School Sisters of Notre Dame
|Founded, Date/Place||Oct 24 1833, Neunberg Vorm Wald, Bavaria, Germany|
|Foundress||Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger|
|Canonical Status||Pontifical Right August 5, 1865|
|Motto||Veritas et Scientia|
|Charism||Education in its broadest sense-unity|
|Mission Statement||Transforming the world through Education|
|Purpose||To meet urgent needs|
|In Nigeria, we have four communities in three states||Akwa Ibom, Benue and Nasarawa States.|
Our Lady of Apostles, Girls College,
P.M.B 6, Akwanga Nasarawa State.
The Congregation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame
came to life when God's call found an answer in the hearts of people strong in faith, farseeing in vision and courageous in action. The Congregation continues today in the mysterious interaction of divine call and human response.
Our Charism flows from our spiritual heritage, especially the gifts of St. Augustine, who formed a community to be of one heart and one soul in God, seeing in the Trinity the basis, source and goal of all community.
The roots of this institute lie deep in the past, the Congregation traces its actual beginning to October 24, 1833, when Caroline Gerdinger and two other women began a common religious life in Neunburg Vorm Wald, Bavaria. Caroline took the name Mary Theresa of Jesus, became leader of the new community. Their action was inspired by an apostolic spirituality destined to shape their own lives and profoundly affect those of many others.
Caroline was born at Regensburg Stadtamhof, June 20th 1797 and was the only child of her parents, Mr. Willibald and Mrs. Mary Frances Gerhardinger. She was educated and aided by the Canonesses de Notre Dame. At the age of fifteen, she was already a certified teacher. She was a gifted educator whose enthusiasm and encouraging acceptance of the children soon made her a beloved teacher.
Mother Theresa of Jesus, who founded School Sisters of Notre Dame lived during turbulent times when political and religious circumstances stemming from the enlightenment and the French revolution in Germany had created, in 19th century, a desperate educational situation with far-reaching effects on Church and society. The rationalists' insistence on the primacy of reason weakened appreciation for Christian education.
The Church's possessions were confiscated and many convent schools were closed down. Many children, both with and without parents, did not have the opportunity to gain an education that would help them better their lives. The only formal education available was for boys. This made it impossible for young girls to receive basic education.
Inspired by an apostolic spirituality destined to shape their own lives and salvation of souls, Mother Theresa of Jesus and her companions under the spiritual guidance of Bishop Michael Wittermann moved on to help remedy this desperate situation of education which had remarkable effects on both the Church and society of Germany.
In their vision, the renewal of society depended on the Christian family, in which the mother, the first educator, had the key role. Thus, she chose the Christian education of girls as the vital service her religious community would offer. Thus our ministry is directed towards education which means "enabling persons to reach the fullness of their potential as individuals created in God's image and assisting them to direct their gifts towards building the earth". (Quotation from our constitution, "You Are Sent") Their first concern was for poor girls in small towns and villages, then the inward transformation of the Sisters to the image and likeness of the crucified Son of God.
Today, while many of us are teachers, we don't all work in the classroom. We also work in other areas of urgent need. Our mission is to educate others in all we do while spreading Jesus' message of love and unity throughout the world. We are facilitators of change and personal transformation especially to those who are poor. Thus our charism is one of unity through ministries of education of the poor especially women: Unity of the Sisters and unity of all in God, our community living, our common search for and doing God's will and our faithfulness to our evangelical counsels. In the spirit of our Congregation are an ardent desire as well as an apostolic zeal to know God and to do the will of God. We enable the poor especially girls to reach their fullest capacity for which God created them, bringing all to oneness in God.
Mother Theresa of Jesus governed the congregation as its General Super ior until her death in Munich on May 9th 1879 and on November 17th 1985 she was declared "BLESSED" by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Today, we have over two thousand (2000) Sisters under one central government. Our Generalate is in Rome. We are ministering in over thirty (30) countries on five continents viz: Europe, America, Asia, Oceania and Africa. Here in Africa, we are in the Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra-Leone. We have two (2) formation houses - the postulancy is in Kenya while the Novitiate is in Ghana. On August 28th, 2011, Feast of St. Augustine, the proclamation of the establishment of the Province of Africa was done by Sr. Mary Maher, our General Superior.
The first SSND that came to Nigeria was Sr. Melmarie Gentry of blessed memory from USA in 1974. She was invited by a Nigerian Priest whom she met in Rome. Sr. Melmarie's coming was an individual commitment but later, the Baltimore Province in the United States made a commitment to Nigeria. In this regard, many Sisters were sent to work on Nigerian soil. Later on, Nigerians were accepted into the congregation. Today, we have eighteen (18) Nigerian Sisters working in four (4) countries, three (3) studying in the United States, five (5) novices and seven (7) postulants.
The Sisters in Nigeria have immensely contributed to the Church in Nigeria through girl-child education, empowerment of women especially the poor through skills acquisition, rehabilitation and empowerment of ex-convicts. Also, we have helped in the formation of many priests through our teaching in both major and minor
Sisters in Perpetual Vows
- Sr. Abayol Mabel
- Sr. Abuh Mary Mayi-Ojo
- Sr. Anyanwu Stella
- Sr. Amimi Bernadette
- Sr. Blok Elizabeth
- Sr. Dagi Eunice
- Sr. Enang Dorthy
- Sr. Ezugwu Angela
- Sr. Ihiro Theodorah
- Sr. Onwuka Pricilla
- Sr. Olouh Regina
- Sr. Wakger Nentaweh
Number of Sisters in Temporary Vows – 5