Hearts as Wide as the World
One year ago, the Trinity family gathered to celebrate the life of our beloved President Emerita Sr. Margaret Claydon, SND, Class of 1945 (photo above) who died on February 1, 2020. Little did we know, at that time, how radically our world would change just a few weeks later due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sr. Margaret’s Mass of Resurrection was one of the last times the Trinity family — alumnae, students, faculty, friends — were able to gather. It was a great send-off for one of the most important figures in Trinity’s history. I am so deeply grateful to all alumnae and friends whose contributions to the Sr. Margaret Claydon Scholarship Fund are now close to $500,000. Thank you for this great tribute to Sr. Margaret!
During the last year, the Sisters of Notre Dame have suffered other losses, some due to Covid-19 or other illnesses. Trinity mourns these losses with the SND family, and especially those women whose devotion to Trinity and our students made our mission so vital across the decades.
In my last blog, we paid tribute to Sr. Ann Gormly, SND, Class of 1945, Professor of Spanish and Dean of Students in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. So many alumnae have written about the many ways in which Sr. Ann influenced their lives, particularly challenging them to work for social justice.
Last week we learned of the death of Sr. Anne Denise Blake, SND, Class of 1964. Sr. Anne Denise (photo left) was a valued administrative colleague during the 1980’s and early 1990’s at Trinity, serving in numerous roles including as Secretary to the Board of Trustees. That particular job was quite strenuous in those years as Trinity’s presidency changed hands several times and Sr. Anne Denise had to help each new president learn the ropes of governance. When I was a new president, so long ago, I remember her patiently sitting in my office reviewing Board minutes or reminding me of essential policies and forms of communication with the Board. Her attention to detail and her eagerness to make sure that Trinity could thrive were marvelous to experience.
In early January, Sr. Teresa McElwee, SND, Class of 1971 (photo right) died at her community in Apopka, Florida. While she did not work at Trinity, our students and alumnae who visited the Hope Community Center in Apopka certainly knew Sr. Teresa. She collaborated with Sr. Ann Kendrick, SND, Class of 1966 and other SNDs in Apopka to develop the ministry to farmworker families in that region, a project that grew into the remarkable Hope Community Center. Sr. Teresa devoted her life to working for justice and peace, and she received numerous awards and accolades including the very distinguished Papal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Award.
These women are just a few of the remarkable examples of devotion to mission and service that characterize the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. I have written and spoken often of their central role in founding and nurturing the growth of Trinity; they have done the same in a great array of ministries throughout the world.
As we remember the great sisters who have done so much for so many, let’s reflect on the mission of the SNDs and think about the ways that all of us in the Trinity community — lay persons, persons of many different faiths and backgrounds — share in the gifts that the SNDs have given to us, and because of those gifts, the responsibilities we have to continue their work in all of the places in which we serve “with hearts as wide as the world.”
SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME DE NAMUR
making known God’s goodness… educating for life.
Sisters of Notre Dame,
women with hearts as wide as the world,
make known God’s goodness and love
with and among people living in poverty,
through a Gospel way of life, community and prayer.
Continuing a strong educational tradition,
we take our stand with people living in poverty,
especially women and children,
in the most abandoned places.
Each of us commits her one and only life
to work with others to create justice and peace for all.