“Our Mission is Full of Life” was on display during the annual Partners in Mission Event on Sunday, April 30. The celebration began with mass, celebrated by Father Dan Schlegel, Pastor, Holy Angels Church, Bainbridge, followed by lunch and awards to recognize this years honorees, Jeffery Mitchell and Ken & Norma Kerwin.
Jeffery Mitchell, nicknamed “Mr. Clean” by the Sisters, turned a 1984 small remodeling project into a 33 year professional and personal relationship. Getting to know the sisters on a more personal level also provided Jeff with the interest and motivation to reconnect with his Catholic upbringing. “The nuns got me back to Mass”, he stated “at a time in my life when I was struggling to find some grounding.” This inspired Jeff to include the Sisters of Notre Dame in his yearly philanthropic efforts. For the last 20 years, Jeff’s gifts have helped support the SND ministries in education and global missions.
Norma Kerwin never expected that a chance encounter with a fellow volunteer at Heather Hill Hospital would lead to a nearly 20-year commitment to support the efforts of Sisters of Notre Dame in Tanzania and Kenya, Africa. Sr. Julianne Toth, SND (deceased) was the volunteer that would share stories with Norma of Indian SNDs who sent missionaries to Africa. Ken and Norma looked forward to updates on the building of an elementary school and then high school boarding school for girls in Tanzania. Norma shared, “Ken and I thought is was wonderful that sisters from one impoverished country would go to another impoverished country to help their woman and children. A chance encounter that developed into an 18 year partnership as the Kerwin’s have become consistent and supportive donors to the African missions.