Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Combat Generational Poverty in U.S.

Children raised in generational poverty must dig themselves out of a hole just to get to the playing field. Read how one Sister of Notre Dame de Namur helps impoverished women overcome the legacy of parents and grandparents.
St. Margaret's House teaches silk painting as means of employment  and enjoyment
St. Margaret's House teaches silk painting as means of employment and enjoyment
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* Notre Dame Sisters
* Generational Poverty
* Impoverished Women

* Non-profit
* Religion

* Ipswich - Massachusetts - US

IPSWICH, Mass. - April 24, 2013 - PRLog -- At St. Margaret’s House, a day center for impoverished women in South Bend, Ind., Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Betty Smoyer is all too familiar with statistics. She can recite from memory federal guidelines and definitions of poverty. She can rattle off any number of poverty’s insidious effects on educational achievement and social disintegration. But statistics aren’t what motivate and move her; stories do – especially the stories of women suffering on the streets.

“Poverty is a matriarchal culture,” said Sister Betty. “Impoverished women have responsibility for the children, but women themselves are vulnerable – physically as well as emotionally – and lack support structures.”

Generational poverty is the norm for guests who frequent St. Margaret’s, where Sister Betty works three different jobs. (In addition to being the assistant coordinator of volunteers and kitchen manager, she is a guest services staff member.) The majority of the women who take advantage of the training programs, self-empowerment seminars and resources for daily living offered at St. Margaret’s have been born into poverty.

“Children raised in generational poverty have to dig themselves out of a hole just to get to the playing field,” said Sister Betty. “They face enormous obstacles.”

Easing their way up and out of a life that has been handed down from generation to generation is the objective behind the programs offered at St. Margaret’s. One of its most successful is the nationally acclaimed “Bridges Out of Poverty” program. It helps participants understand the context of poverty, the hidden rules of class structure and the values and norms of the middle class. Another is St. Margaret’s own “Steps to Success,” a practical job skills program designed to help participants find and keep employment.

“When you provide people with an understanding as to the way things are and you offer them concrete skills and steps to move beyond those limits, it brings new hope to their lives,” said Sr. Betty.

To read a powerful story of hope, 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:Notre Dame Sisters, Generational Poverty, Impoverished Women
Industry:Non-profit, Religion
Location:Ipswich - Massachusetts - United States
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