Sister Marie Smith stood outside her door checking the flowers, which had just been delivered to her office where she has served as the Director of the Spirituality Center in Cincinnati since 2015. Looking up with a characteristic warm smile, she welcomed me to the Center.
The flowers would decorate the tables of those attending a session on Forgiveness presented by Sister Linda Soucek, the first program of the new season. " We like to have something of beauty at each of our sessions," Marie explains. " It helps create the ambience for reflection and it is a vibrant reminder of the beauty of creation." Marie's passion for her ministry is obvious as she shares a brochure, which captures a full range of offerings, which will be presented over the coming year.
A key component of the Spirituality Center is the Saturday morning program. Over the years, the Spirituality Center has built up a following in the Cincinnati area. Through advertising and word of mouth new people are added to the audience and many newcomers become regular participants.
Marie grew up in Dayton and entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur after graduating from Julienne High School. She was an elementary school teacher before serving for many years as the principal at Corryville Catholic, an elementary school in downtown Cincinnati.
"I loved Corryville," Marie said. "The students and faculty were wonderful. All of us worked hard to create a learning environment that reflected the values of our Catholic tradition and provided the academic and support systems the students needed to succeed. "
Corryville will always be dear to Marie's heart.
She visits the school for special events during the year. "I am overwhelmed by the warm welcome I receive from the students, faculty and principal when I return. I love seeing them all and I find it gratifying to know that the school is doing so well."
In discussing the transition from principal in an urban school to director of a spirituality center at Mount Notre Dame, Marie said " I feel blessed to be involved in a learning process which helps others grow spiritually. It draws on the administrative skills I gained over the years and stretches me in new ways.
It gives me the opportunity to meet wonderful people -- our Spirituality Center Board, our presenters and the people who participate in our programs.
I appreciate living with five other sisters here at Mount Notre Dame in the Kateri Community. We all share a passion for mission and there support means a lot to me."
Marie participates in Adopt a Sister, a popular program sponsored by Mount Notre Dame High School. " A group of six students and I get together about once a month," Marie said. " We discuss anything from getting into college to upcoming events in their lives. I serve as an active listener, facilitator and supporter. Sometimes we have a more specific agenda. For example, this month we are reading a book about Sister Dorothy Stang, which we will discuss as a group. It is always an enjoyable and fulfilling experience to be with the students. "
For more information about the Notre Dame Spirituality Center, please check the following link: http://www.sndohio.org.