Africa, Asia, North America

Sister Debra Sciano

Unity in diversity

“What drew me - not only the sisters I met - was the whole idea of bringing people together, that ‘unity in diversity.’ I really like that idea because I wanted to go into law. I believed I would fit into the community because of wanting to work toward justice and peace. I thought that was a strong value of the congregation. And I also loved the fact that it was international. I thought that someday I might like to go to another country and do work into that area. That is how I was drawn there initially.”

Forming community

“I was drawn to that relationship with the sisters in community and being supported that way and what we believed in together. Looking back over the years, I’ve learned what living in community means. It’s not just living together in the same household. It’s really developing relationships and living in community, whether it is a work situation, whether it was in my own family sometimes or in neighborhoods. 

“Just being together and forming community. It was developing prayer life together. It was being able to look at issues and process them in ways that you normally don’t do in regular life. I guess that has evolved. It has grown. “

Sister Debra Sciano plays during the guitar during an International Peace Day celebration at Notre Dame of Elm Grove in Wisconsin.   Sister Debra Sciano, who also plays the guitar, leads a song during Mass.
An avid Milwaukee Brewers fan, Sister Debra Sciano (center) gathers with friends for a tailgate party before a game. Pictured with Sister Debra are Kathy Kominiarek (left) and Sister Judy Fleisner (right).

Educating in transformative ways

“My ministry was very different from a typical School Sister of Notre Dame at the time when I entered. Most School Sisters of Notre Dame were really teachers. I’ve learned that education is much broader than just teaching in a classroom. So many of us do that now in so many different ways. 

“No matter what our ministry is, we are educators, and that’s evolved too over the years. It’s not just giving people knowledge but helping them to be their best selves and helping them to be transformed and helping to transform that world. That really has been a remarkable piece of this for me, and it’s helped me to grow in that way of living out this life.”

- Sister Debra Sciano

Transforming the world through education