On Saturday, May 19th, the Sisters of Notre Dame Associates gathered for their annual Feast of the Visitation. The theme for this year was the “Reign of God.” Over 50 associates and Sisters gathered together to share stories, build relationships, and connect with each other as they strengthen their call to proclaim God’s goodness and provident care. The morning session began with Sister Mary Luann Bender, SND, addressing the associates and Sisters inviting them to think about a blessing they experienced as they began their day, and then to share that blessing with someone they wanted to get to know better. Sister Mary Renee Nienaber, SND, addressed the group on the Reign of God. Throughout her presentation Associate responses were read echoing to God’s goodness and provident care that they experienced throughout the year. The group sharing session concluded with Sister Renee reading the parable of the Lost Sheep and discussing how we are all commissioned to live out Jesus’ mission through our baptismal promises; the theme for the coming year. Each member of the group received a bottle of Holy Water and a partner prayer card to take home as a reminder of their fundamental Christian commitment they accepted at baptism.
The program continued with Sister Marla Monahan, SND Provincial, leading the Missioning Ceremony where all associates renewed their promise to the SND Associate Program and to re-commit themselves to serve the Church in the apostolic mission. This practice was started by the early Church, which sent its members out to proclaim the Gospel. Each associate was called forward and received a mission card and words of encouragement from Sister Marla that encouraged them to deepen their baptismal call to live the Gospel more fully in their daily life through the work they do in their own community. The closing prayer called upon the Holy Spirit to help each of them find themselves in vital places, bringing God’s word of freedom to the poor and the oppressed, and calling them forth; consecrating them to a service of self-surrender.
After the ceremony a wonderful luncheon was served in the provincial dining room where fellowship and sharing continued throughout the afternoon. A faith enriching experience was had by all. For more information about the SND Associate Program, please contact Sister Mary Renee Nienaber at 859-635-0055 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see a slide show of the day, click on the pictures below to enlarge and advance.