School Sisters of Notre Dame

School Sisters of Notre Dame

School Sisters of Notre Dame is a worldwide order of Roman Catholic nuns devoted to primary, secondary, and post-secondary education.

Founding and growth

The order was founded in Bavaria in 1833 during a time of poverty and illiteracy. Its founder, Caroline Gerhardinger, known by the religious name of "Mary Theresa of Jesus", formed a community with two other women in Neunburg vorm Wald to teach the poor.

In 1847 Mother Theresa and five companion sisters went to America to aid a group of German immigrants in rural Pennsylvania. That same year the sisters staffed schools in three German parishes in Baltimore, Maryland: St. James, St. Michael, and St. Alphonsus, as well as opening the Institute of Notre Dame, a private school for German girls. Eventually the sisters traveled as far west as Mankato, MN, establishing several missions for their order.

More than 4,300 School Sisters of Notre Dame work in thirty-five countries in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.


The Constitution of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, approved by Pope Pius IX in 1865, allowed Mother Theresa and her successors, instead of local bishops, to govern the order. Today, the order has US motherhouses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Baltimore, Maryland; St. Louis, Missouri; Mankato, Minnesota; Waterdown, Ontario; Covington, Kentucky; and Dallas, Texas. Motherhouses are located in Europe and South America as well, and the Generalate of the Congregation is found in Rome, Italy.

Nun Study

678 members of the order in the U.S. are participating in the Nun Study, a longitudinal study of aging and Alzheimer's disease initiated in 1986. The homogeneous life style of the nuns makes them an ideal study population. Convent archives have been made available to investigators as a resource on the history of participants. Of the 677 nuns which include Sister Kathleen Treanor, 93 and Sister Antoine Daniel, 96, only 61 surviving nuns recently completed their last rounds of intellectual and physical tests for the Nun Study. The nuns decided to donate their brains to science. They acknowledged the success to Dr. David Snowdon, epidemiology professor of University of Minnesota in 1986. In 1992, he administered annual memory and cognitive tests to 678 nuns ranging in age from 75 to 102. [ [, Nuns Leave Their Brains to Science] ]

ee also

* Academia del Perpetuo Socorro
* Colegio Católico Notre Dame
* Institute of Notre Dame
* College of Notre Dame of Maryland
* Notre Dame Academy and Convent

External links

* [ School Sisters of Notre Dame]
* [ School Sisters of Notre Dame, Mankato Province]



Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.