Continuing the Charism of the School Sisters of Notre Dame
By: Sister Donna Wermus, SSND and Board Member
A charism is a particular gift that a group or individual brings to others. For the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND), the charism is building community and educating especially women and the poor, enabling them to reach the fullness of their human potential.
When new Executive Director, Chris Flippo, first met the East Side Learning Center (ESLC) staff, she was profoundly affected by the community aspect of the SSND charism and experienced the warmth, genuineness, and welcoming atmosphere of ESLC. She wanted to be a part of it.
A mission-driven person who thrives in environments where her daily work helps people attain their potential, Chris has always been drawn to work with young children. “If it’s good for the children, it’s good for all of us,” is her mantra. and it echoes the mission of ESLC.
Chris expressed admiration for the courage of Blessed Mother Theresa, foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, for standing up to church leaders in order to do what was right – educate young women and children.
She believes that girls need role models who are strong leaders and Mother Theresa’s sole focus on the needs of children over pleasing others exemplifies her values. The SSNDs came to the United States many years ago to educate immigrant children. That is exactly what ESLC does today.
Chris says: “We empower the children of immigrants and girls and boys living in sometimes very difficult situations, to achieve their full potential. If they can read, they have an equitable chance at success regardless of their situation, background, culture, or country of birth. This is the transformative power of education, the heart of ESLC.”