On Thursday, December 3, the Chaminade Julienne school community, along with representatives from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, gathered to commemorate and celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Sisters’ arrival in the U.S. The celebration also served as the unveiling of the Sr. Dorothy Stang '49, SNDdeN Ohio Historical Marker.
"The marker will be a great addition to the city and community," said Sr. Judi Clemens '58, SNDdeN.
On October 31, 1840, a group of eight pioneering women came to Cincinnati, Ohio from Belgium at the invitation of Bishop John Purcell to build a strong Catholic school system in the dioceses. Only one of the Sisters spoke English at the time of their arrival.
With these eight women came the establishment of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in the Unites States, an order initially founded in France in 1804. Within ten weeks of their arrival, the Sisters had started a high school, academy, and a free school for the poor. In the order’s now 175 years of history in the U.S., the Sisters have established more than 100 schools, including Notre Dame Academy in Dayton, a predecessor school of Chaminade Julienne Catholic School, and have taught in more than 200 schools in 22 states.
"They were following St. Julie's beliefs, to teach all that is needed for life, as they lived the revelation of God's goodness, " Sr. Judi told the CJ community during the ceremony.
"Looking back, I realize how excited I was about the thought of getting a historical marker," said Johnson. "To be a part of the process to get it here today is amazing."
Sr. Dorothy was murdered in February 2005 while doing missionary work in Brazil. Johnson and Phadke said a history class assignment prompted them to consider a group of historical Ohio figures who could be recognized with an Ohio Historical Marker.
"We were told to fill out an application for an Ohio Historical Marker in hopes that it would get approved," Johnson explained.
"It was interesting because I didn't know a lot about historical markers before this project," Phadke noted.
After learning more about Sr. Dorothy's martyrdom and her mission, the pair said they were excited to apply and be approved for an Ohio Historical Marker honoring Sr. Dorothy.
"It is amazing how Sr. Dorothy did everything even with a bounty on her," Phadke said. "We are glad that this marker can be a tribute to her and we're glad it is at Chaminade Julienne so it can be seen by everyone."
Sr. Judi added, "Those girls were inspired, and that's what we want to happen. The marker is not private property of CJ or the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur; Dorothy is a global citizen."
The official dedication of the marker will be held at a later date.