On Friday, October 24, the NDP community joins with School Sister of Notre Dame sponsored institutions around the globe to celebrate Foundation Day and the beginnings of the SSNDs. This amazing community of women ministers on five continents all with a single focus—the transform the world through education.
Notre Dame Prep has great respect for legacy—especially the legacy of those generations of former graduates who walked the halls of both the Charles Street campus and the Hampton Lane grounds. Their legacy continues to enrich the present students. And by understanding the origins of the School Sisters of Notre Dame one can really appreciate how this inheritance has far-reaching influences for NDP’s future.
On Foundation Day we celebrate the memory of the first woman whose work is living and breathing in these very halls. Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger did not envision a life of teaching. It happened quite by God’s plan for her life. She said, “Yes,” when faced with a daunting task. She felt called by Jesus to teach. Furthermore, she decided to teach young women. By focusing on teaching young women, she believed a stable foundation for the entire family would be provided and a strong future would be guaranteed. In so choosing, she transformed the world not only for young women, but also for entire generations of families, including those who walk our halls today.
On Friday, October 24, 2014, NDP will remember the 181st anniversary of the founding of the School Sisters of Notre Dame by Blessed Theresa. The beginnings of the SSNDs did not arrive with a grand fanfare. The SSND congregation started simply when Blessed Theresa and two other women committed their lives to Jesus through their work as educators.
Forty years later, in 1873, NDP’s legacy began based on the vision of Blessed Theresa. Right here in Baltimore, we will be celebrating 141 years of educating young women. NDP can boast a marvelous tradition of educating women “who transform the world.” Just look at the list of alumnae and note that each and every girl who attended NDP has been strongly influenced by the vision of a woman whom they never met. However, that woman left them a legacy, a gift, so they could give that gift to others.
The SSND charism of unity and the educational ministry of Blessed Theresa continues to be the driving force for NDP’s education today. The strong sense of sisterhood and commitment to excellence is imbued throughout the legacy, and is embodied by our headmistress, Sr. Patricia McCarron. This inheritance continues to be a part of the NDP fabric. It is not just a part of the past. NDP continues to live it in the present so it remains part of NDP’s future. One hundred eighty-one years and still going strong. What a legacy!