The Seton Hill University community celebrates the legacy and work of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, and all Catholic Sisters, during the inaugural National Catholic Sisters Week from March 8 to 14, 2014.

The week is part of National Women’s History Month and is intended to highlight the good works and good will of Catholic sisters.

Katelyn Snyder, 22, of New Bethlehem, Pa., is a Seton Hill student who, along with classmate Adrienne Bracken, has been working on an Honors Capstone project about the Sisters of Charity and their deep connection to the University. The Sisters have inspired her to attend Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes next year to enter the Roman Catholic faith.

“The Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill single handedly made Seton Hill possible. Their love, dedication, and pure stubbornness are the only reason this school exists despite all the challenges they faced. They had this amazing vision of a place that would educate girls for the world, an idea that was not very prominent at the time, and they just did it,” Snyder said. “The Sisters today are just as important to Seton Hill's existence. They hold the community up in prayer and faithfully serve as educators all over the world. I've found them to be some of the best role models I could ever find for persistently and joyfully living out my personal callings from God.”

Snyder continued, “The idea of National Catholic Sisters Week is fantastic. I think Sisters are sometimes looked over, but if you evaluate how many institutions that help people were started by Catholic Sisters, it's truly astonishing. I'm not formally a Catholic, yet, but it is the lives of the Sisters, historically and in the present, that inspire me to want to be.”

“Since 1882, when Mother Aloysia Lowe purchased the farmland in Greensburg, Pa., where Seton Hill’s main hilltop campus now stands, the Sisters have been courageous forward-thinking risk-takers,” said Bibiana Boerio, interim president of Seton Hill University and a 1975 alumna. “Education – and preparing students to think and act critically, creatively and ethically – is at the heart of the work of the Sisters. The University continues to transform itself in the best tradition of the Sisters of Charity.”

“As a Sister of Charity of Seton Hill, the National Catholic Sisters Week designation is humbling,” said Sister Lois Sculco, Vice President for Mission, Identity and Student Life at Seton Hill University. “The clarion call of charity is focal to the mission of the Sisters, and I see that call reflected in our campus community in a profound way. In the spirit of the legacy and tradition of the Sisters of Charity, members of this Seton Hill community not only recognize their responsibility and concern for each other, but extend hospitality, graciousness, and warmth to others.”

The first National Catholic Sisters Week will take place from March 8 – 14, 2014 as part of Women’s History Month. The purpose is to bring greater awareness to Catholic Sisters and to make their presence more widely known and visible on a national level. Women religious have made, and continue to make, vital contributions in education, health care, criminal justice, social justice, theology, the arts, and politics. This is more than a “Catholic” story. Wherever good things are happening, there are often Sisters involved making a tremendous difference. Catholic Sisters stand with the poor and vulnerable, regardless of race, socioeconomic status or religion. In addition to highlighting the significant role that Catholic Sisters have had historically, National Catholic Sisters Week will focus on a contemporary view of these women -- their lives, their mission, and their works. The goal is to shed light on the tremendous impact Catholic Sisters continue making today. National Catholic Sisters Week is possible because of a generous, three-year grant provided by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to St. Catherine’s University where the initiative will be launched.