2021 Update from the Notre Dame Sisters
2021 has held challenges similar to those of 2020 – challenging to 2020 – we are still battling the pandemic, staying safe and praying for those affected, especially those who write in and ask for prayers. We have seen its impact on our friends, family, former students, and prayer circles. We are still adjusting to the “new normal”. We pray for a return to the days when we wouldn’t think of putting a mask in our pocket when leaving the house. This might soon be a reality, however, and it won’t be too soon for many of us.
What we have learned about ourselves, our community, and our prayer life has been important to our ongoing formation and relationship with God. During the toughest, most isolating moments in life, the people who love us step in, step up, and make sure that we are supported and connected. To see the outpouring of letters, phone calls, prayers, and donations has been humbling.
Through these uncertain times, with your help, we have been able to maintain our ministries including supporting Omaha’s seniors at Notre Dame Housing, local women and children through Safe Homes, and hundreds of other people through individual ministries of the Sisters.
We are excited to see what the future holds for us. We look forward to seeing our alumnae in person this September for our reunion here at Notre Dame Housing, formerly Notre Dame Academy, and still the Motherhouse for our Omaha Province.
We Sisters and all residents of Notre Dame Housing were among the first groups to be vaccinated together, all receiving our first shot in February. We thank the Methodist Hospital Outreach Program for mobilizing a volunteer staff to vaccinate us right here at home. We can spend more time together and relax knowing that we all have the vaccine.
This has been an incredible year of transformation, but also a year of loss. We have lost many friends and relatives this year, including two Notre Dame Sisters — Sr. Mary Beth Kubesh in February and Sr. Barbara Markey in April. We continue to pray for your intentions and have more names on our list than ever before, with nearly 900 people we keep in our prayers!
Ministry Update – Notre Dame Housing
It’s been nearly 25 years that NDH has been opened doors to housing, health, and hope. Our apartments remain full with over 108 residents, including 14 Sisters. Since the beginning of the year, NDH has partnered with DP Management and Kimball Management Inc. to realize a new future for the residents who live here and the seniors who come to the Senior Center. While DP Management and Kimball will take over the day-to-day management of the community, NDH will retain the service coordination aspects. This gives our nonprofit staff the time and space to focus on serving individuals and groups in a holistic and unique way. The Sisters are excited about this change, knowing our legacy will live on.
The property on 35th and State Street has meant so much to so many over the past 100 years and has served so many purposes. We Sisters are proud to still call it home.
These six acres have evolved through the years from a farm, to our Motherhouse to Notre Dame Academy and now home to seniors. The grounds still have a historic feel and continue to help the community.
How can You Help
You can help us raise the funds for the land the Notre Dame Sisters still own. This is roughly 1.5 acres where our offices, gardens, and outdoor areas need attention. We need to invest back into this historic property and allow us to continue to utilize every part of our land. Some of our immediate needs include:
- Retaining Wall: This tall retaining wall on the west side of our building has never been replaced. It is past time, and with some help we can keep it in place for another 50 years or more
- Shalom building: There is a small building behind Notre Dame Housing where the Sisters have their offices. As we age, we need to make this building handicap accessible so any Sister can continue to come, work, and contribute to our ministries together.
- Grounds and gazebo: Our beautiful gardens spring up throughout the property; we still pick tomatoes and grapes from vines that grow along the fences, and flowers to decorate the chapel, and we still enjoy the shade of an oak tree still standing from when Mother Qualberta purchased Seven Oaks Farm. General repairs would improve the outdoor areas for Sisters, residents, and visitors.
These repairs are extensive, and we estimate the repair cost to be roughly $75,000, well above our projections. Your support will allow us to continue to live and work where we built our Motherhouse nearly 100 years ago.