Setonian Mission Formation Program Preserves Charism of Sisters of Charity
A six-figure leadership commitment from anonymous benefactors will enable Seton Hill University to institute a formalized and comprehensive program that will help the university to maintain and strengthen its Catholic, Setonian tradition for current and future students, faculty and staff.
Seton Hill was founded as a four-year college in 1918 by the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, who trace their lineage to Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton – the first American-born Saint and the foundress of Catholic Schools in the United States.
The Setonian Mission Formation Program, which is being developed through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and draws significantly on the history and charism of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, will allow Seton Hill to expand mission-focused activities that will build a foundation of leaders who will preserve the heritage and the charism of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill; continue to foster Catholic intellectual life across campus; and help students explore the liberal arts in a distinctive and enriching Catholic framework.
“Seton Hill University recognizes the importance of maintaining its Catholic, Setonian identity for future growth as a faith-based institution of higher learning open to students, faculty and staff with varied, and in some cases, no religious beliefs,” said Seton Hill President Mary C. Finger, Ed.D. “We are tremendously grateful for the generous leadership commitment to establish the Setonian Mission Formation Program, particularly at a time when there are dramatically diminishing numbers of Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill serving in faculty and administrative roles on campus.”
“Seton Hill recognizes that that the majority of faculty, staff and students serving the mission of the university are not members of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill but have the unique opportunity to lead efforts to keep the tradition of the Sisters strongly present,” said Sister Maureen OʼBrien,Vice President for Mission and Identity. “This effort requires a deepening of the focused formation programs that have been implemented at Seton Hill over the last five years – a deepening that will be made possible through the Setonian Mission Formation Program.”
Seton Hill is developing the Setonian Mission Formation Program to be delivered at various levels to university constituencies, including students, faculty, staff and Trustees, to strengthen the knowledge base and understanding of members of the university community of the importance of Catholic, Setonian charism.
Through the program, Seton Hill will expand the role of Msgr. Roger Statnick, the University Chaplain, to include the responsibilities of the Setonian Formation Program Coordinator.
As coordinator, Msgr. Statnick will work with other campus leaders to review, revise and expand on existing programs and activities that educate students, faculty and staff about the history and legacy of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, Catholic Social Teaching, and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition; and create an intensive Setonian Leaders Program targeted at developing 12 to 15 leaders per cohort from among Seton Hillʼs administration, faculty, and staff with a vibrant knowledge of the role of the Catholic university and the role of a Setonian institution.
“As coordinator of the Setonian Mission Formation Program, I look forward to helping to enrich both the intellectual and spiritual lives of the members of the Seton Hill community and to bring thought leaders to campus who reflect the tenets of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, especially those related to the dignity of the human person, the common good, and openness and inclusiveness, which are particular to the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill,” Msgr. Roger Statnick said.
The leadership gift to create the program will also allow Seton Hill to develop resources including articles, books and oral history records and provide funding for travel to important sites relevant to the life and work of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, including Emmitsburg, Md., and New York City.
The gift will also fund the expansion of existing activities including Journey with Elizabeth, Founders Day, and orientation programs for faculty, staff, students, and Trustees; assist with the development of Catholic Intellectual Tradition components into the liberal arts curriculum as well as curriculum supporting the academic majors; and allow Seton Hill to identify and invite outside experts on Setonian history, Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Catholic Social Teaching and the Catholic university to participate in workshops on campus to provide the community with a comprehensive understanding of the role of the Catholic university and the role of a Setonian institution.