In March 2020, during the week before lockdown began, Notre Dame’s staff were busy preparing to support our students, educationally and pastorally. At this time, many of our teachers and support staff joined together and set up a Notre Dame prayer space using WhatsApp.
The purpose of this space was for staff to support each other spiritually, especially around the end of Lent and over the Easter Triduum. Members of the group have shared beautiful images to inspire or comfort their colleagues. There are regular prayers, reflection and hymns, chosen and lead by a different member of staff each time. Some have a Stella Maris theme, focusing on the virtues needed during these difficult times, or those we have witnessed in others, especially our key workers. Others have considered the needs of our students, staff, or families.
Since the beginning of May, the month dedicated to Notre Dame herself, the prayers have often turned to her as the mother of Jesus. One member of the group has called the prayer space 'a precious thing', as it gives spiritual support to staff who are experiencing the challenges of the lockdown in many different ways. All our staff need to do is turn to their mobile phones, and they find they are with others in prayer. This reminds them that they are not alone, but part of the Notre Dame community, rooted in faith, hope and, most of all, love. We are still witnessing in the 21st century the grace of St Julie and the Sisters of Notre Dame, and the goodness of God.
This is one of the hymns that has recently been chosen by a member of the group: John Rutter, For the Beauty of the Earth.