Sister Gillian is a graduate of Notre Dame High School, Belmont and UC Berkeley. She earned her Ph.D. in anthropology at Cambridge University in England, and has been a member of the faculty at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California.
On August 19, 2018, Gillian Wallace was accepted as a canonical novice into the community of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at a special prayer service and reception for Gillian's family, friends, Sisters and Associates of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
This followed two years of preparation while living in community with the Sisters and studying the components of religious life.
"For those who might not be familiar with the process," says Nancy O'Shea, SNDdeN, "a woman entering with us is an Affiliate for two years, living in community and learning how we live, who we are, and seeing if this life might fit her. Then, if all agree, she is welcomed into the Novitiate, a special time to go more deeply into the meaning of religious life, learn more about the history & spirit of our community, learn how to live a vowed life in the company of others, and especially, have time to deepen her relationship with God. Then she makes her first commitment, which is reviewed annully for several years before she makes her final profession."
Gillian continued her study of religious life as a part of an intercommunity novitiate group in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she lived in community with other Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.
"I got here through listening to my heart and what I think is the right thing to do," said Sister Gillian during the blessing ceremony on August 19, 2018. "I'm in my 40's, so hopefully there is still plenty of time to make a positive difference. It's obviously possible to do so without taking religious vows, yet doing so makes my desire to serve God and others official … Today, I offer the rest of my life to follow whatever path God intends. And Sisters, God bless you all; help me listen to find that path."
On Saturday, September 18, 2021, Sister Gillian professed her first vows as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. The ceremony was held in Cunningham Chapel at Notre Dame de Namur University, and was attended by family, friends, and Sisters from many states.
The cross that Sister Gillian now wears was previously worn by her good friend Sister Margaret Hoffman, who would have celebrated 75 years as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur in 2021.
Sister Gillian is now serving as a teacher of religious studies at Notre Dame High School in San Jose, California.