane was in the first group of four Sisters of Notre Dame to travel to Uganda. When she arrived in 1995, the convent buildings were unfinished and the school was still in the future planning stage. The sisters taught classes at the local government school for a year and a half before opening their own primary school. “What we have been able to do there is quite a great accomplishment on the part of the sisters, our donors and collaborators,” Sister Jane said. The differences between the classrooms at Saint Julie School and Saint Dominic School are stark. “Here I use a Smart Board, iPads, and computers. I need to integrate all of that in order to keep the students interested. In Buseesa it’s just me and a chalkboard and whatever I can make myself,” Sister Jane said. She shows her students at Saint Dominic School a photo of the children at Saint Julie School and sometimes sends a photo of her class to Uganda. Sister Jane divides the students into two teams, and incentivizes the project by rewarding the group that raises the most money. This year, Sister Jane and her class are also organizing a school-wide service project for the mission. This will take the form of a weekly bake sale and a jeans and accessories day. Even though Sister Jane is no longer stationed in Uganda, she has certainly not forgotten her beloved children of Buseesa.

For more information, and to support the mission in Uganda, go to FALL 2013


Heart Matter The

of the

Retreat participants (from left) Beth Krevitz, Mary Helen Ochoa, Janelle Rodriguez, Sister Donna Marie Appert, Sister Kathleen Hine, Sister Valerie Marie Roxburgh, and Lety Perez.

Ten women, varying in age from 19 to 49, visited the Sisters of Notre Dame provincial house in Thousand Oaks on a sunny weekend in September for a vocation retreat titled “Heart of the Matter.” Their mutual curiosity about religious life brought them together for two days of prayer, service and interaction with the Sisters of Notre Dame. There were sessions throughout the weekend on apostolic religious life, as it is lived out by the Sisters of Notre Dame. “I think it gave them an opportunity to really see and understand what apostolic religious life is all about,” said Sister Valerie Marie Roxburgh, Director of Vocation Discernment and Young Adult Outreach for the Sisters of Notre Dame. Sister Valerie Marie co-coordinated the retreat with Sister Kathleen Hine, Young Adult/Vocation Discernment Director for the Chardon Province. They wanted the retreat to help discerners understand that apostolic religious life is about balance. “It’s a balance of contemplation and action, in service to the Church, responding to the needs of our time, as participants in the mission of Jesus,” Sister Valerie Marie said. To drive the message home, Sister Valerie Marie organized a trip to Saint Julie Billiart Church in Newbury Park, where the women helped serve a meal to limited income and homeless individuals from the area. “I really enjoyed it,” said Mayra Martinez, a retreat participant recently approved as a candidate for formation with the Sisters of Notre Dame. Mayra began her discernment process in 2009 when she met Sister Valerie Marie while working as a youth minister at Saint Catherine of Siena. At the retreat, she met other women considering religious life. “It was awesome to me to be there to help guide them to the next step and offer them help. I know what it’s like to be in their place,” she said. Sister Valerie Maire will host three other vocation retreats throughout the year. Contact her at for more information.

Cover Story To help keep health care affordable, sisters join peaceful demonstration

Vision &Challenge Vision & Challenge is published three times a year 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 seventeen countries on six continents. The Sisters of Notre Dame have ministered in California for over eighty years, bringing hope to the world through catechesis, pastoral ministry, education, health care, social ministries, and missionary activity. For more information, visit

Sisters Betty Mae Bienlein (cover photo center) and Mary Judeen Julier (cover photo left), a chaplain at California Hospital in Los Angeles, traveled to Sacramento in June to protest $1 billion cuts to Medi-Cal proposed by Governor Jerry Brown. The sisters joined thousands of other protestors on the west lawn of the State Capitol at the “We Are Medi-Cal” rally put on by a coalition of medical organizations including Anthem Blue Cross, the California Medical Association (CMA) and Dignity Health. “They had us chanting ‘Stop those cuts! Stop those cuts!’” said Sister Betty Mae. “If a congressman came out of the capitol, everyone would get excited.” Sister Betty Mae explained that cuts to the Medi-Cal budget would affect people who can’t afford medical care, especially women, children and the elderly. “The state simply cannot continue to balance the budget on the backs of California’s poorest and most vulnerable patients,” said CMA President Paul R. Phinney, M.D. in a press release by the coalition. The Sisters of Notre Dame have historically worked to ensure the wellbeing of marginalized groups. One of their chapter directives is to “commit to a congregation-wide focus on women, children and the elderly.” “It’s very important to be aware of folks on the margins,” Sister Betty Mae said.

Vision & Challenge Editorial Team Sister Mary Anncarla Costello Christiana Thomas Chloe Vieira Anne Interrante Sister Betty Mae Bienlein Sister Mary Josanne Furey Sister Mary Rebekah Kennedy Sister Mary Francelia Klingshirn Sister Mary Antonine Manning Sister Mary Regina Robbins Sister Mary Joan Schlotfeldt

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

Contributors Sister Mary Kristin Battles Sister Jane Marie McHugh Sister Mary Lisa Megaffin Sister Mary Emilie Ann Palladino Sister Valerie Marie Roxburgh Sister Marie So-Wha Kwak Sister Mary Colette Theobald

Superior General SND SND SND SND SND SND

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Sisters of Notre Dame 1776 Hendrix Avenue Thousand Oaks, CA 91360 Return Services Requested

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Give the Gift of Prayer The Sisters of Notre Dame will remember your prayer requests during daily community prayers at Notre Dame Center in Thousand Oaks, California.

To enroll a loved one in the Gift of Prayer Program or the Memorial Program, please call Anne Interrante in the Office of Mission Advancement at (805) 496-3243 x. 460 or email her at

“You will find in prayer the strength to sustain you on your journey.� Saint Julie Billiart

Vision & Challenge | Fall 2013  

The Vision & Challenge newsletter is published tri-annually by the Sisters of Notre Dame in California.

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