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In 1998, Blessed John Paul II was asked for suggestions on use of a $5 million gift with no requirements attached. The Holy Father responded quickly and clearly:
Establish an endowment fund that would give scholarships to seminarians, priests, religious sisters and laity from disadvantaged countries. The scholarships would allow them to study in Rome, then return to their dioceses equipped to teach the authentic magisterium of the Church.
The idea may have come from a chapter right in the Blessed Father’s own life. After he was ordained in 1946, shortly before the Communists took control of his Polish homeland, he was sent to Rome as a student priest where he obtained an advanced degree at the Angelicum. Imagine our Catholic story if he had not been given this opportunity!
A Faith-Filled Response
John and Carol Saeman of Denver, CO, knew they had been called to action. These two Stewards of Saint Peter stepped forward with their gift. The Papal Foundation provided matching funds, and the John Paul II Scholarship Fund became part of the Foundation’s legacy of service.
Today over 600 leaders have received support to advance their education as Saeman Scholars. They return to teach in their own countries and secure the future of the Church around the world.