Meet Associate Anne Hannigan

My parents were neither Catholic nor involved in any other church. At best, they were agnostic; most likely they were atheists. However, they believed in discipline and phonics, so they chose a Catholic school for me.

As a child, I grew to know God solely from the Sisters who taught me. The witness of their lives was the conduit through which I experienced prayer, faith and church. Even as a small child, I found the spiritual life a rich source of nourishment and strength. Sisters of Notre Dame taught me in elementary school, high school and college, and it was my hope that I would join them.

In college in the late ’60s, I began the entrance process, but my parents were violently opposed. The Provincial decided that I should delay entrance until my parents supported the decision (which seemed to me highly unlikely). Being a practical person, I tried to move past this setback and on with my life. I became a teacher and principal in Catholic schools, married and adopted a child, and began a series of rewarding roles in a large research university.

In good times and in bad, the Sisters shared my journey. As a young principal, it was SNDs who encouraged me and offered their support. When my daughter was an infant and my husband was critically ill, SNDs supported us with friendship, prayer and babysitting. After my husband’s death, SNDs continued to support us in innumerable ways.

Throughout these many years, I continued to be drawn to Notre Dame in the way I had felt called in my younger years. Yet, as a single mother, religious life was clearly not a possibility. I felt confused between how I felt and what was practically possible.

In the early ’90s I read an article in the “Visions” newsletter about Association. I couldn’t believe that such a thing had existed for so long without my knowing. Association answered the 30-year-old question in my life, so my response was easy. I leaped in with both feet and was, as always, warmly welcomed. I regularly attend gatherings, participate on Province committees, and have developed a preparation program for new associates. I have attended national gatherings and journeyed to Cuvilly, Amiens, Namur and Ghent. I have been an SND Associate for more than a decade now, and my life has been enriched by my relationships with Sisters and Associates.

Association is the lens through which I see my life. It is who I am, not what I do. I feel at home in Notre Dame, as I always have. The journey has been a real gift to me. Ah, qu’il est bon, le bon Dieu!