The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Women of Color met for their annual gathering in early October. This year's meeting was held at a hotel just outside of BWI in Baltimore. When the sisters arrived and greeted one another the ordinary airport hotel was transformed into a sacred space filled with love, laughter, community and a felt spirit of Notre Dame hospitality.
Founded almost forty years ago at the invitation of the SNDdeN General Government Group, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Women of Color continue to annually experience the richness of encountering our good God from their own cultures. The sisters spend time together to create new ways spread the richness of diversity to the congregation and beyond.
Most religious communities in the United States historically developed from American/European culture and traditions. The challenge before us is to continually build an environment that values and celebrates diversity as gift. This can include things such as styles of prayer, religious images, holiday celebrations and food. As a vibrant group fulfilling the dual roles of supporting one another and being a resource to the US SNDdeN community, the Women of Color continue to provide a vital service to the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
Over the course of the gathering, sisters enjoyed one another's company, discussed various ideas and prayed with one another drawing on the traditions represented in the group. For example, on Saturday evening Sister Magdelana sang the Lord's Prayer in Korean during the Mass. Each day began with a prayer service representing a different custom such as one lead by Sister Judy, which used a Native American approach facing north, south, east and west. as the prayer progressed.
Sisters Edie and Gail, United States Leadership Liaisons to the Women of Color joined the discussion on Sunday, which covered a range of topics including vocation/formation, the significance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas. Energized by the connections and events of the gathering, the SNDdeN Women of Color planned for their next gathering, which will take place in November 2019.