The Charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame is a deep experience of God's goodness and provident care. In religious congregations, this is the distinct spirit that directs and guides all members. In essence, it is a gift of the Holy Spirit for the sake of the Church and part of the living legacy passed down from the foundress to each sister. The SND Charism is a gift given to all who are a part of our educational ministries.
In fact, if received and responded to, radical transformation is precisely what a Charism has the potential of accomplishing as a person becomes publicly, consciously, perpetually committed to following Jesus more closely in this fashion and with these people and for this purpose…*
A Charism lives in the people who receive it and though in can be suggested and identified in core documents, such texts are insufficient in communicating the living dynamism.
In fact…if all the documents of a community with a genuine Charism were destroyed but its member were to survive, others would still be able to grasp the full import of the Charism through the living members.*
Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, Charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of all and to the needs of the world.**
The Charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame is rooted in prayer and contemplation and marked by the following:
- A deep experience of the goodness of God
- The reality of God’s provident love and care for each person
- A spirit of joyful simplicity and trust
- Love and devotion to Our Lady
- A living dynamism enriched by the creative fidelity of each sister
The term “charism” emerged from the theological and ecclesial discussions during the Second Vatican Council. Pope Paul VI was the first to use the word “charisms” officially in relation to religious life in his apostolic exhortation, on the renewal and adaptation of religious life.
*Sr. Elizabeth McDonough, O.P.
**Catechism of the Catholic Church