Congratulations to our 2019 Jubilarians!

Each one of these Sisters, using her particular gifts and talents, has endeavored to live her 60, 70, 75 or 80 years as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur in the spirit of our Mission Statement: Sisters of Notre Dame, women with hearts as wide as the world, make known God’s goodness and love of the poor through a Gospel way of life, community and prayer. Collectively for almost 900 years, these 13 Sisters have served our Good God, following in the footsteps of St. Julie Billiart and Françoise Blin de Bourdon. The Jubilarians’ personal accounts evoke in us tremendous pride, respect, admiration and gratitude.

Sister Rita Buddeke currently resides at: Mt. Notre Dame Health Care: 699 E. Columbia Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45215

Sister Rita Buddeke, SNDdeN

Entered Religious Life August 15, 1939

Ilchester, Maryland

80 years

Sister Rita Buddeke was born 102 years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio! In time the family, where Rita was the middle child, moved to Washington, D.C., where Rita continued her elementary school at St. Anthony’s in the Brookland section of D.C., not far from Trinity Washington University. Her high school years were spent at the Academy of Notre Dame on K Street. Both institutions offered Rita the opportunity for an unusually rigorous and fine education. In turn, Rita’s students at Moylan High School, Trinity College and Catholic University were the recipients of Rita’s education as she became an outstanding educator who was both respected and loved. Rita’s professional accomplishments testify to her love of and sharing of what she learned. Not only a teacher of math and science, she also earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology, co-authored two widely used biology books and was a supervisor in the SNDdeN secondary schools. As if this wasn’t enough—Rita became vice president of Strayer College where, through her untiring efforts, the college received its accreditation! In time Rita became the first woman dean of the independent Theological School of Washington, D.C. These days Rita resides at Mt. Notre Dame in Cincinnati, where she first began. She moves quietly and gently in her wheelchair and bestows her sweet smile on everyone she meets.

Sister Anne Cecilia Coxen currently resides at: Villa Julie Residence: 1531 Greenspring Valley Road Stevenson, MD 21153

Sister Anne Cecilia Coxen, SNDdeN

Entered Religious Life August 13, 1944

Ilchester, Maryland

75 years

My life began in Washington, D.C. I was baptized in St. Aloysius parish; after I attended several schools in D.C., I found myself attending St. Martin’s School and meeting SNDdeN for the first time. The encounters I had with the Sisters there had a most significant effect on my life. I was inspired and awed by them and I knew that I wanted to become an SNDdeN. This knowledge continued as I spent my high school years at Notre Dame Academy (K Street). Seventy-five years have slipped by very quickly since I joined the Sisters. My missions have taken me to teaching positions in Washington, D.C., Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania. After 27 years of teaching, I went to Trinity College to be Director of Financial Aid. In this position my job was to find financial assistance for students who otherwise would not be able to afford a Trinity education. Later I spent several years tutoring adults working to earn their General Educational Development (GED) diploma. This work was challenging but rewarding; I saw it as something dear to St. Julie. I am grateful for all the kindnesses shown to me by so many people over the past 75 years and I pray that God will reward them abundantly. This is part of the “hundred-fold” that the Lord promised to those who have given up everything to follow Him. I have been truly blessed.

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Sister Peggy Linahan currently resides at: 2330 Astoria Boulevard, Astoria, NY 11102

Sister Peggy Linahan, SNDdeN

formerly Sister Michael

Entered Religious Life August 13, 1944

Ilchester, Maryland

75 years

Seventy-five years! How would you describe that in a few paragraphs? What words would you use? BLESSED-BLESSED-BLESSED! It all began in August 1944, when, blessed by my parents, I entered at Ilchester, Md. Soon I was on my way, preparing to teach. Those early years teaching little ones in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Drexel Hill, Pa., and Brooklyn and Queens in New York were such happy ones with each place filled with many blessings. I took many happy memories and the blessing of good friends when I left. Then, in 1964, to my surprise, I became a pioneer in ETV (Educational Television) in the Brooklyn Diocese’s new enterprise—teaching by TV. My teaching expanded from the classroom to a much larger group. I knew I was blessed to be a part of it. Not only were the children enriched, my mind was experiencing new ideas in communication. It was such a blessing. After I finished two separate series for primary grades, I travelled to Long Island to produce a series for 7th grade whose curriculum was the history of the state of New York. Another new and innovative idea—teaching a lesson without a teacher! She was never seen—just a voiceover. Travelling up and down New York, we collected material that a classroom wouldn’t have and were truly blessed by all the good people who helped us. History became alive! Then back to the classroom again—this time to teach TV. After a year of planning and writing a curriculum (the first in Catholic high schools in Brooklyn) we were ready. We opened our studio and started production. Some students taking the courses had not considered a future in TV, but changed, graduated from college and returned to tell of their success. What a blessing! Thirty-five years at Bishop Ford went by quickly and when I was leaving, friends congratulated me on my retirement. Surprise! I had no plans to retire and waited to see what God had waiting for me. How would He bless me now? I had no clue. At this time also, our convent was to be closed. The other sisters had moved on, so it was up to me to see to the closing. Among others who came was a Sister of St. Joseph, Sister Tesa Fitzgerald, to see what she could use for her organization “Hour Children.” Sister invited me to come and live with her in Queens. She was caring for children whose mothers were incarcerated and helping the mothers when they were released. I felt blest to be asked and I knew St. Julie would be pleased also. So back to Queens to live in a transitory house with beautiful women wanting a second chance and children so happy to be reunited! What a beautiful blessing for me—now in my senior years—our good God showering me with His blessings. It’s no wonder I say that 75 is BLESSED-BLESSED-BLESSED!

Sister Patricia Murray currently resides at: Mt. Notre Dame Health Care 699 E. Columbia Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45215

Sister Patricia Murray, SNDdeN

formerly Sister William Marie

Entered Religious Life August 13, 1944

Ilchester, Maryland

75 years

My journey of 75 years in Notre Dame has been blessed, full measure and flowing over. It is one that also has been happy and filled with many grace-filled challenges. I have found myself doing so many things I never imagined I could do or would have chosen to do. God’s ways are not always ours, but, through it all, I can say repeatedly, “How good is the good God.” My years of ministry have allowed me to be in the classroom—both elementary and secondary schools—from New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C. and lastly to Baltimore at St. Ursula’s where I ministered for 17 years. None of this could have been accomplished without the love and support of my family, especially my parents. Their lives, as the lives of my Notre Dame Community, have given me strength and courage as I now move into a new journey here at Mt. Notre Dame Health Center.

Sister Anne Denise Blake
currently resides at: Mt. Notre Dame Health Care 699 E. Columbia Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45215

Sister Anne Denise Blake, SNDdeN

Entered Religious Life February 19, 1950

Ilchester, Maryland

70 years

On the blackboard in my freshman homeroom at Notre Dame High School was a quote from St. Julie Billiart: “How good is the Good God.” I had not met an SNDdeN until this moment. It was here at Moylan that “Come and See” became a whisper that reached its culmination when I entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at Ilchester, Maryland. Like the majority of SNDdeN my first years of ministry were in teaching and administration, both elementary and high schools. In 1978 I was assigned to ministry at Trinity College on the administrative level, where I coordinated and managed government grants while serving as Secretary to the Board of Trustees. In my early “retirement” years I had the opportunity to work in the Development office at Trinity School, Ilchester, Md. I am now living at Mt. Notre Dame Health Center in Cincinnati, where I continue to be the recipient of our Sisters’ wisdom, kindness and concern which have enabled me to be faithful to God’s call and to say, “How good is the good God.”

Sister Anne McDonald currently resides at: Villa Julie Residence 1531 Greenspring Valley Road Stevenson, MD 21153

Sister Anne McDonald, SNDdeN

formerly Sister Anne Michael

Entered Religious Life August 7, 1949

Ilchester, Maryland

70 years

It has been said that our journey consists of diverse paths and that these paths make us what we are or, at least, what we hope we are. So, perhaps at some point I will understand why the Good God blessed me with such a remarkable Mom and Dad and then nudged me on to decide to journey far from them and my loving family. Early on our parents had encouraged in us a sense of honor and integrity strewn liberally with a love of God, music, reading and curiosity. How could I have foreseen, as I departed from those whom I loved, how these qualities would prepare me for life and travels among the Company of the Daughters of Mère Julie? After my formative years and profession, I embarked on my apostolate to elementary school life, which stretched from Washington, D.C. to Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Pennsylvania (Villanova) and finally, the Notre Dame Education Center in D.C. Each fresh year brought new exciting experiences and, in the end, a humbling truth that those decades of instructing and channeling all the energy, passion and intelligence of youngsters had enriched me beyond my wildest imagining. With the passing of 70 years, I am truly even more grateful to Sister William Suzannah and the Sisters at Wyncote High School than ever before. These warm and generous women, who were surely unlike any religious I had ever known, reached out to help me recognize that perhaps in joining the ranks of Notre Dame I would discover a path like none other. How right they were!

Sister Ann Julie Peters currently resides at: St. Julie Convent 12 Marietta Drive Westbury, NY 11590

Sister Ann Julie Peters, SNDdeN

Entered Religious Life November 15, 1949

Ilchester, Maryland

70 years

I am blessed to have my Irish family (Mom, Dad, Bill, John and Ray) among the Communion of Saints where I believe they are interceding for me. Through the years, I knew what it was like to have a devoted family supporting me as I made the decision at 23 years of age to enter Religious Life. It was a sacrificial time for all of us! Yet there never was a moment that they did not encourage me with generous hearts. As I reflect on my 70 years as a Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, I am humbled at the Amazing Grace of a Good God who chose me to be a member of a community I had never known. Becoming a daughter of Julie was an experience that changed my life. No matter where I was sent on mission, Julie’s inspiration helped me to place my trust, day by day, in God’s Goodness. My retirement in 2015 was celebrated with a Liturgy of Thanksgiving after 23 years of dedication at St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington, N.Y. It was a moving moment when just before the Recessional, my seniors gathered at the altar and prayed for and anointed me, in the power of the Spirit, as I moved into the future. It is with deep gratitude that I have come to understand that we plant the seed and that our Good God gives the increase. It is in this spirit that, during these 70 years in ministry serving in five Dioceses: Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Baltimore and Rockville Centre, I was enabled, enriched and energized by those who accompanied me on my journey and whose faith-filled lives challenged me to live the Gospel Message. And, so, in these retiring years, I continue to be present to whomever comes my way, to see the Lord’s image in the other, to take time to listen, to empathize, to be a compassionate, welcoming presence, to visit those in need. Our telephone ministry and emails often call us to minister and to be ministered to. As I face my own limitations, it is in the spirit of Mary’s Magnificat that I can proclaim with a grateful heart that “the One Who is mighty has done great things for me.” Truly, I have been blessed with these life-giving, grace-filled 70 years in a Congregation founded by Julie, our Saint of Cuvilly! “How good is the Good God!”

Sister Katherine “Sissy” Corr currently resides at: Bldg #30, Apt. 203 8525 111 Street North Seminole, FL 33772

Sister Katherine “Sissy” Corr, SNDdeN

formerly Sister Thomas Mary

Entered Religious Life August 9, 1959

60 years

I was born into a large and loving family and extravagantly blessed by their love. Through Notre Dame God gave me many opportunities to grow my heart as wide as the world. From my early experiences in teaching and social work I have continually grown in the belief that all of life is about helping each other to realize and celebrate our God-given potential. I was inspired as a young sister in Atlanta by Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. His gospel call helped me to see that we are all one family of God. This understanding was nurtured in prayer and by reflecting on the writing of St. Julie and Thomas Merton. Through work with Catholic Charities and with Sisters of Notre Dame, the Spirit led me to embrace the Social Concerns of the Church. Training in Sociology and Community Organizing enabled me to bring people together to work for the common good, the family of God. From 1981–1991, I founded and coordinated the efforts of Jobs with Peace, a non-profit organization in Baltimore. In 1994, I became the Executive Director of Notre Dame Mission Volunteers. For the next 22 years with the SNDdeN and our colleagues we built a communal network across the country to empower the poor through education. In partnership with AmeriCorps we were able to grow our full time volunteer corps to 400+ members. A new call from God! Notre Dame Mission Volunteers invites me to go to Haiti. The people want jobs! We built a bakery. Today Notre Dame bakery’s 45 employees produce and sell many bags of bread. Thank you to all the Sisters, friends and families who have supported us. My heart sings Jubilee.

Sister Jo-Ann Flora currently resides at: 6050 Sargent Road, #5105 Hyattsville, MD 20782

Sister Jo-Ann Flora, SNDdeN

formerly Sister Richard Clare

Entered Religious Life August 9, 1959

Ilchester, Maryland

60 years

“If the only prayer you say in your whole life is thank you, that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Thank you! For my family who welcomed me into the world on February 2, 1942, rooted me in God and encouraged coloring outside the lines. For SNDdeN second mothers at Rittenhouse Square, who nurtured and empowered the Class of 1959 and led us to the edge, saying “Fly!”

Thank you! For wisdom figures – Mary, Julie and Françoise, Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Julian of Norwich, Henri Nouwen, John XXIII, Jan Richardson, Hildegard of Bingen, Francis Bergoglio. For soul friends and mentors – my Sisters throughout the world and Associates in Notre Dame, brother Jesuits, lay and religious colleagues in educational and spiritual ministries.

Thank you! For learning from the best at Ilchester, TC, GU, UCSD, Palau, Yale, NYU. For sacred places of ministry – Collegeville, Glen Burnie, D.C., Manresa, Easton, Gwynedd, Monroe, Philadelphia, Rome, New York City, Inisfada, Linwood, Kimwenza.

Thank you! For the beauty of art and music, opera and ballet, poetry and drama. For Renoir, Mozart, Shakespeare, Puccini, Fra Angelico, Debussy, Hafiz, Monet, Balanchine, Bernini, Levertov, Michelangelo, Verdi, Hopkins, Caravaggio, Rachmaninoff, Rumi, Van Gogh and all kindred spirits.

Thank you to our Good God! Who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by God’s power at work within us!

Sister Maryann Gillespie currently resides at: 11100 86th Avenue N. #203 Seminole, FL 33772

Sister Maryann Gillespie, SNDdeN

formerly Sister Mary Therese

Entered Religious Life August 9, 1959

Ilchester, Maryland

60 years


Time to remember, time to renew Time to give thanks.

I will take the cup of life

I will seek the one who is in all,

All the days of my life.

I give thanks for the gift of my life and family,

For the blessing of 60 years of life-in-mission in Notre Dame.

Sixty years of challenge and growth, of pain and change

In the quest to comprehend and live

As a woman disciple among equals.

Sixty years of journeying as sister,

Of learning to love and live

In communion with marginalized and afflicted people,

Of being part of the ever widening circle

Of companions who contribute to sustaining and protecting earth and all the life she bears.

To all who have been part of this gift and blessings, my profound gratitude and love.

Sister Rita Keesey
currently resides at: Mt. Notre Dame Health Care 699 E. Columbia Avenue Cincinnati, OH 45215

Sister Rita Keesey, SNDdeN

formerly Sister Rita Marie

Entered Religious Life August 9, 1959

Ilchester, Maryland

60 years

Because of my premature birth I was baptized into the community of faith immediately.
My family, friends, and teachers nurtured the gifts of Faith, Hope and Love I received on my Birth Day. These gifts grew into the desire to enter Ilchester and begin my journey as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. My life in Notre Dame is still a joy and a challenge to live simply in love and service as did our Foundress Julie Billiart. Both in my family life and in community— through the mutuality of giving and receiving—I learned the meaning of transformation while passing this knowledge to my students. As Jesus said to his Apostles, “When you were young … but when you are old,” my journey these past ten years has seen many changes, not always what I would have hoped for or chosen or of my plan! But I trust the Good God is still beside me steering my course as I sing always, “How great thou art!” To our Good God and all of you who have touched my life and brought me to this day—my deepest thanks!

Sister Dorothy McCormick currently resides at: P.O. Box 30631 Nairobi, GPO 00100 Kenya

Sister Dorothy McCormick, SNDdeN

formerly Sister Dorothy Joseph

Entered Religious Life August 9, 1959

Ilchester, Maryland

60 years

On 9 August 2019, I celebrated 60 years as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. My life in Notre Dame has been blessing upon blessing. I am daughter of Raymond and Anna McCormick, and younger sister of Sister Claire McCormick, SNDdeN and Raymond McCormick, Jr. Claire entered the Sisters of Notre Dame when I was not quite two years old, so I literally grew up in the arms of our Sisters. I attended the Academy of Notre Dame, Villanova, from first grade through high school. As a small child, I resisted any suggestion that I might follow Claire into the convent. With time, however, the call became stronger and a few months after our high school graduation, I arrived with the rest of my “band” to join the postulate at Ilchester. In our early years, we were exposed to the rigors of a Trinity College education together with the challenges of a Church and SNDdeN community undergoing the profound changes of Vatican II. These influences shaped me and enabled me to mature in appreciation of my calling. I spent 17 years in the ministry of financial service to the Province and Trinity College. During this time, I joined the Reflection Centre, where I was exposed to issues affecting developing countries. Then, challenged by my own lack of understanding of the causes of the world’s inequality, I asked to pursue postgraduate study in International Affairs. From that came my first African visit in 1983, and as we sometimes say, “The rest is history.” I have been blessed with more than 30 years of life and ministry in Kenya. During these years, I have taught undergraduate and post-graduate students at the University of Nairobi. I have supervised academic work and acted as a mentor, I have made close friends among my colleagues and neighbours, and received great support and kindness. I have belonged to a Notre Dame community that has to my great joy become predominantly Kenyan. And now retirement: a challenge to be, to do, and to allow our Good God to continue to work.

Sister Carol Shoup currently resides at: Hermitage Arms Apartments 1344 Fruitdale Ave. E1 San Jose, CA 95126

Sister Carol Shoup, SNDdeN

Entered Religious Life July 2, 1959

Cleveland, Ohio

60 years

Every Monday morning over the PA system of my Regina High School years the faculty, staff and students said a beautiful prayer that the announcer began with, “For the canonization of Blessed Mother Julie.” That was my first introduction to Notre Dame and eventually to the Sisters of Notre Dame. In my first year of high school I read “Their Quiet Tread,” a history of the Coesfeld Sisters and their journey to the United States in the mid-19th century. These Sisters were my mentors, teachers and spiritual nourishers during my teenage years and continued into my adult life in the community that loved and embraced the charism and spirit of Saint Julie. So at age 29, June 22, 1969, was of special significance to me, and to all of us. My journey in ND led me eventually into the reading of the newly published Letters of Julie in English, with insights into her struggles, achievements and, above all, her remarkable personality and belief in the goodness of life and all creation despite the troubles of her times. A new journey to Boston in 1981 linked me with my Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the unity we share with our Mission and Ministries here and around the world. Learning and experiencing the wonder and goodness in life has helped me in my journeys. To those who have been good to me, I am very grateful. And for the goodness I have been able to give to all ages through education in religion and spirituality I am truly blessed. Gratitude is a quality of goodness and hope. My hope is that our ND mission continues to thrive within and beyond ND in our youth, colleagues, friends and families for years to come.

Jubilarians who have gone before us…

80 years

Sister Patricia McNamara, SNDdeN

Sister Marie Marguerite Murphy, SNDdeN

75 years

Sister Anne Beringer, SNDdeN (formerly Anne Elizabeth)

Sister Marian Shelledy, SNDdeN

70 years

Sister Agnes Frederick Blee, SNDdeN

Sister Barbara Connolly, SNDdeN (formerly Barbara Marie)

Sister Mary Teresa Day, SNDdeN (formerly Rita Francis)

Sister Dolores Gordon, SNDdeN (formerly Joseph Marie)

Sister Helen Virginia Klimas, SNDdeN

Sister Catherine Phelps, SNDdeN (formerly Catherine William)

60 years

Sister Michael Theresa Brauer, SNDdeN