What
We Do

We are involved in a wide range of service ministries. Guiding our areas of service are our charism “to meet unmet needs,” our direction in the American Province to work to eliminate family violence and our history of support for women and families. All this is balanced with our talents and resources, our commitment to the poor and to particular circumstances.

Our Ministries

Many of the Notre Dame Sisters participate in a number of volunteer ministries outside of their assigned ministry.

Social Justice

Social
Justice

MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF THOSE IN SPECIAL NEED.

Sisters showing solidarity weekly at 72nd and Hickory in Omaha, NE.

We Sisters have always been risk-takers, in fact, it’s written into our vows. We, along with the Servants of Mary and Mercy Sisters all hold signs as a witness to the mothers and children separated from their families at the border. That’s right, every Thursday since June, 2019, we have stood there during rush hour to advocate for humane treatment of people crossing our borders. Sisters have often traveled to the US/Mexico border to serve people directly in migrant camps and elsewhere.

We have been working to make a difference in the lives of those in special need in Omaha since 1917. We have been at the forefront of social justice issues since before our arrival to the United States. Taking risks and meeting the needs of others has translated into decades of social justice work.

  • After coming to the US in 1911 we began teaching in various midwest states, eventually called to Omaha to help Father Flanagan with a new school for boys cast out of society. We started a similar school called Notre Dame Academy to serve girls. This school taught thousands of girls who were mostly boarders.
  •   In 1978, we saw the need for assisting domestic violence victims.  This led to a program called “The Shelter” which we funded and staffed.  The Shelter helped many women and eventually, we handed this off to the Archdiocese. Seeing that a need existed to help women after leaving a shelter we began a program called Safe Homes in the 1980’s. This program provides financial assistance for women and children leaving a shelter after successfully completing a program. This program continues today.
  • Seeing the need for affordable housing for seniors we established Notre Dame Housing in 1997 in our former academy.
  • Health and Wellness in Guatemala – Sister Mary Kay Meagher has been travelling there for decades now, and currently works with several groups in the Omaha area assisting with citizenship issues. A big focus in Guatemala is to help with clean drinking water for the community.
  • Sister Theresa Maly has been an advocate for life and human dignity, along with all of the Sisters for many years. Sister Theresa currently works tirelessly with those on death row and incarcerated.

And these are but a few examples of how active each and every Sister is! Even those who are more homebound now have ministries, and I encourage each of you to talk with Sister Margaret about them.

Safe
Homes

Our Safe Homes Ministry grows each and every year, and we are grateful to fill the unmet need domestic abuse shelters expressed to us: help women secure an apartment so they do not have to come back to the shelter, or worse, return to an abuser.

Arrests in the Omaha Metro area for domestic violence are up 49% over the past three years, and half of those arrested had previous assault charges, according to the Women’s Fund of Omaha. Moreover, our partners in six local shelters anticipate a 5-10% increase in women seeking shelter from violence in 2020. Your support can truly make a difference in the life of a woman and her children.

DIRECT SUPPORT TO WOMEN

In 2018, we sponsored 112 women and 150 children with financial assistance for a deposit on an apartment or first month’s utilities. We also provide encouragement during the first year to become successful renters. A Sister provides regular contact with the recipient to ensure timely rental payments and to help with additional community services.

How do the Notre Dame Sisters help?

Through our Safe Homes Program we provide start-up funds for people escaping domestic violence situations. We also help them rebuild their self-esteem damaged in abusive relationships, find employment and a home where they will be safe from harm.

Since 2009 this program has helped more than 700 individuals.

What can I do to help?

Respond

We are not powerless. If you see or hear something and it feels wrong in your gut, it probably is. Always err on the side of the potential survivor. You are obligated by law to report domestic abuse. Don’t be silent, call 911 to help.

Donate

You can change the lives of those affected by domestic violence when you donate to our Safe Homes Program. Your donations allow us to continue to help those escaping abuse, spread awareness and advocate for victims.

Donate Online.

Coalition on
Human Trafficking

The most vulnerable victims.

In 2014, we Notre Dame Sisters recognized human trafficking becoming an epidemic.

We teamed up with the Servants of Mary and the Sisters of Mercy to begin the Coalition on Human Trafficking. Last year was a huge accomplishment for us Notre Dame Sisters as the Coalition on Human Trafficking officially became its own 501© 3. This is the ultimate goal for all of our ministries – that they
eventually stand on their own.

Continual Need

Sex trafficking isn’t a problem
of the past – it’s an epidemic
in the here and now, even in
the Omaha Metro area. Today,
more people live in slavery
than at any other time is history.

Increased Interest

Since becoming its own
nonprofit, the Coalition has
since trained employees
in 35 additional hotels and
motels in a 50-mile radius for
a total of over 150 hospitality
organizations that have gone
through our (English and
Spanish) training program.
Other countries are also asking
for our training materials.

Your Role

After our training, you will
train staff at hotels and motels
around your community
about the signs of human
trafficking and how to
respond appropriately. If you
are interested in becoming
a volunteer trainer, please
complete the form at
notrafficking.org.

Recognize

You can’t stop what you don’t see, but the signs that someone is being trafficked aren’t hard to spot when you know what to look for. ​Victims of sex trafficking are rarely locked away in some private dungeon. They are held captive in plain view of ordinary people, disguised as relatives or friends of their victimizers.

Signs a person may be a sex trafficking victim:

  • Not in possession of their own identification or travel documents
  • Not free to move around independently, socialize at all or attend religious services
  • Of school age but not in school
  • Being deprived of food, water, sleep, medical care or other life necessities
  • Has few personal possessions
  • Seems fearful or anxious in normal situations
  • Has tattoos or other markings (e.g., bar codes) that show ownership
  • Has a much older sexual/romantic partner
  • Claims to be “just visiting” or “only passing through” with no ability to clarify reason for visit or final destination
  • Cannot speak on their own behalf

Signs a person may be a trafficker:

  • Carries multiple cell phones
  • Carries several hotel key cards
  • Suddenly acquires a lot of expensive things
  • Speaks for the “group”
  • Only pays cash for rooms

How do the Notre Dame Sisters help?

The Notre Dame Sisters collaborate with area organizations through the Coalition, working to increase awareness and provide education and training. The Coalition has trained more than 1,000 hotel/motel workers in the Omaha Metro on how to identify and respond to this crime.

How can I help?

Respond

We are not powerless. If you see something and it feels wrong in your gut, it probably is. Always err on the side of the potential survivor. To report suspected trafficking, call 911 or the National Trafficking Hotline at 888.373.7888.

Volunteer

In this role, you will train staff at hotels and motels around your community about the signs of human trafficking and how to respond appropriately if they suspect human trafficking is occurring in their establishments.

Donate

You can change the lives of those enslaved when you donate to help in the fight against human trafficking. Your donations allow us to continue to spread awareness and advocate for victims.

More Information
Become a Volunteer
Donate Online

Notre Dame
Housing, Inc.

Our property in Florene has served many purposes and met many needs since it was purchased over a 100 years ago. It is now a blessing to have senior citizens enjoying fantastic and affordable housing here.

NDH goes beyond basic housing and address the health, social, spiritual and physical needs of our residents, to give them the ability to live independently for as long as possible.

​NDH serves adults 55+ regardless of race, color, religion, sex, marital or civil union status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, place of birth, ancestry, citizenship, military or veteran status or disability.

ndhinc.org

​NDH serves adults 55+ regardless of race, color, religion, sex, marital or civil union status, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, place of birth, ancestry, citizenship, military or veteran status or disability.

NDH is very important to our lasting legacy. Senior housing is a growing need and we are proud to have recognized this in 1997. NDH remains:

  • the only nonprofit in Omaha offering affordable housing, social, and supportive services, along with a senior center for the larger community
  • at capacity with 118 residents
  • active in housing assistance, providing $231,719 in housing assistance last year
ndhinc.org

Weekly
Reflection

Reflection for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time…September 20, 2020

By Mary Toline,  Notre Dame Associate
In this parable Jesus told his disciples that the Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.  The laborers agreed to work for their usual daily wage and later other laborers showed up…

Read More