School Sisters of Notre Dame in Rochester

The School Sisters of Notre Dame began teaching German immigrants in Rochester, New York, in 1847 at Saint Joseph’s School in Rochester. The mission was to provide educational opportunities for the underserved children of the City of Rochester, enabling them unlock their own language and mathematical ability, leading to success in their home school, families and neighborhoods, and eventually to become contributing members of society.

Over the years, nine other schools, staffed by the School Sisters, were opened and flourished. The School Sisters of Notre Dame instructed thousands, more likely tens of thousands, of children. At one point there were at least 150 School Sisters of Notre Dame living in the city of Rochester.

As the years progressed, schools closed and the sisters moved on to other ministries in Rochester and in the Province. Because of the many loyal supporters of the Sisters, and because of the many sisters who entered the community from Rochester, NY, the School Sisters of Notre Dame were eager to continue to minister to the poor in Rochester.

Notre Dame Learning Center is Born

At the invitation of the Provincial Leader, seven SSNDs in Rochester met in 2003 to brainstorm.Results from a survey sent to parishes, area school administrators, and others indicated a need for tutoring of Reading and Mathematics for children and adults in the city. This new venture to begin the Notre Dame Learning Center in Rochester, New York was approved by the Province in 2003 as a sponsored ministry of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. 

The first class bells rang at the Learning Center on March 1, 2004, in the Charles Settlement House on Parkway in the city of Rochester. From a modest class of three girls learning math with Sister Lorraine Burns, SSND (retired principal of Rochester’s Holy Family School), the Center has served more than 300 children. The tutoring is done by volunteers who come from all walks of life.

The Notre Dame Learning Center became a separately incorporated not-for-profit incorporation on June 5, 2005.