School Sisters of Notre Dame, Province of Africa
Group 10, Missionary Cooperation Plan 2020
“Our mission is to proclaim the good news as School Sisters of Notre Dame, directing our entire lives toward that oneness for which Jesus Christ was sent.” (You Are Sent, Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame)
This year of 2020 marks 50 years of service to the Church and people of Africa for SSND. The School Sisters of Notre Dame have sisters in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone. We also have one sister who will be in the new mission in Juba, South Sudan scheduled to open in a few months.
SSNDs are educators in all we are and do. Education is a means of transforming the lives of all those we serve, helping each person to reach the fullness of their potential. In Africa we do this through formal education in schools from kindergarten through the university level, giving particular care to girls, women, and youth at risk. We have begun and continue to support four secondary schools for girls in very rural parts of Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana in areas where the girls have had little chance for education to this level. In The Gambia, we have begun a Primary school working toward secondary level.
Sisters also educate through health care at Notre Dame Clinic in Ghana. Every person who comes to this clinic receives the treatment they need, whether they can pay fully or not. A maternity ward has been constructed to provide a safe, healthy environment for the women to deliver their babies. Several sisters minister in hospitals as well.
The spiritual formation of adults, pastoral care in parish settings, and social ministry with victims of HIV/AIDs and women in prison are also a part of the ministries in Africa. We continue to be open to the new calls of the Church on the continent as we discern our place within the many and varied needs presented by the bishops and by the circumstances in which we minister. Our outreach touches many through work with women’s groups, planning and participation in conferences and workshops, and involvement in helping the poor. In a very rural part of Kenya, an outreach to children orphaned by HIV/AIDs continues to serve 300 children and guardians.
There are also a number of sisters involved in the formation of the 16 young women who have requested to join us in the community. This formation begins in Kenya at our postulancy and then continues at our International Novitiate in Rome. Most of these young sisters then will need to go on to college or university to work for their degree in the field in which they will work. This education of our young sisters is an on-going need for us in Africa…a very happy problem! At this time we have 20 sisters in part and full-time study.
Currently, in the Province of Africa, we are 85 sisters: 71 African and 14 non-African (9 from US, 1 Germany, 4 Poland).