Eileen Hunt’s Story

 
     
   The years following Vatican II were very difficult ones for religious communities. Countless religious chose to receive dispensations from their religious vows and return to lay life. I was among that group of religious. My decision was made after much thought, prayer and reflection. On December 17, 1966, I left the Congregation de Notre Dame after spending thirteen years as a member of their community.
    I maintained a close relationship with the religious community who nurtured and cared for me. A strong bond was also beginning to form with others who left the Congregation de Notre Dame.

    I  married Jim in my childhood parish church, Saint Jean Baptiste, in New York City during 1969.  Many CND's were in attendance at the Nuptial Mass. I felt a little like it was the "Sound of Music." Jim and I moved to Connecticut and found out that we lived only twenty miles from the Provincial House of the Congregation de Notre Dame. Our marriage was blessed with two sons.
    In the early 1970's, I suggested to the Congregation de Notre Dame that a reunion be offered for former members. Any person I spoke with, who had also left the community, expressed an interest in getting together with CND friends. My idea was well received. The first reunion became a reality in the autumn of 1975. It was a joyous day! We were given a true CND welcome. Though we had chosen not to live our lives as religious sisters any more, we cared for and loved the community we had left. History was in the making that day. We were indeed blessed to sense a genuine and continued friendship with the Congregation de Notre Dame.
    The year 1982 had a special significance for three reasons. First of all, Marguerite Bourgeoys, foundress of the Congregation de Notre Dame was canonized. During the same year, I formed an association and initiated a newsletter for former members of the Congregation de Notre Dame.
    Trying to find a name for the association was difficult. During that era, former nuns, brothers and priests were referred to as "Ex." The consensus among former CND's was that we did not want to be called "Ex-CND's. We held and still hold a very special place in our hearts for the Congregation de Notre Dame. The Webster Dictionary gives "former members" as one of its' definitions for the word "alumnae." And so, I chose CND ALUMNAE as the name for our association.
    Members of the CND ALUMNAE association continue to share a strong bond with each other, as well as with the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame.
    A favorite place for Former CND's to meet over the years was The Congregation of Notre Dame's Provincial House in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Three special memories are: The First Reunion for Former CND's on October 4, 1975; The 25th Anniversary Reunion on August 19, 2000 commemorating our first reunion and thirdly, October 17, 2002 celebrating the 20th anniversary of my Formation of The CND Alumnae and my Newsletter, as well as the Canonization of Marguerite Bourgeoys.
    The CND Provincial Office is now located in Wilton, Connecticut.  Several of the elderly and/or ill sisters reside either at Lourdes Health Center in Wilton or at Andrus located in Hastings on the Hudson in New York
    The CND Alumnae had their first reunion at Andrus on September 11, 2005.  A second reunion was held on September 22, 2007.
    On April 17, 2010, a reunion was held at Andrus to commemorate the 35th anniversary of our 1st reunion in Ridgefield, Connecticut.