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School Sisters of Notre Dame
elect international leadership team
and set future direction.
Rome, Italy – Thirty-seven School Sisters of Notre Dame from 11 countries came together 24 October – 17 November for their 25th General Chapter to elect a general council and set the future direction for the congregation for the next six years.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame hold a general chapter with elected and ex-officio representatives from each administrative unit (province) every six years. The theme of the Chapter was “Living into a prophetic witness of universal communion.”
Schwester M. Dominica Michalke was elected general superior at the chapter. She will work with a team of four elected general councilors: Sister Mary Kerber, general councilor/vicar; Sister Carolyn Anyega, general councilor; Sister Christine Garcia, general councilor; and Sester M. Martina Radež, general councilor.
Schwester M. Dominica Michalke was born in Berlin, Germany. She professed her vows in 1984 after completing the interprovincial novitiate in Bavaria. Sister M. Dominica worked in formal education for 25 years in several schools in Berlin and Bavaria. She served in elected leadership in her province (former Berlin Province now integrated with the Bavarian Province) and later on the general council for 10 years. Since 2020, she has been serving in the congregational project in South Sudan working in collaboration with the Comboni Missionaries in Old Fangak. Sister M. Dominica was in South Sudan when called to serve as General Superior. Initially connecting with the Chapter via technology, she was able to join in person for the last days as they discerned the Directional Statement and Acts of the Chapter that will guide the congregation for the next six years.
Sister Mary Kerber, general councilor/vicar-elect, is a native of the United States. She was professed in Mankato Minnesota and is now a member of the Province of Africa. She has spent 31 years in Africa, first in Kenya and then in Ghana. Much of her ministry has been in the field of adult education with teachers, catechists, seminarians and university students. She has also served in formation work on various levels in the United States and in Kenya. Her last 8 years in Ghana, she was District Leader for Africa as it prepared to become a Province and then its first Provincial Leader. After returning to the US in 2015, she worked at Notre Dame of Maryland University and is presently the Director of Mission at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.
Sister Carolyn Anyega, was reelected for a second term as a general councilor. She has served in this capacity for the last six years. Sister Carolyn is a native of Kenya. Before serving in congregational leadership, Sister Carolyn, served as headmistress of Notre Dame Senior Secondary School, Ghana. Previously she taught in schools and served as headmistress in both East and West Africa; worked as vocation director and in the formation of postulants; and served as temporary professed director. She was professed in 1997 in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa.
Sister Chrisine Garcia, general councilor-elect, was born in San Antonio, Texas. Prior to this call, she served for two-terms as provincial councilor for the Central Pacific Province. She professed vows as a School Sister of Notre Dame in 1978 and served in formal elementary education as teacher or principal for twenty years. Sister Christine responded to the community’s invitation to discern a call and to serve in Pakistan. Upon her return, S. Christine served in vocation ministry and as affiliate director for women discerning religious life. For five years, after a year of study of the border and ministry possibilities, she served with other SSNDs, the border community in collaborative and transformative education opportunities at the Arizona and Mexico border.
Sister M. Martina Radež, was reelected for a second term as general councilor. She is a native of Slovenia. After completing her studies in theology in 1986, she worked as a catechist in various parishes in Slovenia. Before serving in congregational leadership, she served as local leader of the community at Ilirska Bistrica, Slovenia, as well as worked in the Mother Theresa retreat center in Ilirska Bistrica. Previously, she served on the provincial council for three terms and in the formation of candidates, postulants, and junior sisters. She was a novice in the Bavarian Province and professed her first vows in 1980 in Munich, Germany.
The newly elected general council members will begin their six-year term when they are installed on 20 January 2024, at the Generalate in Rome, Italy.
Future Direction of the Congregation
The Call and Acts of the 25th General Chapter, which set the direction for the congregation for the next six years, was the result of a year-long congregation-wide consultation before the Chapter and intense dialogue and prayerful reflection during the Chapter. The Call and Acts will be shared on the congregational website when all translations have been completed. The newly elected general council will lead the congregation in implementing the Spirit-inspired direction set by the Chapter members.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame is an international congregation of more than 1,800 women religious in 27 countries. Their mission, to deepen communion with God and among all people, is lived out in ministries focused on education. They educate with a world vision believing that the world can be changed through the transformation of persons. The congregation, founded on October 24, 1833, by Blessed M. Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger in Bavaria, recently celebrated its 190th anniversary.
For more information, visit the international website www.gerhardinger.org or contact
Sister Maria Iannuccillo, congregational communications coordinator, at email@example.com.