Category Archives: St. Julie Billiart

Promises to Keep: Educational Legacy

“That they all may be one…” –John 17:21

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Founder’s Day this year at St. Julie High School in Woolton, Liverpool, England evolved into a unique celebration, led by the school chaplain, Mr. Mike Anderson.  Sr. Margaret Walsh, SNDdeN, Chairperson of the Board of Governors, welcomed the students, administrators and faculty to an important assembly in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool.  Kate McCourt, a Deputy Head Teacher, introduced the 1804 Society, a mission and leadership organization named for the founding date of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Words, song and dance focused on continuing the educational legacy of St. Julie Billiart on this 200th anniversary of her death (April 8, 2016), and beyond.

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Passing the Baton
The assembly seized the image of “passing the baton” in a relay race to pass on Julie’s spirit to one another and to others in our time.  This symbol of running the race, as St. Paul reminds us, symbolized for the students a way of working as a team to reach a goal together in continuing the Mission of St. Julie. The entire school community made a commitment to proclaim God’s goodness to this generation and the next.

In a symbolic ceremony of picking up and passing the baton,” the whole student body, over 1000 students, and their administrators, faculty and staff made public promises in a moving ceremony at the school.  Two students invited all to stand and to respond in promises to carry on the work of St. Julie. Libby announced the ceremony in reminding the assembly of the significance of this year.

Then, Savannah, the head student, led the ceremony of promises:

Will you open your heart as wide as the world?
Response: I will!

Will you be an angel of peace?
Response: I will!

Will you stand tall as sunflowers as an example to others?
Response: I will!

Will you be a courageous soul and stand up against wrongdoing?
Response: I will!

Will you serve the good God well with much liberty of spirit?
Response: I will!

Will you follow the example of the Sisters of Notre Dame?
Response: I will!

Will you pick up the baton and continue the legacy of St. Julie?
Response: I will!

The Deputy Principal, Mr. Tony Costello reminded the students that these are big promises.  He then asked the students to pray together for the grace of keeping these promises and to ask, as St. Julie did, for Mary’s intercession. The commitment ceremony concluded as the entire assembly prayed together a Hail Mary, followed by St. Julie, pray for us, protect us and bless us!  The Head Teacher, Mr. Tim Alderman congratulated all involved in this inspiring programme and moving celebration.

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Additional Photographs and video footage are available online from St. Julie’s High School in Woolton, Liverpool, England.

http://www.stjulies.org.uk/news/1323/371/Founders-Day-Celebration/d,new_detail.html

GW June 2016 – Promises to Keep

 

Power of One: Impact of St. Julie Billiart

by Sister Huguette Georges, SNDdeN

St. Julie Billiart died on April 8, 1816 in Namur, Belgium. As she was dying, she sang Mary’s Magnificat in French. “My soul magnifies the Lord… All generations will call me blessed.” Like Mary, for whom she named her Congregation, Julie made a lasting impact on our world, especially on five continents where the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur live and serve in ministry. Her life, spirituality and values have inspired and influenced generations of children and adults for two centuries.

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Students in Namur celebrate St. Julie.

At a March 2015 gathering of Directors of Schools in Belgium and France, Sr. Suzanne DeMeersman, Province Moderator, stimulated ideas and touched hearts for celebrating this anniversary of St. Julie Billiart’s death. In June 2015, Sr. Marie-Thérèse Béget gathered a committee of school directors, alumnae/alumni, the General Archivist and Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur from the two Belgian Provinces. Beginning with an inquiry sent to schools for proposed activities, the planning evolved for ways to celebrate the 200th anniversary as a Notre Dame Family. School administrators, teachers and staff agreed on the importance of networking for this bicentenary and working as colleagues in a united effort.

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Sr. Suzanne DeMeersman discusses plans for the Bicentenary with Directors of Notre Dame schools.

The festivities will begin on April 8, 2016 and conclude at the time of Christmas vacation. All schools are sending information and plans to Sr. Marie-Thérèse by September 2016.

Some ideas for all the schools are already in process:

  • A flash drive containing information about the life of St. Julie and her founding of the Congregation will be distributed to all schools.
  • A newspaper, called The Julie Relay, will include news and information about bicentenary activities/events in the schools.
  • Plaques will be posted on April 11, 2016 at the entrance of all schools in Belgium and France. These plaques will say:“You are here in a school which lives the values of St. Julie Billiart and where each person finds his /her place and works with joy.” This effort empahsizes the strength of an educational system in which all experience joy and a sense of belonging.
  • On the 8th day of each month, good words of St. Julie will be given to students and teachers for reflection and for learning life lessons taught by Julie.
  • Groups of students and teachers will visit the Heritage Centre in Namur so that they will know and remember for a long time the origins and life of our Congregation.

Certain schools in Belgium and France have planned varied celebrations:

  • In Berchem, a digital screen will appear in front of the school with images and quotations from St. Julie. All girls with the name Julie will receive a gift.
  • In Namur, on May 3, 2016, the students will release hundreds of white balloons with cards attached, rising in the sky in Namur. On each card will be written the sentence: “I feel deeply for Namur something which touches my heart.” Who knows if one of these balloons, landing on firm earth, will be a messenger of the spirit of St. Julie for one or other person picking it up on the side of the road or in the center of a garden.

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    The choir from the school at Saint-Hubert prepare to sign on St. Julie’s anniversary at St. Gilles Church.
  • In Saint-Hubert, the school is making a CD with songs on St. Julie which will include also those of Sr. Marie-Ange Bonmariage.
  • In Orvilliers-Sorel, the school is inviting all groups of pilgrims to come while they are visiting the birthplace of St. Julie in Cuvilly.
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St. Julie Billiart

Will you join these schools in organizing some event or project for the Bicentenary Year? The schools in Belgium and France invite and encourage other schools on five continents to communicate any events and activities that you will be doing this year.

Has the power of this one person, Julie, influenced you and does she have an impact on your life today? How will you celebrate the life and gift of St. Julie Billiart? May this Jubilee Year strengthen the bonds of our Notre Dame Family and announce to the world that “God is Good.”

Reprinted with permission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, ” The Power of One: Impact of St. Julie Billiart in Bicentenary,” Good Works, March 2016, pp. 12-13.

GW March 2016, Power of One.pdf

Good Works Archives on http://www.sndden.org.

Corryville Catholic, Cincinnati, OH (USA)

Sr. Mary Ann Zwijack, SNDdeN teaches Grade 8 and spends extra time with students needing help with special projects.
Sr. Mary Ann Zwijack, SNDdeN teaches Grade 8 and spends extra time with students needing help with special projects.

Sister Marie Smith, SNDdeN, Principal (1983-2013), writes: “Located in this major Ohio city, Corryville has a diverse student body from different socio-economic communities and cultural backgrounds. A wrap-around school, connecting programs and services with specific children, Corryville uses Choices for Children, a project  to meet the needs of individual students. The school’s Mission is to educate the whole child, from pre-school through Grade 8, by meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of each student.”  Learn more

Good Works, March 2015, pp. 8-9.

Our Mission in America (1840-2015)

final_ycl_logo_en_new In this Year of Consecrated Life, the Church is celebrating religious congregations throughout the world. The Church recognizes also their founders and foundresses. This year 2015 marks also the 175th anniversary of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (SNDdeN) in America.

Only 36 years after the founding of the Congregation by St. Julie Billiart in Amiens, France in 1804. Mère Ignace Goethals, our third Superior General, sent the first missionaries to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1840. Desiring herself to be a missionary in America, Mother Ignace welcomed the request of Jean-Baptiste Purcell, Bishop of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA, who, during his visit to Namur, Belgium in 1839, asked for Sisters to teach in his diocese.

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…Learn more