July 12 is an auspicious date for the Notre Dame community, as it’s when our foundress St Julie Billiart was born. What better way to celebrate her birthday than to invite a Sister of Notre Dame (SND) into college to speak to staff?
Sister Catherine Darby SND kindly visited us to lead our community in a morning of reflection and retreat. Her focus came from a passage in St Mark’s Gospel, the Calming of the Storm, where Jesus is asleep in a boat, but is awoken by his disciples when they become afraid. Sr Catherine drew parallels between the situation of the past 16 months and getting caught in a storm. She encouraged us to take time to repair ourselves and just be, knowing that God is with us in the storm as Jesus was on the boat.
At this point, staff were invited to go for a short walk or take some time for themselves. They then returned to Sr Catherine, who explained how St Julie had been in many storms in her life, and always trusted God for help. Sr Catherine reminded staff that our vocation is still the one St Julie envisioned over 200 years ago, and that education is the greatest work on earth. Her message to us is still to “teach whatever is necessary to equip the students for life.”
The morning ended with a short service, during which the staff choir sang Amazing Grace and Star of the Sea. Principal Mrs. Justine Barlow and Lay Chaplain Mr. Andrew Sullivan then thanked Sr Catherine for an incredibly moving and powerful day.