*We, School Sisters of Notre Dame, hold as essential to our constitution, life and mission,

  • Jesus Christ, who was sent by the Father, sends us in the power of the Spirit, to proclaim the gospel by our lives;
  • the church, which by its very nature, continues the presence and mission of Christ;
  • the world, which is the concrete situation in which we carry out Christ’s mission;
  • our charism, which gives focus to our life and mission.
Blessed M. Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger

Our charism, gift of the Spirit, was embodied in
Blessed Mary Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger,
who, longing for the oneness of all in God,
grounded the congregation in Eucharist, anchored it in poverty, and dedicated it to Mary.

A woman of faith, ever seeking God’s will,
she struggled for unity in our international community and responded to urgent needs,
preferring the poor and educating with a world vision.

In these gifts of the Spirit to our foundress, Mother Theresa,
we recognize the evolving charism of our congregation.

Our charism flows from our spiritual heritage, especially the gifts of

St. Augustine,
who formed a community to be of one heart and one soul in God,
seeing in the Trinity the basis, source and goal of all community;

St. Augustine
St. Peter Fourier
St. Peter Fourier

Blessed Alix Le Clerc and St. Peter Fourier,
who gave new direction to religious life,
insisting that ministry be integral to the community they founded;

Bishop Michael Wittmann and Francis Sebastian Job,
who held Christian education for girls as their special concern,
understanding what woman must be if the human family were to improve;

Bishop Michael Wittmann
Father Francis Sebastian Job
Painting of Mother Caroline Friess

Mother Caroline Friess,
who, through courageous leadership,
adapted the congregation to life on another continent,
perceptively reading the signs of the times,
risking innovative response to the needs of the new world.

Our charism continues to develop in the living community,

which, enriched by the past,
enables the congregation
to unfold in the present and
to be challenged by the future.

In a spirit of creative fidelity to Jesus Christ, the church, and our charism,
we commit ourselves, as members of a religious institute of pontifical right dedicated to apostolic works,
to continue the mission of Christ for which we have been consecrated.

Through the power of the Spirit, we carry out this mission particularly through

our efforts toward unity,
our community life,
our ministry directed toward education,
our common search for and doing of God’s will.

Mary, mother of the church and of our congregation,
gently challenges us:

Detail of the statue of Mary in the Generalate Chapel, Rome.

Our Symbol

Congregational symbol

This symbol, which many of us wear as a pin or pendant,
was designed exclusively for the School Sisters of Notre Dame and
allows us to identify ourselves to each other and to those with whom we work and come into contact.

The cross symbolizes Christ, the center of our lives.

The circle calls to mind community and the world we serve.

The M represents Mary, the mother of the congregation.