Faculty and staff gathered for the Academy's annual Retreat Day on Tuesday, August 27. Notre Dame's President Dr. Judith A. Dwyer welcomed Sister Camille Burns, SNDdeN, to lead a reflection and discussion of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and their legacy of global engagement and educational ministry.
Sister Camilla is currently a Professor at Trinity Washington University and was the Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Notre Dame from 2002 until 2008. She recounted the history of the Congregation's founding by Saint Julie Billiart in Amiens, France in 1804 and early relocation of the Sisters to Namur, Belgium in 1809 through the Congregations current global engagement. The seeds for the Congregation's global impact began with Saint Julie and the Bishop of Ghent's message to her in 1809, "You are not made to stay in one diocese; no, Mere Julie, it is your vocation to go anywhere in the world."
In 1840, the first Sisters traveled from Belgium to Cincinnati, Ohio to open a school and from there, schools were opened throughout the East Coast, including the Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, founded in Philadelphia in 1856. Notre Dame is one of the Congregation's oldest schools. The Sisters expanded their ministries throughout the world, and today they live and work in Africa, Japan, Europe, Latin America, and North America.
Sister Camilla reminded the faculty of Saint Julie's steadfast commitment to education, closing the retreat with advice from Saint Julie: “Be broadminded. Take a large view of all that belongs to religion. Form the hearts of your dear children to solid virtue, to be useful persons in society, great souls capable of doing good. The good God entrusts them to you.” Julie, L. 79
During the 2019-2020 academic year, faculty and students at every grade level will explore and integrate the "Hallmarks of a Notre Dame Learning Community" to express the spirituality and mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.