Alyson Utterback, Cincinnati Associate

Alyson's journey with the Sisters of Notre Dame began in 1994 when she was a teenager attending Mount Notre Dame High School in Reading, Ohio. There weren't many Sisters teaching at that point, but she remembered one Sister in particular, Sr. Gerry Bolzan, coming to visit her 12th grade religion class to teach them bout Saint Julie. Sister Gerry used puppets to animane the story of how Saint Julie had to escape those threatening her life by hiding in a cart full of hay. Alyson was fascinated by the story and had to know more.

At one point, she entertained the thought of becomming a Sister someday. She went off to college, and later joined the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers for a couple years of service, all the while getting to know the Sisters better.

Becoming a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur didn't work out for her, but she spent a couple of years living wit their "cousins", the Sisters of Notre Dame in Covigton, KY who were part of the Coesfeld branch of Notre Dame. She was following my love for St. Julie and discerned her vocation with them for a little bit. This also ultimately didn't work out, and a couple of years later, still feeling drawn to Julie's charism, she looked into becoming an Associate.

Being an Associate of Notre Dame allows her to share the love of God, through the spirituality of Julie, with others. She is in gratitude of all that fellow Associates have shared with her along their journeys. I also feel grateful that she has so many people who care for her well-being.

Last year, she underwent an aggresive treatment for multiple sclerosis which involved the use of chemo to reset the immune system. So many Associates have held her in prayer through her treatment and beyond. She believed that she responded so well because of the power or so many prayers and the heartfelt love that she has received from her community of Associates and beyond to the greater group. She feels so blessed to belong to a group so connected to each other and to the Sisters. She looks forward to what association with the Sisters will evolve to over time.