There is no greater embodiment of Leadership Geauga’s spirit of service and civic engagement than the Sisters of Notre Dame, who have notably sent a representative to every class year of Leadership’s Adult Signature Program since the organization’s founding 25 years ago. These Alumni are proof that, while our program is about personal enrichment, it is at heart about individual strengths that become a resource network for the greater good of our community.
“Although our sisters serve throughout NE Ohio and in several other states, Geauga County is the location of our “corporate headquarters” and is considered our permanent home. So of all the places where we live and serve, Geauga County is where we most want to be involved consistently and contribute to our local community,” explained Sister Margaret Gorman, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame.
Sister Margaret shared a historical snapshot of the relationship between the Sisters and Leadership Geauga, “Sister Marthe Reinhard (now deceased) was instrumental in the founding of Leadership Geauga. As president of Notre Dame College, Sister Marthe had participated in Leadership Cleveland and proposed the idea for a similar program while serving on the United Way board.” So when a group of Geauga County leaders committed to creating a Leadership program focused on our county, the Sisters became involved that first year.
The Sisters’ first LG alumni was Kathleen Ruddy, who participated in the first class 1995-1996. Sr. Margaret observed, “We all talk about how much we learned about the county and how much we value the friendships we formed.” Over the years, many of the Sisters have built on the friendships and community connections they developed in the program by volunteering with many local non-profit organizations. A few examples include Sister Emilia Castelletti (Geauga Hunger Task Force), Sister Debra Doig (Dept. on Aging), Sister Jacquelyn Gusdane (United Way Services, WomenSafe), and Sister Maureen Spillane (Geauga Faith Rescue Mission).
As for her personal Leadership Geauga experience, Sister Margaret said, “I was a member of the Class of 2004 (the best class, of course!) when I was principal of Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School. My understanding of the county and the connections we made with business and government leaders greatly helped me then and also in my current role as president of the Sisters of Notre Dame, for example with the planning and construction of Notre Dame Village.”
We are so proud that 25 Sisters of Notre Dame have participated in Leadership classes, and grateful for their commitment as catalysts to find constructive ways to address our community needs.
In July, 1874, eight Notre Dame sisters arrived in Cleveland, the first provincial center in the United States. The provincial center moved from Cleveland to its present location on Auburn Road in Chardon in 1961.