When it comes to confronting the complexities of poverty, America’s schools are on the frontlines. At Seton we value faith in action, but we know we would not be able to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the underserved communities where our schools exist unless we had an army of prayer warriors behind us. That is why, when Seton was founded, we reached out to more than one hundred religious orders and asked them to pray for our work. We are convinced the prayers of these faith-filled men and women have been instrumental in our success over the years.
As an organization committed to being wholeheartedly and vibrantly Catholic, this focus on prayer—both internally as a team and externally through the support of our partners—is central to fulfilling our mission. And yet, religious communities have not only supported us with their prayers.
We are especially grateful to a few partners in particular, who do so much good in the same struggling communities that we serve, and still make time to partner with us to support the formation of our disciples, our Fellows and sometimes even our staff. Here are a few friends of Seton Education Partners and how they support us.
The Sisters of Life, founded in 1991 by Cardinal John O’Connor, are a contemplative/active community of women religious who take a vow to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life through serving women who are vulnerable to abortion, and helping women heal after an abortion. If you’ve ever had the joy of encountering a Sister of Life then you know how lovingly they look at you, interact with you, and care for you. We are so grateful for their openness to give that love our disciples and Fellows. They visit our El Camino classes in the Bronx to inspire our disciples and talk about their unique charisms. Their presence inspires our disciples to decorate onesies for the moms that the Sisters of Life serve.
They are also an invaluable source of spiritual guidance for our Seton Teaching Fellows by participating in retreats and including our Fellows in their activities. We’re also grateful to the Sisters for sharing the Litany of Trust with us, which has become a Fellow favorite.
These men are hard to miss with their grey habits, cords and sandals walking around New York City evangelizing and serving the poor, and most recently preaching the Gospel on Instagram. What unites us goes beyond geography—both Seton and the Friars are called by God to serve the poor. This common mission has made our partnership so fruitful. The CFRs have provided Seton Teaching Fellows with many opportunities for spiritual formation, including at Catholic Underground and frequent opportunities for adoration at their friary. The friars also allow El Camino to use their basketball court for our after-school activities, visit our disciples to talk about their vocation, and sometimes celebrate mass for everyone in our programs. Our community is so blessed by their presence!
Father Pablo, Saint Rita of Cascia Parish and The Missionaries of Charity
Overheard at the NYC office last week: “Where are you going?” “Oh, it’s Thursday. Which means Fr. Pablo is available for confessions—all day.” And it’s not just Thursdays. Fr. Pablo of St. Rita’s parish in the South Bronx offers more than 15 hours of confession a week, PLUS 24-hours of confession and adoration on every first Friday. One of the most powerful aspects of the El Camino and Seton Teaching Fellows programs is the way it provides a bridge between the families we serve and nearby parishes. Father Pablo administers the sacraments for El Camino disciples who are ready to receive them, and often ministers to their parents as well. We refer families to Fr. Pablo for spiritual direction and RCIA, plus he’s always there to support them in a crisis.
Our Fellows are enmeshed in the parish, giving their time to the religious education program run by the Missionaries of Charity, collaborating on Christmas concerts and directing the music for Spanish and English masses for two years in a row. While Fr. Pablo has shared how much richer his parish community has been because of our partnership, we could not be more grateful for his constant sacrifices for our families, our Fellows and our staff. We are so blessed to have the presence and support of the Missionaries of Charity and this local parish community.
We are truly blessed. Join us in thanking and praying for our incredible partners!