Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Work as Farmers and Catering Directors

Primarily educators, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have expanded into any number of professions. Why? To work more effectively with impoverished people across the globe. The emphasis is always on empowering others and eliminating poverty.
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Notre Dame Sisters


Ipswich - Massachusetts - US

Nov. 27, 2012 - PRLog -- Overseeing the nuts and bolts of food production and preparation is not explicitly written into the mission statement of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Why, then, are Sisters engaged in agricultural science, poultry farming and catering?

Because, says Sister Leonore Coan, Director of Mission Support for the international congregation, food security is the single most important issue facing impoverished people.

"Lack of access to food creates despair, decreases opportunity, increases serious illness, shortens life spans and promotes violence across the globe," said Sister Leonore.  "Increasing access to food and sustainable food production is, in fact, at the very heart of our mission to live the Gospel."

That thinking explains why the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur:

● Operate Power Inspires Progress, a job-training center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where inner city residents learn business management through a catering business and onsite pizzeria.

● Released Congregation-owned land to impoverished farmers for communal crop cultivation in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

● Operate a food security program called Chickens for Congo, which manages the care, feeding and distribution of chickens as well as the distribution of eggs to hungry families in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

● Partnered with UPS as well as the International Medical Equipment Collaborative to ship tools and farm supplies to isolated mountain communities in Peru.

In all these instances, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are fulfilling what the Congregation considers to be its purpose: teaching others how to become self-sufficient while recognizing and cultivating their intrinsic value as members of the human family.

Behind all these initiatives is the belief that people with consistent access to nutritious food are able to learn and apply their knowledge for the betterment of themselves, their families and their communities -- baby steps toward economic justice and integral to promoting the Kingdom of God on earth. Since the founding of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1804, Sisters have served primarily as teachers, with the understanding that education is the root of social justice and a powerful tool to eliminate poverty.

"Everything is connected," said Sister Leonore. "We cannot ignore basic survival problems and insist on limiting ourselves to teaching. We are called to stand with impoverished people in the world’s most abandoned places – no matter what form that takes."

To read stories about the Sisters’ involvement with food production and distribution, visit:

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur are an international Congregation of women religious, founded by St. Julie Billiart (1751-1816) in Amiens, France in 1804. The Congregation is committed to making known God’s goodness through education in a variety of ministries. Sisters serve on five continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America, and work to change lives by a “fundamental commitment to stand with our sisters and brothers who live in poverty and accompany them in their struggle.” Offices/centers are located in Rome, ITALY, Namur, BELGIUM and Ipswich, MA, USA.  Visit our web site at:
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Tags:Food Security, Notre Dame Sisters, Poverty
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Location:Ipswich - Massachusetts - United States
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