Sister Ann Carmel Badalamente

Sister Ann Carmel Badalamente says that her first exposure to the Notre Dame Sisters was as a student at Sacred Heart Elementary School in downtown San Jose and later, at Notre Dame High School. When several of her friends were entering the convent after high school, she chose instead to work in the family grocery

Read more ›

Sister Joan (Marie Estelle) Bernhart

Joan Bernhart’s mother remembered Joan saying in fifth or sixth grade, “I’m going to be a Sister.” As a student at Notre Dame High School, San José, Joan admired Sisters who were young, vibrant and dynamic teachers with a sense of humor and freedom of spirit. She entered the postulate at Saratoga after graduating from

Read more ›

Sister Yvonne (Marie Denise) Bondi

As Yvonne remembers it, Sisters had always been a part of her life. As a child, Yvonne and her brother John went to Sacred Heart School and later she attended Notre Dame High School, both in San Jose. As she says, “The Sisters inspired me. They projected happiness and were always kind.” While these traits

Read more ›

Sister Gertrude (Mary Joachim) Boracca

Gertrude Boracca's home was in the midst of apple orchards. She attended Watsonville High School and after graduation, with the goal of becoming a P.E. teacher, she enrolled at Hartnell College in Salinas, Cal. It was there that one of the teachers told her that the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur were looking for

Read more ›

Sister Jeanette (Marie Pierre) Braun

Reflecting on her sixty-plus years as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, Sister Jeanette (Marie Pierre) Braun sees a common thread that has been woven through all of her many ministries. Her loving spirit of welcome was a gift that she received from her parents while growing up with her four brothers. There was

Read more ›

Sister Carolyn (Mary Charles) Buhs

Carolyn Buhs made her first contact with Notre Dame at St. Dunstan School, Millbrae., Calif. Her fourth grade teacher, Sister Marie Joseph, became a lifelong friend and mentor. The story of then "Blessed" Julie Billiart made a deep impression. To Carolyn, Julie became a real person and influential in her choice to enter the congregation.

Read more ›

Sister Marie Annette Burkart

Looking back, Sister Marie Annette finds herself filled with a twofold gratitude – to God and to Notre Dame. As she expresses it: “The Sisters of Notre Dame have gifted me and invited me to serve in a variety of ways – as an educator, liturgist, vocation minister, chaplain and spiritual director. I never dreamed

Read more ›

Sister Joan (Rosemary) Burke

It is no surprise that Sister Joan Burke speaks of the globe as “my village.” She has worked in different parts of Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and Kenya) for most of her decades as an SNDdeN. Where she has been and what she has done is quite incredible. It all began in a

Read more ›

Sister Kathryn Camacho

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens." These words from Ecclesiastes hold significance for Kathryn Camacho because her journey to become Sister Kathryn Camacho, SNDdeN, did not follow the traditional roadmap. It was a decision that needed its own time. Born and raised in Sacramento, California, Kathryn

Read more ›

Sister June (Andrew) Canoles (1929-2020)

Sister June Delight Canoles was born June 21, 1929. She loved life, adventure, people, humor, teaching and entertaining. In her early days in community, she excelled as a first-grade teacher. Her community remembers how her fun ways kept them all sane. As a principal, she was full of surprises-even riding a motorcycle into a student

Read more ›

Sister Natalia (Mary Benigna) Carrasco

From the time she was young, Natalia Carrasco knew she had a vocation. “I felt my call when I was about 12,” she says. “From that time, I always knew I wanted to become a religious.” Natalia had been taught by the Sisters of the Holy Cross in elementary school in San Francisco. Later, Natalia

Read more ›

Sister Martin de Porres Coleman

When Irma graduated from Notre Dame High School in Alameda, she knew one thing for certain—she wanted to teach music.  She also liked the Sisters who had taught her and thought that maybe becoming a Sister was a path she should try. Being only 17 years of age at graduation, her father encouraged her to

Read more ›

Meet Sister Phyllis (Julie Patrice) Cook

While inspired by St. Julie Billiart’s simplicity and loving spirit, Phyllis Cook wasn't attracted to religious life, herself.. “I’m not the type!” she exclaimed to people who thought she might be “Sister material.” But when Phyllis started looking more closely at the Sisters who taught at the College of Notre Dame where she was a

Read more ›

Sister Georgianna Coonis

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not evil, to give you a future and hope. -Jeremiah 29:11 Priscilla Jo Coonis met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur as a first grader at St. Columbkille School in Los Angeles. She loved the school, loved the

Read more ›

Sister Phyllis (Philip Marie) D'Anna

The eldest of five, Phyllis enjoyed a lively home life with “a sweet and kind mother and a musical dad who loved gathering people together.” For a time the family lived in Alabama and it was there that a Sister told Phyllis’s mom, “Phyllis is going to become a Sister.” An avowed class cutup, Phyllis

Read more ›

Sister Terry Davis

Sister Terry Davis serves as Communications Director for the U.S. East-West Province of the Sister of Notre Dame  de Namur. During the previous thirteen years, she worked for the Diocese of Stockton in two capacities. She organized a diocesan Synod that involved every parish in deciding the future direction for the diocese. Her other role

Read more ›

Sister Liane Delsuc

Sister Liane Delsuc is still in awe of where her life journey has taken her. She credits her mother for giving her a deep appreciation of creation and care for the earth.  Both she and younger brother Steve went to St. Dunstan School in Millbrae, Cal., where they heard stories about St. Julie, foundress of

Read more ›

Sister Ruth (Bernard) Ella

Ruth Frances Ella was born to an Austrian father and English mother who were new to the United States. Living through the Great Depression, the family learned to improvise and to make the most of what they had. She recognized that her creativity in childhood grew through improvisation, a capacity which has served her well

Read more ›

Sister Giovannina (Mary Giovanna) Fazio

Sister Nena Fazio grew up in East Palo Alto as the eldest of four siblings. Her father owned the only grocery store in the community and, later, the only dime store in town. Sister's desire to enter religious life was sparked when she watched the film The Bells of St. Mary's and she decided that

Read more ›

Sister Judith (Kieran) Flahavan

During her freshman year at Notre Dame High School in San Francisco, Judy began thinking about becoming a Sister. Her faith had been richly nourished by her parents and her education. After graduation, she became a postulant with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Sister Judy’s first years in ministry were challenging: Over a

Read more ›

Sister Michelle Henault

I’ve had the privilege of being present to people who come to the House of Prayer and Villa Angelica in Carmel. I feel my ministry has been one of welcoming/hospitality to those who want to step away from the busy chaos of their lives to nourish their inner spirit and find, once again, the relationship

Read more ›

Sister Maureen (Maureen Joan) Hilliard

Maureen grew up in Redwood City, California with her devoted Catholic parents and three brothers. Her family was active in Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. She attended the parish school staffed by the Sisters of Notre Dame, and Notre Dame High School, Belmont. "I grew up surrounded by our Catholic tradition that was lived

Read more ›

Sister Lucy Julie Holguin

Simona Holguin was born into a close Mexican Catholic family with two brothers and a much-loved sister named Lucy. She first came to know the Sisters in Santa Barbara when the Holguin children transferred to Dolores School, where Simona was impressed with the way the Sisters interacted with one another and with the students. She

Read more ›

Sister Mary Ellen (Mary Ignatius) Howard

Mary Ellen Howard’s choice to enter the religious life wasn’t entirely supported by her father, who responded to her declaration of vocation with “You’re not the type. Sisters are neat and organized and quiet.” Mary Ellen confesses, “I was none of the above.” But what she was–and continues to be–is a compassionate and fearless woman

Read more ›

Sister Sharon Joyer

Though Sharon Joyer is one of nine brothers and sisters, her cousin Mary was one of her favorite companions. They were the same age and very close, so Mary’s unexpected death at age 12 was a huge loss for Sharon and a defining moment. Why was she alive and Mary not? Sharon began to pray

Read more ›

Sister Barbara Ann Kavanaugh

Sister Barbara Ann Kavanaugh has always found the richness of her life in friends, family, community, and celebrations. A meaningful gospel story for her is the wedding feast at Cana. “This was a big party," she says. "And it is such an example of God’s goodness. Jesus and Mary were with friends. The celebration had

Read more ›

Sister Kathryn Keenan

Sister Kathryn Keenan wanted to be a teacher from the time she started to walk. As a student at Notre Dame High School in Belmont, California, she was attracted by the warmth and caring of the Sisters who were her teachers. After graduation from U.C. Santa Barbara, where she majored in Spanish, she spent a

Read more ›

Sister Lynne (Lynne Marie) Knapp

Sister Lynne Marie Knapp knew for a long time that she wanted to be a Sister. Quite by accident, she met the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Covina in 1967 and entered the novitiate a year later. Ever since making her first vows, Lynne has been a dedicated teacher. She has committed 39

Read more ›

Sister Mary (Mary Bernard) Laxague

In the late 1940s, the small mining town of Ely, Nevada, had no Catholic schools, and it was only because of a high school acquaintance that young Mary Laxague even heard of the College of Notre Dame (CND) in Belmont, California. She decided to attend the college based on that recommendation and was in the

Read more ›

Sister Teresa Ann Leahy

Teresa Ann Leahy’s love of the poor goes back to the kitchen table conversations she heard as a child. Her parents admired Dorothy Day’s work and talked frequently about religion and social justice issues. As she grew older, they encouraged her to read Thomas Merton’s first books and the newly collected letters of Saint Thérèse

Read more ›

Sister Margaret (Joseph Louise) Lederer

‘Nothing happens by chance…It is always the disposition of God’ ‘Our path has been marked out for us…let us walk along it bravely, remembering that Jesus goes before us' -St. Julie Billiart Having been taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur for 12 years, it was not surprising that young Margaret Lederer entertained

Read more ›

Sister Angele Lewis

Angele first met the Sisters of Notre Dame when she began attending College of Notre Dame in Belmont, now known as Notre Dame de Namur University. She grew up in Vallejo, Calif. and went to St. Vincent Ferrer Grammar and High Schools with the San Rafael Dominicans. After entering the Sisters of Notre Dame de

Read more ›

Sister Theresa Linehan

Born in San Francisco and raised by a single mother, Theresa enjoyed the benefits of a Notre Dame de Namur education–from her earliest school years to the College of Notre Dame. After graduation she worked for a time, then became a Jesuit Volunteer. After this service, she wondered where she needed to be and strongly

Read more ›

Sister Joan (Mary Joan) Maritz

“Well, she was such a joyful woman.” That’s how Sister Joan Maritz responded to the question of who influenced her to become a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. The woman she refers to is her former Notre Dame High School, Alameda, chorale director. “Sister Emelia was always ready to laugh, she loved music, and

Read more ›

Sister Jacinta (Mary Jacinta) Martinez

As a nine-year-old, Jacinta came to San Francisco with her mother and sister from Nicaragua. They had family who lived not far from Notre Dame School on Dolores Street so she started there in fourth grade. Her family was religiously oriented and their parish, Mission Dolores, was very important. Each month the children got a little

Read more ›

Sister Nancy (Paul) McCarron

An educator first, last, and always! After graduating from Dominican College in the early 1960s, Nancy began teaching at Hunter’s Point, San Francisco. In an area of deep poverty, she saw firsthand the importance of providing educational opportunities for children. It was also during this time that she saw religious life as a credible path

Read more ›

Sister Mary Pat (Mary Patricia) McCarron

When Mary Pat was in elementary school she often thought of becoming a Sister. She was taught by the Holy Cross Sisters at St. Matthew School in San Mateo, Calif., and felt loved  and cared for by them. She then attended Notre Dame High School in Belmont, Calif., and continued to consider religious life. Her

Read more ›

Sister Eileen (Mary Daniel) McCarthy

If you were to ask Sister Eileen McCarthy to describe herself, she would most likely decline. However, if you were to ask anyone else who knows her, there wouldn’t be enough words or time to describe how generous and good she is because, as Sister Georgianna Coonis says, “that’s just the way she is.” Sister

Read more ›

Sister Mavourneen (Mary Arthur) McGinty

Mavourneen saw herself as “a good child from a good Catholic family” but never considered becoming a woman religious. Her dreams were quite the opposite—she saw herself becoming the mother of 12 children! So it was a surprise to many that three weeks after her high school graduation she entered the Notre Dame de Namur

Read more ›

Sister Sharon McMillan

Sister Sharon McMillan was the first woman in the United States to receive both a Licentiate and a Doctorate in Sacred Liturgy from the Pontifical Liturgical Institute in Rome. Sister Sharon joined the Sisters of Notre Dame after Vatican II. “I was formed in a pre-Vatican II church,” she says, but the Sisters at Mercy

Read more ›

Sister Claudia McTaggart

Sister Claudia has spent more than 60 years “engaging deeply” in life as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur in many and varied ways: teaching, pastoral ministry, counseling, community leadership and more. Joan McTaggart first met the Sisters of Notre Dame in the sixth grade when her widowed mother entrusted her to the Sisters’

Read more ›

Sister Andrea (Teresita) Mendoza

"What does a 17-year-old know of vocation? I entered out of curiosity. I was nosy!" Sister  Andrea (Teresita) Mendoza recollects some decades later. "I gradually moved into this life and learned this IS where I belong." Sister Andrea became an elementary school teacher, serving twice at St. Columbkille School in Los Angeles, and later was

Read more ›

Sister Carol (John Gregory) Miller

Carol Miller was a student at Notre Dame High School, Belmont, when Pope John XXIII was elected and announced the Second Vatican Council. This was a defining moment for her. "There was so much energy about The Church in the Modern World," she remembers. "As high school students, we were captured by this new vision

Read more ›

Sister Joanne (Catherine Rose) Miller

Sister Joanne Miller remembers being an eighth grader at Ascension School in Los Angeles when her teacher, Sister Mary Joan, a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondolet, invited her and another girl to a clothing ceremony at the St. Joseph Motherhouse. Sister Joanne recalls, “It was a pretty impressive ceremony in those days with so

Read more ›

Sister Noreen (Valerie) Morgan

Noreen Morgan’s ministries have included teaching in Notre Dame elementary schools in California and Hawaii, working in adult religious education, and serving within the Notre Dame de Namur community. Sister views her years in religious life as a garden of great beauty and variety and is grateful. “Like everyone, and like the garden,” she says,

Read more ›

Sister Roseanne Murphy

As a daughter of a hotel manager, Margaret Rose Murphy's early years included living in a series of hotel suites, and though she may have longed for a house with a lawn, her childhood was a busy and happy one with dancing, theatre, swimming and reading. By eighth grade Roseanne was attending Notre Dame High

Read more ›

Sister Louise O'Reilly

Sister Louise O’Reilly has given her heart and gifts to many ministries. She taught in Notre Dame elementary schools in California and Hawaii and was principal of Mission Dolores in San Francisco. She has served as formation director for the former California Province and Development Coordinator for Moreland Notre Dame School in  Watsonville, Calif. She

Read more ›

Sister Mary Florence O'Rourke (1923-2014)

Sister Mary Florence O’Rourke, a Sister of Notre Dame for 72 years, died peacefully in Oakland, CA on March 1, 2014. Born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District, Florence graduated from Notre Dame High School, San Francisco in 1940, then entered the Sisters of Notre Dame. A dedicated educator for thirty-two years, Sister taught

Read more ›

Sister Susan (Ann Joachim) Olson

The Sisters' service to the poor and homeless goes back to the founding days of our community in France: "I thank you for the two chemises.  You wouldn't believe how glad I was to have them for my two poor little girls.  I have another child still who came almost without clothing….I have given her

Read more ›

Sister Rosalie (Mary Christopher) Pizzo

Entering the convent after high school graduation, Rosalie describes her calling as a gentle nudge. "At that age, what does one know about discernment?" Rosalie asks with a smile. Nearly 70  years later she is ever thankful for that nudge. Like most Sisters of Notre Dame, de Namur, Sister Rosalie became a teacher. She enjoyed

Read more ›

Sister ElizaBeth (Peter Marie) Plesche

This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.-John 15:12 Twelve years of Catholic schooling in Salinas, Calif., left an impression on young ElizaBeth: “I was educated very well by the SNDdeN’s from first grade through high school." She knew she wanted to become a Sister, but first she wanted to see

Read more ›

Sister Karen (Evelyn Marie) Pozniak

Karen Pozniak’s journey of faith began at Sunday school, memorizing Bible passages and songs at the Baptist church in Lynn, Massachusetts, the faith of her mother. When she was nine, her family moved to California, and several years later, she and her mother were baptized at St. Lucy Catholic Church in Campbell, California. Karen continued

Read more ›

Sister Sandra (Edwin Marie) Price

Volunteering in high school with children with cerebral palsy led Sandy Price to consider a religious vocation. She remembers that, despite the excellent physical therapy the children received, she saw a tremendous need for spiritual values to sustain them through life. “I thought of religious life as a way of helping people realize their value

Read more ›

Sister Carole (Mary Alma) Proctor

Although Carole’s father was opposed to religion, her mother was sure that that if her daughters went to Catholic schools, they would get a great education. Convinced by this argument, Mr. Proctor acquiesced and let Carole and her sister attend Notre Dame de Namur schools. After graduating from Notre Dame High School, Belmont, Carole enjoyed

Read more ›

Sister Rosa Dolores Rodriguez

Sister Rosa Dolores, the youngest of 13 children, grew up immersed in her Mexican culture. She played "Mexican revolution" with her siblings, nephews, and nieces. Her father Pedro Rodriguez was from Guanajuato, Mexico, and fought in that revolution at age 13. At 17, he was sentenced to death, but by the grace of God and

Read more ›

Meet Sister Caroline (Francis Xavier) Sanchez

Growing up in the St. Columbkille Parish (Los Angeles, California), Caroline knew the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at an early age. In fact her mother served as an “unofficial chauffeur” to the Sisters in those early days when Sisters weren’t permitted to drive. Interested in vocations throughout her teen years, in her junior year of

Read more ›

Sister Michela Sheehan

One of 13 children, Michela’s early years were spent in the small lumber town of Eureka, California. She remembers a childhood where the kids played outside a lot and sometimes snitched rhubarb from a neighbor’s yard. When her parents decided that they wanted their children to get a Catholic education, the family moved to San

Read more ›

Sister Sharon (Mary Fidelis) Skain

“Thanks to my grandparents who immigrated from Ireland,” says Sister Sharon Skain, “I was born in The City by the Bay, San Francisco, a town of diverse cultures. That diversity shaped my life.” She remembers that during World War II her parents kept a place at the table for military men her Dad would bring

Read more ›

Sister Marilyn (Maureen) Smith

While in high school, Marilyn firmly declared to friends that under no circumstances would she ever enter the convent, but a series of events helped her remember a thought from her 3rd grade teacher — “To be happy, just follow God’s will.” This became a lifelong theme for her. From her first assignment at Notre

Read more ›

Sister Dolores (Joseph) Steiner (1928-2019)

"God is good, always." These words of St. Julie, foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, struck a spark in the heart of fourteen-year-old Dolores Steiner. She first heard them at Moreland Notre Dame Boarding School in Watsonville, California. Dolores, or Dodi as she is called, and her older sister, Margie, left her

Read more ›

Sister Jeanne (Marguerite) Sullivan

Sister Jeanne (Marguerite) Sullivan loves the rich variety of her more than 60 years as a Sister of Notre Dame. Some words of Pope Francis suddenly provided a unifying link for the surprising turns of her life. He wrote, “We are called to form consciences, not to replace them.” This total respect for others along

Read more ›

Sister Paula Tak

The idea of ministry and service was always part of Paula’s experience: her father was a Salvation Army officer in South Korea, and one of her sisters followed in his footsteps. Serving as a Catholic Sister, though, was definitely not anything she ever imagined! Paula’s visit to a convent with her nursing school roommate sparked

Read more ›

Sister Barbara (Andrea) Thiella

Sister Barbara Thiella has a commanding presence, a sharp mind, a heart full of compassion and, as one homeless man noticed, “a kind look in her eyes.” These attributes have stood her well during her years working in formal education—as a teacher, administrator, campus minister—and while serving the Sisters and the church in leadership roles.

Read more ›

Sister Julie Marie Thorpe

"Growing up, the idea of becoming a Sister was in my head…and I FOUGHT it!" Julie Marie says with a smile. After high school she enrolled in San Jose State University and thoroughly enjoyed college life, but the "Sister idea" just wouldn't go away. After she graduated, she entered the convent on the hottest day

Read more ›

Sister Liz (Elisabeth Marie) Tiernan

Sister Elisabeth Tiernan grew up in a lively Irish Catholic family of seven children, whose dinner conversations often took the form of debate on political questions of the day, with her father acting as referee. Thus began a lifelong interest for Liz in politics as essential to the moral life of Christians. Growing up a

Read more ›

Sister Christina (Christina Marie) Trudeau

The youngest of seven children, Christina Trudeau was born in Los Angeles, Calif., to parents who instilled in their family a great love for God and the Church. As a young child, she remembers accompanying her parents to clean St. Columbille Church every Saturday, where she was given five cents to dust the pews. Her

Read more ›

Sister Nancy Uhl

An Ohio native, Nancy moved to California and settled in Los Angeles in 1974. She worked for a non-profit free clinic where she served as controller and grant writer to help clients receive healthcare. She also met Chuck Sheehan, a striking air-traffic controller, married him in 1982, and together, raised a daughter, Sarah Sheehan. After

Read more ›

Sister Virginia Ann Unger

"I want what they have!" eight-year-old Virginia thought as she got to know the teachers at her school in Chicago. With those Dominican Sisters, the seed was planted. When the family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, Virginia's thoughts of becoming a Sister were "on again, off again." In her senior year at Notre

Read more ›

Sister Catherine (Andrew Marie) Waldron

From an early age, Catherine’s teachers encouraged her to join religious life.  Her parents were devout Catholics with an active spiritual practice.  When her father’s work brought the family to San Jose, California, they found the Sisters of Notre Dame at St. Mary Elementary School and Notre Dame High School. As a family they helped

Read more ›

Sister Cecilia Wallace

When Sister Cecilia Wallace reflects on her life, she finds a sense of fulfillment and inner peace. “It is hard to explain,” she says, “but it’s about being able to be there for people and the children.” And Sister Cecilia is certainly there for people. As Sister Liz Tiernan relates, “no matter how often she

Read more ›

Sister Gillian Wallace

Sister Gillian is a graduate of Notre Dame High School, Belmont and UC Berkeley. She earned her Ph.D. in anthropology at Cambridge University in England, and has been a member of the faculty at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California. On August 19, 2018, Gillian Wallace was accepted as a canonical novice into

Read more ›

Sister Magdalena Yang

From South Korea to Minnesota, to Washington D.C. to California – Sister Magdalena’s entire life journey has been marked by God’s mercy and goodness, she says.  Her unusual journey includes her family’s Buddhist/Confucian background and a few years in the Methodist Church before becoming a Catholic. She remembers her fourth grade teacher asking the children

Read more ›