Catholic school plans international approach to recruit teachers

SAN ANTONIO – Next spring, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus will no longer have an administrative role in Mount Sacred Heart School, which was founded by the order 90 years ago.

“We’re still going to be part of the school, but not in the same capacity as we were in the past,” said Sister Elizabeth Ann Vasquez.

As it is now, she said the sisters no longer teach at the school.

“At one time, we were numerous and younger,” Vasquez said. “We have to accept the limitations of age and health and the diminishment of our membership.”

Without the sisters, rather than close the school, Chris Martinez, a parent and co-chair of Growing the Legacy campaign committee, said a short-term $10 million fundraising effort is underway.

Martinez said part of the funding will be for the school’s facilities and technology upgrades. But much of the money will go toward what Martinez said will be a new formation program to recruit religious sisters from Central and South America and elsewhere for a three-year immersion experience in U.S. Catholic education.

“We’re really going to help them be as successful as possible as an order when they come," said Julie Seguin, director of development for the Archdiocese of San Antonio.

She said after that, there is a two-year commitment to Mount Sacred Heart, eventually expanding to other Catholic schools in the diocese.

“This could be a game-changer for Catholic schools,” Martinez said.

He said Catholic schools, like public schools, are competing for students and teachers with charter schools.

Martinez said he and the other parents believe Mount Sacred Heart would stand out by having teachers with a global perspective and a deep knowledge of the Catholic faith.

“Mount Sacred Heart and the Archdiocese of San Antonio are embarking on a journey to change the face of Catholic education and offer a unique opportunity that has been missed over time, which is to re-introduce nuns to our classrooms," he said.

Martinez said to accomplish what is hoped, the majority of the money must be raised by Dec. 14. Otherwise, if it’s not possible, he said parents need to be given enough time to begin looking for another school.

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