Multicultural Ministry at Mount Notre Dame empowers members of our learning community to celebrate the uniqueness and inherent dignity of each person—created in the image and likeness of God—by offering spiritual support, educational opportunities, advocacy and leadership opportunities for all students. Embracing the gift of diversity—individually and as a learning community—helps us all to realize the vision of St. Julie Billiart, who instructed her sisters to teach young people “what they need to know for life.” Embracing the gift of diversity involves introspection—acknowledging that attributes which makes each person unique and precious in God’s sight. while also encountering each other. Multicultural ministry creates meaningful opportunities for students to learning about and to accepting each other as valued and members of the MND sisterhood.
This year’s theme—a quote from St. Oscar Romero—focuses our attention on the pathway to cultivating peace in our hearts, families, school and in our wider communities. Living peacefully requires that we act justly and love without condition.
Multicultural Ministry: Called to Work for Racial Justice and Peace
The call to educate for and act on behalf of justice and peace lead us to acknowledge the grave injustice of racism that is pervasive throughout the United States. We are called to take decisive action to oppose racism, which, in the words of Archbishop Schnurr, “must therefore be an integral part of our pro-life witness as Catholics.” Guided by the Hallmarks of a Notre Dame Learning Community and the gospel values of unconditional love and solidarity, our community issued the following statement in response to the acts of violence and brutality directed towards black and brown persons, and the protests that followed:
Celebrations of Cultural Heritages and Diversity
Observance | Scheduled Date(s)
- Yom Kippur | September 25
- Hispanic Heritage Month | October
- Indigenous Peoples’ Day | October 12
- Multicultural Week! | October 26
- Native American Heritage Month | November 5
- International Day of Persons with Disabilities | December 3
- First Day of Hanukkah | December 11
- Our Lady of Guadalupe | December 12
- National Migration Week | January 2021
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day | January 18, 2021
- Lunar New Year | February 12, 2021
- Black History Month | February 2021
- Women’s History Month | March 2021
- Ramadan Begins | April 12, 2021
- Asian Pacific American Heritage Month | May 2021
- Eid al-Fitr | May 12-13, 2021
- Celebration of Diversity | May 2021
- Juneteenth | June, 19th, 2021
Student leaders and faculty moderators of the Multicultural Student Union (MSU) organized a virtual panel discussion on racism and working for racial justice, featuring a current student, alumnae and current parent perspectives. Panelists addressed questions and reflected on the pervasive racism that continues to plague individuals and communities of color.
The message from panelists and participants was clear. First, conversations rooted in civility and mutual respect and ongoing dialogue on racism and racial justice are essential—even if it seems as though racism doesn’t affect an individual personally. Pope Francis reminds us that “everything is related and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God.” We are all interconnected, as children of the Good God! As a Notre Dame learning community, we know well the truth of St. Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians, “If [one] part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” Secondly, we must recommit ourselves to “educating for and acting on behalf of justice and peace.” As we educate ourselves, we are called to work for racial justice, while opening our hearts to the gospel values of solidarity, justice, compassion and peace. As Jesus revealed in the parable of the Good Samaritan, the one who is neighbor to the robber’s victim is the one who shows mercy. Likewise, Catholic Social Teaching calls us to take decisive action for racial justice.
In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “We must be the good Samaritan to those who have fallen along the way. This, however, is only the beginning. Then, some day we will necessarily have to realize that the road to Jericho must be made in such a way that men and women are not constantly beaten and robbed while they are going along the paths of life.” As we continue living gospel values and advancing the work of building the beloved community wherein each student is fully embraced and valued as a member of the MND sisterhood, we have built the following multicultural ministry to foster equity and inclusion:
- A Campus Minister for Cultural Diversity (Oversees Multicultural Ministry)
- An annual Common Read Program designed to explore social topics through different perspectives
- Four Faculty/Staff Teams that exist to promote multiculturalism and diversity
- A student group (Multicultural Student Union) that meets on a monthly basis and provides a platform for students to explore topics of diversity and inclusion with faculty/staff support
- A Multicultural Advisory Team (comprised of faculty and staff, alumnae and parents)
- PAWS (Pause, Ask, Wait, Share) Model for non—violent conflict resolution and associated training for students
- A draft outline for our Action Plan for Racial Justice to focus on these four priority areas, in partnership with a professional equity and inclusion consultant.
“PAWS for Respect” (Pause, Ask, Wait, Share) Education Series Focusing On:
- PAWS 1.0 (Freshman) Talking about Difference: Intro to Equity and Inclusion
- PAWS 2.0 (Sophomores) What is a Microaggression?
- PAWS 3.0 (Juniors) Introduction to Implicit Bias
- PAWS 4.0 (Seniors) Implicit Bias II (Including the Harvard University Implicit Association Test)
2020—2021 | I am a Refugee: Finding Home Again in America by Mirsada Kadiric
2019—2020 | Thinking With Her Hands by Susan Goldman Rubin