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BECOMING A SISTER / Frequently Asked Questions

Answers from Sister Kathy Jager

1. What do you mean by being “called?”
One thing I say to those with whom I meet is that most of us will not have God speaking to us through a burning bush or knocking us off our horse! Our call is not nearly as dramatic. It’s a gentle invitation that comes and goes in our life. God ‘calls’ us through events and people, through our gifts and talents, through life’s experiences and our deepest desires. Have you ever said to yourself: “I want to be more” or “I want to give more”? If your hour of parish ministry or community service more life-giving than your 40-hour work week? Is you’ve answered YES, these could be the “gentle invitations” you may want to pursue.

2. What should I do if I feel I’m being called to religious life?
You can begin by contacting a Sister you know who will introduce you to her community’s vocation director. Or you can contact me, the vocation director for the School Sisters of Notre Dame. My email is kjager@ssndba.org. I would be happy to meet with you to answer your questions and help discern your next step. You will learn more about discernment and religious life as well as be invited to visit our community. You may also want to contact other religious communities to make a better, more informed decision. In meeting the sisters, you will come to know if religious life is a good “fit” for you. If it is, you are in for a wonderful life, I can assure you!

3. Who are the School Sisters of Notre Dame?
We are an international, apostolic (in service to others) congregation of over 4,000 vowed women religious. Founded in Germany by Blessed Theresa of Jesus, we currently serve in over 30 countries world-wide. Divided into geographic areas called provinces, I belong to the Baltimore province which, comprised of 350 Sisters, extends from New Jersey to Florida with missionaries in Latin America and Africa, also.

4. Since you have the word “School” in your name, does everyone have to teach?
When our congregation first began, Blessed Theresa felt that a critical need at that time was the education of girls – particularly those who were poor or those who had no access to education. She felt that by educating girls, both in academics and in faith, these girls would, in turn, have a strong influence on their families as mothers later on. This, Mother Theresa believed, was the contribution that SSNDs could make in helping to build God’s Kingdom and in transforming society. We soon realized that God’s people had many needs, and we began to diversify our ministries early on. Today, we say that we are “educators in all that we do” helping to foster the God-given potential that is in each person. That’s what any good educator does: enables others to find the gifts and talents already in them and to use those gifts and talents to make the world a better place. So, no, not everyone has to teach in a formal classroom, but a number of us still do. But we are all “educators” as we respond to society’s needs and the call of the Gospel today, still focusing our ministerial efforts with women, youth, and those who are poor, just as Blessed Theresa did. You will find School Sisters today not only in formal classroom teaching, but also in social service and parish ministries, health care services, campus ministry and retreat work, direct service programs with those who are poor, and social justice advocacy.

Last updated: Thursday, 17 February, 2005 11:18 PM

School Sisters of Notre Dame, Baltimore Province
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