Their Story



She doesn’t know anyone at Mother Seton her first day. Then she meets Sarah from Cranford when they bump into each other reaching for a door at the same time. She meets Emily from Westfield when she mistakes her for a freshman. She meets Frieda from Newark when they both stop to look at the weird hallway phone booth on their way to the cafeteria. She doesn’t know it, but she will speak to Sarah nearly every day for the next forty years. Emily, who is a year ahead  of her, will one day be her bridesmaid.  She will lose touch with Frieda but reconnect when searching for a new doctor. Frieda(an Obstetrician) will deliver her first child. You don’t make friends at Mother Seton – you make sisters. And here, sisters are forever.



While the girl mostly keeps to herself, everyone  at Mother Seton seems to recognize her. The principal greets her by name; teachers say hello in the halls; older students smile at her. One teacher in particular acts as if the girl is the most interesting student in the School. “TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK,” the teacher always asks her. To the girl’s surprise, this teacher’s gentle persistence gradually coaxes a voice from somewhere deep inside her. This voice is strong. This voice is brave. Soon, the once-timid girl begins raising her hand in class. She asks provocative questions. She challenges classmates’ assumptions. She feels empowered. Now that she’s found her voice, she’ll never let it go. More than ever, there are things in the world that need to be said. She is ready. The future is hers.



She joins Cross Country when she hears they need one more runner to field a team. She’s not a very good athlete, bruises her shins regularly, and twists both ankles multiple times. But through rugged courses and bad weather and her occasional (secret) embarrassment, the girl’s teammates and coaches encourage her. They cheer for her. They believe in her until she dares believe in herself. As a result, though she never wins or places, she finishes every race. Long after her season ends and bruises fade, her newfound resilience grows. Both in and out of the classroom setting, no matter how steep or demanding the challenge, she never quits. She never gives in. She finishes the race. Thanks to Mother Seton, she always will.



The Junior from Mother Seton applies a bright pink polish to each of the woman’s fingernails. As the girl works, the woman talks of her own adult children scattered across New Jersey. While allowing each nail to dry, the girl hears the other Mother Seton students around the Rec Room of the nursing home as they do nails and facials. “IS THIS THE END OF YOUR VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENT?” the woman asks. “We don’t have a requirement,” the girl explains. “I’m here because I like spending time with you.” As the woman hugs her, the student is suddenly certain that more than Seton Scholars, Volleyball, Lock-In, and hanging with friends, bringing joy to this woman is the best thing she does at Mother Seton.



The Senior stands in the Main Rotunda and watches waves of students walk between classes. After four years, she knows them all: the Musician – the Student-Athlete – the Mathematician – the Leader – the International Girl – the Work-In-Progress Girl,  representing their diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. What they share is an utter uniqueness.  Her school – her second home – is a safe place where a girl like herself can fit in by standing out. She is proud that her soon-to-be alma mater opens its arms to the best, most deserving young women, whether they commute from across the street or across the globe. She will live in the real world after graduation. Looking back, she realizes how much she has grown from life at Mother Seton. She is ready. The future is hers.



In Mother Seton’s first floor chapel, the sophomore sits in a pew. Her mind wanders. She closes her eyes and thinks of her parents who work so hard. She wonders if she could be a better daughter. She thinks of last night when she yelled at her brother. She wonders if she could be a better Big Sister. She thinks of Diana and their misunderstanding. She wonders if she could be a better best friend. She felt stressed when she arrived at school that morning.  Now, in this chapel, she is calm. A better word is serene, she thinks. Her English teacher would like that. When she hears noise in the hallway behind her, it’s time to go. God didn’t answer her questions, but God didn’t have to do so. Just asking God is probably an answer in itself.



Like most seniors at Mother Seton, she earns significant financial scholarships to multiple colleges. She chooses a Catholic university across the country. There, she tutors other Pre- Med students in Mathematics to make extra money (thank you, Mother Seton) and volunteers once a week in a local children’s hospital. One of her professors asks her if she went to an all-girls high school. He says he can tell – she seems to have that presence about her. The young woman may be away from home for the first time, but she isn’t at college to ‘find’ herself like so many of her new friends. She isn’t lost. More than a mere piece of paper, her diploma from Mother Seton is a compass by which to navigate  her dreams. Confident and focused, she knows where she is going.



This alumna of Mother Seton will direct a film that wins an Academy Award. She will teach a disabled child to thrive. She will sing her heart  out under the hot lights of Broadway. She will argue before the Supreme Court, and win. She will bring comfort to a sick patient.  She will study quarks and challenge the foundations of Science. She will return  to Mother Seton to nurture the hearts of wide-eyed girls with sacred dreams.  She will do all these things and much more because she is a woman of charity and courage. She respects all. She fears nothing. The future is hers.