Work on Behalf of the Poor

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur have a long history of serving the poor starting two centuries ago with co-foundresses Julie Billiart and Fran├žoise Blin de Bourdon. Today, Sisters in the California Province continue that tradition in a variety of ways and in many venues. Here are some of their stories.



Table of Plenty, Our Lady of the Pillar Church, Half Moon Bay

Sr. Jeanette Braun (photo by Steve Iacopi)

Sr. Jeanette Braun (photo by Steve Iacopi)

A new venture for the church, Sr. Jeanette Braun helps coordinate this weekly supper for the hungry in the community. “This program is so needed. Too many people in our area don’t get enough to eat. We see moms with young children, the elderly and everyone in between.”

Casa de la Cultura, Pajaro

Sr. Rosa Dolores Rodriquez, Director since 2007, shares that the center deals with the “Poorest of the poor. Everything is free or by donation.” In 2012 the center hosted a prom dress giveaway which made the dreams of many high school girls come true!

Maryhouse, Loaves & Fishes, Sacramento

Sr. Anne Locke works at Maryhouse, a daytime hospitality shelter in Sacramento serving homeless women and children. When not leading a knitting group at the center, she serves in the dispensary giving out emergency supplies such as coats, toiletries, diapers and formula. She also pinch hits in the hot breakfast program.

Pajaro Valley Shelter, Watsonville

Sr. Susan Olson co-founded the Pajaro Valley Shelter in 1984 with Sr. Veronica Wagner. Sr. Susan recently stepped down as executive director of the shelter but is a vital member of its advisory board.

Clara’s House, Sacramento

Working as Outreach Director at Clara’s House Clinic has been a great joy for Sr. Mary Ellen Howard. The Clinic provides people who have no health insurance and no means to pay for health care with compassionate, quality care by a team of medical experts who volunteer their time. Sister is currently on short-term leave to Africa where she worked for over 30 years.

Solidarity with South Sudan, South Sudan

Sr. Carolyn Buhs is part of the teaching team training new teachers in the poor nation of South Sudan.

Missionary to Nicaragua

Long-time missionary to Nicaragua, Sr. Sandy Price has helped start primary schools, trained teachers and provided health education for leaders. She has also helped start programs for handicapped children and adult literacy.

 St. Vincent de Paul Society

Former counselor, Sr. Carole Proctor visits low-income families to help assess needs and available resources.