Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have a long history of educating and serving people living in poverty. Today there are Notre Dame schools on five continents and the schools encompass elementary, high school, and colleges. In the U.S. alone, more than 13,000 students are educated in Notre Dame schools and colleges.
In California, the Sisters established over 50 schools and still have Sisters teaching, tutoring in or holding administrative positions at Notre Dame Elementary in Belmont, Moreland Notre Dame School in Watsonville, Notre Dame High School in Belmont, Notre Dame High School in Salinas, and Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont.
Many Sisters of Notre Dame are active in ministries that help those living in poverty, especially women and children. These are a few examples:
Table of Plenty, Half Moon Bay, California
Sr. Jeanette Braun is executive director for this weekly supper for the hungry in the community. “This program is so needed. Too many people in our area don’t get enough to eat. We see moms with young children, the elderly and everyone in between.”
Casa de la Cultura, Pajaro, California
Sr. Rosa Dolores Rodriquez, Director since 2007, shares that the center deals with the “Poorest of the poor. Everything is free or by donation.. Casa de la Cultura Center is a heart that beats for the farm working community. It is a hospital for the sick, a pantry for the hungry, and a haven to empower the weary.”
Maryhouse, Loaves & Fishes, Sacramento, California
Sr. Anne Locke works at Maryhouse, a daytime hospitality shelter in Sacramento serving homeless women and children. When not leading a knitting group at the center, she serves in the dispensary giving out emergency supplies such as coats, toiletries, diapers and formula. She also pinch hits in the hot breakfast program.
Pajaro Valley Shelter, Watsonville, California
Sr. Susan Olson co-founded the Pajaro Valley Shelter in 1984 with Sr. Veronica Wagner. Sr. Susan stepped down as executive director of the shelter but is a vital member of its advisory board.