By Jill Bateman ‘15
Members of the General Council of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, based in Rome, Italy, visited NDP Tuesday, April 21. As part of the sisters’ visit, NDP hosted a special assembly featuring student speakers and musicians. Senior Jill Bateman opened up the ceremony with these remarks.
One of the first things you will see when you walk these halls is a sea of blue dresses. To fully understand who we are I thought it was appropriate to read to you a parable that I wrote for my philosophy class. Through this simple story, I think you will understand what Notre Dame is all about.
There once was a girl who wore a blue dress, not quite the color of the night sky, not quite the color of the blue sea, but a color that shouted innocence and contentment. One day she came across a woman wearing no clothes. The girl kindly said to her, “Here take my dress, for when you do I promise you will feel happy. You will feel included and a sense of belonging.” The woman took the dress and began to put it on. “This dress is heavy,” she said. The girl in blue simply replied “Well, you are right. If you wear this dress, you may feel as if you must fit in. You may be worried about the mold set, and filling that mold perfectly. You will probably feel pressure that you have never felt before, regarding school, social life, friends, clothes, accessories and items that you own, the size of your house. You will constantly be concerned about what is expected of you. Some of this comes with growing up, but yes, some of it does come from the blue dress.”
The woman handed back the dress. “I do not want this dress,” she said. But the girl in blue did not throw the dress down in a heap. Instead she responded to the woman, “While there is weight that this dress carries, there is a trick to this dress. It has two sides to it. You can take the heavy side, or you can choose the light side of the dress.” The girl handed back the dress, which somehow had lost all of its weight. “This dress,” the girl said, “is one of the best dresses you can wear. This dress teaches you how to be a part of a community, how to be unified, but also how to be an individual in that unity. This dress provides you the opportunity to make your own choices, to raise your voice, and to stand up for what you believe in. This dress will open the door to so many opportunities, and it will help you determine what your passion is. This dress could change your life”.
With that said the girl in blue took back her dress realizing that she could never part with something that was such an essential part of the person she had become.
The blue dress is just part of who we are at Notre Dame and it challenges us each day to live by the words written on our cafeteria wall: to “act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with God. It is in wearing these blue dresses that we strive also to live out the vision of Blessed Mother Teresa Gerhardinger of Jesus [foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame].