Hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur

Hallmarks are the essential characteristics, values and actions that differentiate a Notre Dame de Namur learning community. The Hallmarks emerged in response to the question: “What distinguishes a Notre Dame de Namur Learning Community?”

The Sisters and the learning communities began to explore this question in 2003 and seven Hallmarks were developed that concisely and beautifully express the values of a Notre Dame Learning Community. In 2024, Hallmark #3 was revised to add “care for all creation” as a response to Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ encyclical.

  1. We proclaim by our lives even more than by our words that God is good.
  2. We honor the dignity and sacredness of each person.
  3. We educate for and act on behalf of justice, peace and care for all creation.
  4. We commit ourselves to community service.
  5. We embrace the gift of diversity.
  6. We create community among those with whom we work and with those we serve.
  7. We develop holistic learning communities that educate for life.

The Seven Hallmarks

Hallmark One: We Proclaim By Our Lives Even More Than By Our Words that God is Good

  • We believe, even in the midst of today’s reality that God is good, and we stand firm in our commitment to honor the goodness in ourselves, in others and our world.
  • We value life as an ongoing spiritual journey of deepening relationships with God, self, others and all creation.
  • We make relevant to the life of our Notre Dame learning communities the history of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the spirituality of St. Julie Billiart, and we allow these to influence our actions in today’s world.
  • We make decisions respecting and informed by Gospel values and Catholic social teaching and tradition.
  • We create policies sensitive to those to whom and with whom we minister, reflecting the mission and values of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

Hallmark Two: We Honor the Dignity and Sacredness of Each Person

  • We believe each person is created in the image and likeness of God; therefore, we develop and appreciate relationships that respect individual differences.
  • We create environments that encourage the development of the whole person.
  • We dedicate time, space, and personnel in support of the individual’s spiritual and personal journey.

Hallmark Three: We Educate for and Act on Behalf of Justice, Peace, and Care for all Creation

  • We educate for justice and take socially responsible actions against injustice and discrimination in all its forms.
  • We make decisions by being aware of the effect they will have on the lives of vulnerable persons.
  • We ground our actions for justice in the spiritual practice of reflection-action-reflection.
  • We live and act with reverence for the earth, putting into practice the principles of Laudato Si’ and Laudate Deum.
  • We foster responsible global citizenship and commit ourselves to the practice of dialogue, nonviolence, restorative justice and peace-making.
  • We strive to be flexible, risk-taking communities that respond to the signs and needs of the times.

Hallmark Four: We Commit Ourselves to Community Service

  • We integrate community-based learning experiences into academic curriculum and co-curricular activities, grounding them in the spiritual practice of reflection-action-reflection.
  • We strive to respond to the pressing needs of those made poor by unjust systems.
  • We create mutually beneficial partnerships with community agencies as we engage in community service.

Hallmark Five: We Embrace the Gift of Diversity

  • We welcome to our community people of diverse cultures, ethnicities, races, socio-economic circumstances, genders, ages, sexual orientations and faith traditions.
  • We develop inclusive educational programs that expand our knowledge and understanding as we honor and celebrate the diversity in our world.
  • We initiate strategies and support services that respect individual learning styles while building each person’s self-esteem.
  • We work to reform unjust structures that perpetuate systemic racism and inequality.

Hallmark Six: We Create Community Among Those With Whom We Work and With Those We Serve

  • We foster a spirit of friendship and belonging, modeled by St. Julie Billiart and Françoise Blin de Bourdon, the co-foundresses of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, as foundational to our learning communities.
  • We value and implement community-building activities, both social and spiritual, to strengthen relationships between and among all members of our communities.
  • We design and foster collaborative processes wherever possible, grounding decision-making in active participation and the principle of subsidiarity.
  • We commit ourselves to creating just systems and right relationships within our communities.
  • We create an atmosphere of trust and collegiality in our communities with open and direct communication in which we hear, see and value all people.

Hallmark Seven: We Develop Holistic Learning Communities that Educate for Life

  • We actively support the education and formation of the whole person, including lifelong intellectual, emotional, spiritual, faith, psychological and social development.
  • We design and implement academically excellent educational experiences.
  • We create a student-centered learning environment that promotes critical thinking, intellectual engagement, and understanding of cross-cultural perspectives, using current resources and technologies.
  • We develop self-directed leaders capable of responding to life situations with courage and compassion in a globally and technologically connected world.
The Hallmarks of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur