"Sharing the goodness of God's love with the world."
The Spiritual Life Department at Notre Dame seeks to accompany each young woman on her personal faith journey. The Department seeks to serve the head, heart and hands of our students through combining our classroom curriculum with our ministry work. The Spiritual Life Department works closely with the Health and Wellness Program to ensure that the social, emotional, and spiritual growth of each student is supported during her four years with us.
Each year of Notre Dame's four-year program has a different emphasis that is supported by retreats and community service opportunities. The focus points are reflective of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's framework as well as best practices related to age-appropriate emotional and spiritual development. Notre Dame welcomes all faith backgrounds and supports each student as she engages with the content through the lens of her personal faith tradition.
The freshman year theme focuses on “loving yourself.” The curriculum encourages students to learn more about who they are as individuals as well as introducing them to Saint Julie Billiart, the Foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. The Hallmarks of a Notre Dame Sisterhood are a focus of study as a faith community. The students also explore moral development as it pertains to faith. The theological focus is on the Old Testament, also known as Hebrew Scriptures or the Torah.
The sophomore year theme focuses on “loving God.” During this year, students go deeper into their faith and beliefs while examining the New Testament and exploring Gospel values. This year also allows students to explore the idea of holy people and what they can do to move towards Pope Francis' call for all people to be holy. Students begin to discover what their passions are and what their vocation is as they live out God’s calling for them.
The junior year theme is on “loving your neighbor.” This pushes the students beyond themselves as they study the social teachings of the Catholic Church and their call to social justice. Various social issues such as gender inequality and racism are addressed along with their call to action. Service in the community assists in developing women of vision, compassion, and impact. World religions are also studied with a focus on understanding universal truths and loving people of all faith traditions and backgrounds.
The senior year theme is on “loving the world.” This course combines the previous three years as students are asked to think more deeply about their passion and to engage in an extensive process of exploring that passion, culminating as a formal presentation of their "Passion Project" in the Spring. In preparation for life beyond high school, students are also guided through a multitude of practical life skills.
All students participate in grade-level retreats designed to support the topics addressed in the classroom. Along with class retreats, juniors and seniors have the option of attending a KAIROS (meaning "God's Time") retreat in either the fall or spring semester. Previous KAIROS participants are encouraged to be retreat leaders, exercising their faith and leadership potential.
Students also have a graduation requirement of 80 community service hours, which reflect the themes of each year. Students tie their community service into their culminating senior year Passion Project. They are given many resources both in and out of the classroom to explore populations and causes they are passionate about and find service agencies they enjoy volunteering with. They are also asked to complete “NDB Hours,” which are community service hours that support our school.
The Spiritual Life Department’s goal is that by the time our students graduate, they are well grounded in their faith, be that Catholicism or any other faith practice. We aim to graduate young women of profound compassion and understanding regarding their role as leaders and change agents in the world.