In the spirit of giving life to a mission, SND schools and ministries create opportunities to encounter God and to set the stage for transforming life experiences. One wonderful way to experience God is through art. It’s a visual application of human creativity and skill that sets off emotions and stirs awareness of the Holy Spirit abiding within.
Several SND schools recently completed art installations that have touched the hearts of all that pass through their halls. Simple, beautiful reminders that God’s goodness and enduring love are ever present to guide us and strengthen us so that we can share in the charism and mission of the Sisters.
Notre Dame Academy, Toledo has this lovely statue of Mary installed near their Performing Arts Center. Discovered by Sr. Mary Ann Culpert during a trip to Rome, this image of a young Mary evokes openness to God’s calling to an unbelievable vocation. Supporting a highly successful arts program, the Performing Arts Center hosts thousands of visitors each year who are reminded that they too may be called to embrace an extraordinary request from God. Mary’s gentle smile and countenance provide a wonderful welcome to the NDA Toledo Center.
In the Annunciation Chapel at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School in Chardon, OH there stands a new statue with deep roots to the past. Created and crafted at the Demetz Art Studio in Ortisei, a small village nestled in the Dolamites at the heart of the Italian Alps, the graceful wood image of Mary holding Jesus in her arms replicates a larger statue that sits in a peaceful garden on the NDCL campus. The original statue, created by the same Italian studio, was given to Cathedral Latin School in memory of John L. Mooney `44, a brave and selfless World War II hero who was killed in action within a year of joining the service. So beloved by all, a 12 inch version of the same statue serves as a gift to graduating seniors of Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School and as a special expression of gratitude to donors who join the NDCL Marian Society.
The Chapel’s statue is a legacy to a past, present and future generation of students. Standing as a beacon of tradition, devotion, fidelity, and discipleship, the statue is lovingly claimed today as NDCL’s Mary.
Art takes many forms, and in the case of Clearwater Central Catholic HS in FL, creativity is expressed in the calligraphy of Sister Joanne Zeitz, SND. Captured in flowing letters and artistic script, the legacy of the SND surrounds the Coesfeld Cross installed in 2016 on a special hall in the high school. Sr. Joanne taught at Notre Dame College’s Marian Art Studio for many years before leaving in 1986 to minister at Notre Dame Academy in Middleburg, VA and then at the Provincial Health Care Center in Chardon, OH. Sister is now retired and living at the Chardon Provincial Center – though she is called into action for special projects like the Legacy Wall at CCCHS. One other very special project of Sr. Joanne’s is enjoyed by the thousands who visit John F. Kennedy Library and Museum each year. In 1964, Sr. Joanne created a memorial scroll, lettered in green and gold, for Jacqueline Kennedy. The scroll includes bible passages used in Kennedy’s eulogy and was presented to the fallen president’s family by Notre Dame College students on April 2, 1964. Two legacy stories captured in a beautiful art form.The statue of Our Lady of Peace that is in residence in Rosa Mystica Hall at Notre Dame Academy in Los Angeles, California is a stunning piece of artwork. Hand carved in Rome, the statue was a gift from the parents of the senior class of 2016 out of gratitude and appreciation to NDA’s faculty and staff for four years of dedication and commitment to their daughters. The gentle yet inspiring Our Lady of Peace resides next to the piano in the foyer of Rosa Mystica Hall and directly across from the tribute to the Sisters of Notre Dame. This large-framed display proudly features the pictures of every principal who led either Notre Dame Academy or Notre Dame Academy Elementary throughout the years. The display also lists the names of every Sister of Notre Dame who has worked at the schools. The foyer art pays homage to both Mary our Blessed Mother and to the Sisters of Notre Dame for their unwavering love, devotion and dedication to educational excellence.