Related: Catholic issues, Religion, Sisters of Notre Dame, Social Justice Issues

Sisters of Notre Dame


Love this photo of our alumnae Susan Tew ’62 and Louise Hallahan Stakelin ’76 visiting Sr. Margaret Claydon!

Susan Margaret LouiseAnd if you have not already seen Sr. Margaret’s video greeting for the new year, please scroll down to the next blog…!

Last week, I wrote to our large Trinity family about a change in the residence of the Sisters of Notre Dame who are now living at Trinity.  The text of the letter is below.  The SNDs mean so much to all of us who have shared in their mission and ministry at Trinity, and we are working to be sure that their influence and presence continues in many ways on campus.  We are so fortunate that Sr. Mary Johnson, SND and Sr. Camilla Burns, SND are on our faculty.  Sr. Mary Johnson, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies, is a nationally renowned scholar on religious life, and her recent book New Generations of Catholic Sisters is widely acclaimed.  Sr. Camilla Burns, Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, is a highly respected theologian and expert in ministry.

Together, Sr. Mary Johnson and Sr. Camilla Burns, along with then-Campus Minister Sr. Mary Ellen Dow, SND, created the Billiart Center for Social Justice.  Named in honor of the founder of the Sisters of Notre Dame St. Julie Billiart, the Billiart Center provides a rich intellectual program of lectures, discussions and social justice projects to ensure the vitality of the mission and charism of the Sisters of Notre Dame at Trinity.  Check out the Spring 2016 line-up of lectures and events at the Billiart Center!

Below is the text of my letter to the Trinity family concerning changes in the SND residence at Trinity:

President’s Letter to the Trinity Family

shield transparentJanuary 6, 2016

Dear Alumnae, Alumni and Friends in the Trinity Family,

In every season, some change is inevitable, and as the year 2016 dawns at Trinity, I wanted to share with you some news about the Sisters of Notre Dame in residence at Trinity. In the last few months, the SNDs at Trinity have engaged in a process of discernment about their future home. The sisters have found it increasingly challenging to live as a relatively small community in the very large spaces of Main Hall. The convent at Trinity once accommodated scores of sisters, but today just eight sisters remain in this very large residence. All but two of the sisters are fully retired. The discernment process led the sisters to decide to move out of this very large house into smaller and more manageable environments. Several will head to Villa Julie in Baltimore. Those who are still active in teaching and service to Trinity will live nearby in smaller residences. These moves will occur in the next six months.

As you may recall, late last year Sr. Margaret Claydon moved to Mount Notre Dame in Cincinnati where she is receiving excellent care following a fall on campus. (I visited her just this past weekend and she is doing very well, and sent a video greeting that you can see on my blog.) She will remain in residence at Mount Notre Dame; we hope that she will be able to return to Trinity for events such as reunion and the dedication of our new academic center.

The Sisters of Notre Dame are an integral part of the fabric of Trinity, and the values, faith and charism of the SNDs that inform Trinity’s mission are timeless. Trinity and the SNDs will continue our inseparable partnership even as the sisters retire from residence on campus. Sr. Patricia O’Brien chairs our board of trustees and other SNDs continue on the board. Sr. Mary Hayes continues as Trinity’s archivist. Sr. Camilla Burns and Sr. Mary Johnson continue as members of our faculty and leaders of the Billiart Center for Social Justice. The Billiart Center was specifically created to be sure that the animating values of St. Julie and the SNDs continue at Trinity even with new forms of relationship.

All of us at Trinity owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Sisters of Notre Dame for their vision, courage and steadfastness in ensuring the vitality of Trinity’s mission. The best — and still most revolutionary! — idea at Trinity was the idea of the Sisters of Notre Dame to found this college. Thousands of Trinity alumnae and alumni have thrived thanks to the work of the SNDs, and their mission and influence in the world continues in the work of our graduates.

Our gratitude to the Sisters of Notre Dame is immense, and we look forward to continuing to enjoy their moral and spiritual influence, wise guidance and passionate commitment to social justice as we work together in advancing the mission of Trinity in the years to come.

With gratitude to the Sisters of Notre Dame,

Patricia McGuire ’74

Share your comments and tributes to Sr. Margaret and the Sisters of Notre Dame by posting a comment using the link below…. or send me your messages (and photos!) at and I will post them here!

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Patricia A. McGuire, President, Trinity, 125 Michigan Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20017
Phone: 202.884.9050   Email: