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Notre Dame Sisters


Formerly known as the School Sisters de Notre Dame (ND, Official Catholic Directory #2960), a pontifical religious congregation dedicated to strengthening family life, especially through various forms of educational work in Midwestern United States. The headquarters of this American province, one of four in the congregation, is in Omaha, Nebraska. The congregation traces its origins to Loffaine, France, where in 1597 (Blessed) Alix LeClerc and (St.) Peter Fourier organized a religious congregation of women to educate young girls, specifically the poor.

Two centuries later, Fr. Gabriel Schneider (d. 1867) collaborated with M. Karoline Gerhardinger to bring a branch of the School Sisters of Notre Dame from Germany to Bohemia, again to educate the poor, especially neglected girls. When this partnership did not come to completion, Fr. Gabriel began his own congregation of the Poor School Sisters de Notre Dame on Aug. 15, 1853. After its beginnings in Hirschau, it moved its headquarters to Horazdovice, where it remained until in 1950 when communism forced the sisters to relocate to Javornik. Today the general motherhouse is located in Hradec Karlovel, in the Czech Republic.

In 1910 many bishops invited the congregation to come to the United States to care for the spiritual needs of the Czech immigrants. Mother Qualberta Krivanec led five sisters to Fenton, Missouri, to take charge of an orphanage there. As new members joined, they moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where they established their headquarters. In these early years, they assisted Fr. Edward J. flanagan in the formative years of Boys Town. With continued growth they staffed schools in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota.

The Notre Dame Sisters (so called in the United States to distinguish them from the SSND groups) are called to strengthen family life through education, counseling, nursing, archdiocesan and parish work, and missionary work. They advocate for non-violence in all areas of their ministries. They also advocate for the elderly, especially through Seven Oaks of Florence, an independent living complex for low-income and frail elderly in Omaha. They are located in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska and Honduras.

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