Profiles in Ministry – Sister Mary Alice Dugar

Profiles in Ministry – Sister Mary Alice Dugar

Travelling the world while staying in place. This has been my experience when engaging the lives of students with names such as Kai-Jen Hsaio, Adan Awad, Kenji Kashahara, Sarah Ali, Olympia Kalman. These individuals from China, Lebanon, North Africa, Southern India and Greece are a small portion of the student population who use tutoring services during an academic semester. The diverse ethnic, cultural, racial and religious backgrounds of these students continue to enrich my life as a chemistry tutor at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) over several decades.

Twenty-five years ago I couldn’t have imagined the 2016 vision statement that now globally energizes us as Sisters of Notre Dame: “Trusting in God who makes all things new, we commit ourselves:

  • to live incarnational spirituality,
  • to grow in life-giving relationships,
  • to be one in diversity.”     Sisters of Notre Dame, General Chapter 2016 Vision Statement

Sr. Alice and Sara Ali enjoy a break from chem equations

Today however, looking back over these decades, I see how our SND vision statement was wordlessly taking shape within to involve me in the lives of people who invite these three commitments. This emerging vision led me to

  • participate in Water for Life, our Chardon province corporate stance
  • coordinate chemistry lab management at Notre Dame College
  • tutor students who seek careers in health related fields at Cuyahoga Community College

Whether the geographic starting point is Parma, Ohio or Holmes, Syria, each person I meet holds hope for a better future and for a life’s work that is fulfilling to themselves, their families and the larger community.  I am delighted and also humbled to work with adult students whose life-challenges are often compounded by additional factors foreign to me. Spoken and written English, for example, may be a student’s secondary language; yet, English remains the primary language of communication within the student’s educational experience. Any language barrier places an added stress and a hurdle to overcome when achieving life goals.

Notre Dame College has also allowed me to work with a wonderful diversity of individuals as seen in this photo of our lab team taken in 2010. Over a span of fifteen years, NDC science majors assisted in the preparation and follow up of laboratory work… much to the happiness of their professors such as Dr. Ellen Vayner who completes our lab team photo.

NDC Chem Lab Team: Sr. Alice, Dr. Vayner, Nethrie, Brandon, Tom and Prema

NDC’s annual Founders’ Week has also presented an opportunity to speak with students about Water for Life, the corporate stance taken by our SND community since 2005.  Our commitment to protect the waters entrusted to us is just one expression of living the incarnational spirituality of our Sisters of Notre Dame vision statement. We are so grateful to faculty and students, family members, friends and Associates of Notre Dame who have joined with us to express personally and communally this vision: