BY ANGUS MACDONALD
A TEACHING ORDER of sisters in Scotland is to offer grants totalling £30,000 to Scottish women in a bid to encourage the development of women's leadership in the Catholic Church.
The money is being offered by the Sisters of Notre Dame Scotland's leading teaching order for women to mark the centenary of their arrival north of the border. Individual grants of up to L1,500 are on offer to women undertaking educational courses which develop skills that can be used in the local Church. They are intended to cover a wide range of study costs from buying books and paying course fees to help with child-minding and travel.
The sisters say they are open to applications from women attending all kinds of course everything from one-off training days to degree courses at University, though funding is being aimed at subjects such as Scripture, group skills or counselling.
Mary Cullen, a lay person who is part of the management group for the scheme, said: "A very large percentage of women in Scotland were taught by someone who was taught by the Sisters of Notre Dame they started in late Victorian Glasgow, but now teach in schools all over the country, mainly in community education.
"Following in that tradition,these grants are intended to encourage women in the local Church to develop leadership capacities in the local Church."
The maximum amount awarded to any one person will normally be k1,500, although applications for larger amounts will be considered in exceptional circumstances. The total amount of funding available for the scheme is k10,000 a year
for three years, beginning in September 1994.
Women should be nominated by a sister, parish priest or leader of a Church organisation, and must show that they are willing and able to use their skills for the benefit of the local Church.
The project will be managed by a small group of sisters, lay women and a parish priest, who will consider applications to the fund. The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur were founded in France during the French Revolution by St Julie Billiart. Their mission was the education of girls. They were invited to Scotland by Archbishop Eyre in 1894 to train primary school teachers in order to bring developing Catholic schools up to the standard required by schools inspectors.
Today, they are largely responsible for Catholic primary educa
tion in Glasgow. St Andrew's College of Higher Education, founded by the Sisters in the city, is now recognised as one of Scotland's leading teacher training colleges, and the only Catholic one in the country.
Women seeking further information or an application form are invited to write to: Sr Anne Jane O'Rourke SND, Convent of Notre Dame, Clcrkhill, Dumbarton G82 4JH.