Congregational Schools Team for Notre Dame de Sion Schools
Formed in January 2014, the Congregational Schools Team (CST) consists of six members, both lay and Sisters of Sion, who interface with our schools around the world.
The stated missio of the CST is:
The Notre Dame de Sion Congregational Schools Team is dedicated to building relationships and fostering understanding with schools and to enhancing and improving communication among Notre Dame de Sion Schools worldwide. This will be done through—but is not limited to –promoting international gatherings and exchange programs for students and adults and the use of various technological tools. The Team will facilitate appropriate opportunities for formation of school personnel and governors in the history and mission of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion so that the mission permeates all facets of life in Sion Schools. Furthermore, the Team will assist and support the schools as they implement the charter articulated by this Team.
(Articulated January 2014)
Our first decision was to articulate a Charter for all Sion Schools (attached) and when the schools gathered in Rio de Janeiro, every school signed the Charter and all schools agreed to use it as a foundational document for Sion Schools, thus uniting our schools while recognizing and celebrating the uniqueness of each of our Schools. The original team members were: Alain Cussey (France), Sr. Jackie Chenard (Egypt), Sigurd Ramos Marin (Costa Rica), Sr. Mary Reaburn (Australia), Bernadete Silveira (Brazil), Sr. Marge Zdunich (CLT liaison), and Alice Munninghoff, Chair (USA).
2018 Members are:
Sr. Jackie Chenard (Egypt), Dolene Laurent (France), Sigurd Ramos Marin (Costa Rica), Regina Coeli Baldin Saponara (Brazil), Sr. Marge Zdunich (Canada and Jerusalem), Sr. Mary Babic, (CLT liaison) and Alice Munninghoff, Chair (USA).
Since our Team’s inception, we have planned and presented the following events for our Sion Schools:
- 3rd International Schools Meeting, April 2015, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 4th International Schools Meeting, April 2018, Paris France
- 1st international Governors’ Meeting, October 2016, Rome, Italy
- CST Meetings: January 2014, Strasbourg; May 2015, Rio de Janeiro; March 2016 London, England; April 2017, Paris, France; April 2018, Paris, France;
Upcoming events include:
- 2nd International Students Meeting, April 2019, Costa Rica
- 2nd Governance Meeting, February 2020 in Strasbourg, France or Jerusalem, Israel
- 5th International Schools Meeting, April 2021
- CST Meeting, February 2019, Kansas City, MO USA with some of the team going to Montreal, Ontario, Canada after the meeting in Kansas City is over.
In addition, our Team makes it a priority to visit the schools in the areas where we meet. Therefore, our Team has enjoyed visits to: Our Lady of Sion, Worthing, UK; Notre Dame de Sion, Paris; Notre Dame de Sion, Evry, France; Notre Dame de Sion, Grenoble, France; Notre Dame de Sion, Strasbourg, France; Notre Dame de Sion, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and we will spend time in Notre Dame de Sion, Kansas City, MO USA, and Ecole Bilingue, Montreal, CA in 2019. The Team strives to assist, support and resource all those dedicated professionals in our Sion Schools through encouraging and assisting with charism and mission education, facilitating communication among schools, encouraging joint projects and exchanges worldwide, and providing support to our Schools as they go about educating young people in the charism of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion.
CHARTER FOR SION SCHOOLS JANUARY 2014 PRESENTED BY THE CONGREGATIONAL SCHOOLS TEAM FROM THE ORIGINS TO THE PRESENT DAY
Born into a Jewish family from Strasbourg, France, Theodore Ratisbonne (1802-1884) encountered Jesus Christ after much searching. He became a priest and, in Scripture, discovered the love of God for his people, Israel. On 20 January 1842, in Rome, during an apparition of Mary in which she did not speak, his brother, Alphonse, received the gift of the Christian faith. Beginning from this event, Theodore founded the Congregation of Sisters of Our Lady of Sion in 1843. From the outset and for the first hundred years, the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion lived their vocation mainly though educational establishments, open to all levels of society and all religions: Jews, Muslims, Christians of all denominations. This was unprecedented in Catholic Education at that time. After the Shoah (i.e. the systematic extermination of Jews during the 1939-1945 war, and following the Nostra Aetate declaration of the Second Vatican Council, the Congregation became more keenly aware of the calls contain within its charism: “to witness in the Church and in the world that God continues to be faithful in this love for the Jewish people and to hasten the fulfilment of the promises concerning the Jews and the Gentiles. (Const. no. 2)
While the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion’s apostolic commitments have become diversified, education has retained a dominant role in cooperation with committed laity.
Faithful to the values promoted by the Ratisbonne brothers, Sion schools promote themselves as “spaces of dialogue”.
SPIRITUAL/RELIGIOUS NATURE OF SCHOOLS
- To affirm and esteem the richness of differences while respecting human persons and their fundamental rights. This implies that all students are welcomed with their cultural and religious traditions.
To help Christians become aware of the Jewish origins of their faith in order to foster their discovery of Jesus Christ. The catechesis proposed opens each young person to an understanding of and respect for Judaism past and present. To offer everyone a biblical culture so as to question together the meaning of life.
- To help each one move beyond appearances and the immediate so as to ponder the mystery of one’s own being, of life, and the mystery we call God.
EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING AND PEDAGOGY
- To encourage openness to learning, not only to ensure success in exams, but above all to situate oneself in the world and in history; to be open to others, overcoming the fear that can come from encountering differences, to understand them, to work against all forms of injustice, discrimination, racism and in particular anti-Semitism.
- To affirm the richness of a multicultural world and recognize, through education, the universality of humankind.
- To emphasize joint projects and exchanges of students and teachers within our family of Sion. To remember always: human beings carry with them a personal and collective history. A person cannot construct a future without remembering the past and without being reconciled to it.
- To insist on formation, which develops an ability to question and to think critically so as to foster discernment in religious and secular spheres.
- To regard each young person as being part of a history that neither begins nor finishes with his/her time at Our Lady of Sion. Their past is important. Their future is beyond the plans of educators, parents and teachers. In the present, the adults who accompany them owe them trust, kindness, listening, forgiveness and respect.
January 2014, Strasbourg, France Congregational Schools Team; Jackie Chenard nds, Egypt, formerly Montreal, CA; Alain Cussey, Marseille, France; Sigurd Ramos Marin, San Jose, Costa Rica; Alice J. Munninghoff, Kansas City, MO USA; Mary Reaburn nds, Melbourne, Australia; Maria Bernadete Silveria, Sao Paulo, Brazil