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February 2011

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In This Issue
The Power of the Sun
Peru:One Sister's Story
Investing in South Africa's Future
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Sr. Dorothee laying new wire for photovoltaic system
Sr. Dorothée Moya and U.S. contractor Louis Casey lay wire for a photovoltaic system in Congo.
The Power of the Sun
Kerosene lanterns for light. Water drawn from wells and boiled before drinking. Cooking over open flames.Staying in touch via two-way radios due to lack of landlines and cell phones.This describes the typical living conditions of the majority of our Sisters working in remote missions in the  Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria until four short years ago. Conditions in these missions improved drastically when the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur began installing photovoltaic electricity-generating systems in our most dire missions. Read about our initiative in The Boston Globe.
Using the power of the sun to generate electricity for mission clinics and classrooms has made a world of difference to our Sisters and the people they serve in these African nations. The benefits are numerous: electric lights, water filtration systems, computer connections to the rest of the world. Installing the photovoltaic systems was one thing. Keeping them operational is another. That's why Sisters in Congo and Nigeria must be trained as on-site electrical engineers, IT specialists and technicians to perform the maintenance work themselves.
Read more about how you can help.

You are invited...
To open your heart as wide as the world.
You don't need to be a billionaire or a celebrity  -- or even a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur -- to embrace good works.  All you need to do is align yourself with our mission and open your heart as wide as the world. With our own hearts open wide, we have been planting seeds of sustainability and promoting God's goodness in the world's most abandoned places for more than two centuries.

The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur is a religious congregation of Catholic women numbering approximately 1,500 worldwide. We work in 17 countries on five continents, providing education, sustenance, opportunity and dignity to people living in poverty. Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have been advocates for impoverished peoples since 1804 when Saint Julie Billiart founded the Congregation. Our Motherhouse is located in Namur, Belgium.
  
Peru: One Sister's Story
Sister Marleny in Peru
Sister Marleny (standing center front) with rural school children in Peru.
Sister Marleny Bardales Raymundo spends her days among the children of Peru. As the superintendent of a school system known as Fe Y Alegria (Spanish for "Faith and Happiness") comprised of 31 schools scattered throughout 15 remote villages, Sister Marleny  is constantly on the road. Whether she is lurching over dirt roadways in a pickup truck to an elementary school in the mountains or traveling by boat up the country's back waterways to visit the teacher and students of a "one-teacher school," Sister Marleny's goal is the same: to ensure the highest quality education and opportunity possible for the children in her charge.Read more about Sister Marleny's work in Good Works magazine.

Students at St. Peter Claver School process in front of school's crumbling foundation.
Investing in South Africa's Future
For more than a century, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have coped with shifting political realities. During South Africa's decades of apartheid, we operated schools that educated wealthy white students while using a portion of those schools' revenues to educate children living in segregated impoverished black communities. Now that apartheid is officially ended, our work has only increased. We have established adult educational centers in various impoverished townships in order to educate an entire generation of adult South Africans who have never before attended school. One of these adult educational centers is located in a former "whites only" boarding school in the transitional neighborhood of Kroonstad. After years of neglect during political unrest, the building is in drastic need of repair and support.
Another school needing immediate repair is our St. Peter Claver School for elementary children in a nearby impoverished township. Originally built of sub-standard materials during apartheid, the school is decaying. Notre Dame Mission Volunteer Sarah Moran has spent the last year teaching children in one of the school's decrepit classrooms. Despite their physical surroundings, Sarah and the children have accomplished amazing results. An excerpt from Sarah's blog provides a fascinating account of her experiences and hope for the future. Read more on our web site about the creative ways the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur live out our mission in South Africa. 
February is an important month for us...

Our religious congregation was founded by Julie Billiart in France on Feb. 2, 1804. St. Julie had a mystical vision of  women spreading out across the globe to teach and minister to people living in poverty in the world's most abandoned places, a vision and mission we live to this day.

February 12, 2005
, is another important date for us. This was the day that Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Dorothy Stang was gunned down by rebels opposed to her work on behalf of the impoverished and underprivileged people of Brazil.

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have been standing with impoverished people in the face of social injustice and mistreatment for centuries. We invite you this February to stand with us and support our work across the globe.

In peace and gratitude,
Sr. Leonore Coan
Director of Mission Support
 
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Congregational Mission Office
 
P.S. We would love to hear from you! Now that we have told you a little bit about us, we
 would like to know a little bit about you. Did you attend a school or parish program with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur? What did you find interesting in this e-newsletter? What would you like to know more about? Please e-mail us.
We look forward to hearing from you!