Closing of Institute of Notre Dame is profoundly sad for all involved | READER COMMENTARY
For The Baltimore Sun|
May 18, 2020 at 10:57 AM
The news spread rapidly with shock and disbelief that our beloved Institute of Notre Dame was closing its doors forever (“A timeline of the Institute of Notre Dame, Maryland’s oldest Catholic college prep school for girls,” May 6). It seems as if IND is just another innocent victim of the blight that continues to consume the good in Baltimore. This wonderful institution has been educating, guiding and molding thousands of women for nearly 200 years so it seemed as if it would continue to do so for eternity. The School Sisters of Notre Dame and the lay teachers provided a safe, nurturing, faith-filled learning environment for all who enter their doors. IND has been a bastion of inclusion, decades before it became the norm. Race, religion and socioeconomics never came into play at IND. What mattered was doing the best with your potential. A woman’s vocation was her choice whether she entered the work force or armed forces, attended higher education or had a calling for motherhood or religious life. All vocations were warmly embraced and celebrated. We were all sisters united by a common bond.
Forty years after my gradation from IND, I still think fondly of my years there, the enduring friendships that were forged and how grateful I am for the sacrifice my parents made to provide the best education I could have asked for. Many times when I draft a report for work, I remember Sister Carola and Sister Marie Charles and their tireless efforts to motivate me to write well. When I have just finished numerous emails, I think of Sister Bernadetta who taught me how to type, and that was no easy task. I fondly remember my favorite teacher, Sister Bernetta, who had the patience to teach me how to sew. She enabled me to make prom gowns for many friends while in school and to this day I still sew for enjoyment. All four of these women taught me life skills that I use every day and I am truly thankful.
I am sad for the young women who will never experience this and for the current students whose time at IND has concluded prematurely. The proud alumnae will persevere since we have been blessed to call 901 Aisquith St. home for so many years but the loss of IND for all young women, the East Baltimore community and the entire city is immeasurable.
Stacey A.T. Waibel, Parkton
The writer graduated from the Institute of Notre Dame in 1979.