The vision and generosity of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland stems from its mission to increase the community’s ability to improve the lives of people living in poverty. Because of the awareness of the present reality of Congregations of women religious, the Foundation created a new initiative this year, the Generative Spirit Initiative, as a response to develop future leaders and to sustain the ministries where the sisters have had a tremendous impact.
Ten young adults selected from seven different Catholic schools in Northeast Ohio and paired with ten Catholic sisters representing four Congregations make up the inaugural group. One of their major responsibilities is to develop and implement a project that enhances their school’s mission
Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School, sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame, is one of the participating schools. The unique mission integration project, An Intergenerational Book Club, gives witness to the SND national mission priority to address those on the margins of society. Small though this step may be, the leaders hope this experience will serve as a catalyst for group action.
Three NDCL teachers, Charles Bohnak, Michalena Mezzopera, and Molly Schneider, with the support of their mentors, Sisters Rose Falorio, Lisette Petelin, and Jacquelyn Gusdane, designed the project. It includes three generations on the Notre Dame Education Center campus: NDCL students, young adult teachers, and senior residents from Notre Dame Village (NDV).
On September 25th, approximately 17 members attended the first of four hour-long sessions. They will read, reflect on and discuss the action-packed novel Refugee, a New York Times Bestseller by Alan Gratz. Though a fictional account, the novel draws on actual life experiences of refugee families from Nazi Germany, Cuba in 1994, and Aleppo, Syria in 2015.
The topic is both timely because of the refugee crisis facing our world today and timeless as the families in the novel exhibit courage, survival, and the quest for home. The reading and interaction of those in the book club will expand their understanding and compassion for refugees and inspire them to reach out in service to local refugees or refugee organizations. New opportunities like this one can only nurture intergenerational relationships in a setting where everyone speaks freely and experiences diverse views that are heard and honored with genuine respect.