Mission of Seton Center
In the tradition of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, to be a magnet center of intergenerational lifelong learning where people of all ages can gather to learn, to change, and to grow in body, mind and spirit.
Vision of Saint Elizabeth Seton
Elizabeth Seton Center grew out of the inspiration of Saint Elizabeth Seton and the lived witness of her Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill. Mother Seton committed her life and founded a religious community to bring the Gospel and education to children. Education was her primary means for cultivating the dream of God for each of her children/pupils, empowering each to live to the full potential for which he/she had been created. She also sent Sisters to tend the sick and elderly. As a ‘mother,’ she lived the charism of Charity, serving others in her extended families in humility, simplicity, and charity. Elizabeth’s family-centered values inform all the Sisters and their missions, including our Center. Senior staff have absorbed these values and cultivate them in new hires. The Center’s success comes from providing excellent services infused with these values day today.
Elizabeth Seton’s Values
- Informed by Gospel values
- Responsive to the needs of a changing world
- Guided by the prudent use of resources
- Respectful of human dignity
- Protective of human rights
- Devoted especially to the poor and oppressed
- Rooted in faith
- Animated by prayer
- Supported by community
- Performed in humility and charity
Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill
The Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill is an apostolic community of women religious, baptized in Christ, and vowed to continue the mission of His Church. For more than 140 years, the Sisters served the people in Western Pennsylvania by bringing the love of Christ through excellent educational, health, pastoral, and social service care to those in need.
The Sisters trace their origin to the first American congregation of women religious, founded by Saint Elizabeth Seton in 1809. In 1870, Sister Aloysia Lowe and three sisters were sent to western Pennsylvania from Cincinnati and began their work, founding and staffing schools. They established their foundation at Seton Hill in Greensburg in 1882. There they also established a school for boys and an academy for girls that grew first into Seton Hill College and which has continued to grow today as Seton Hill University.
In 1941, the Sisters purchased the property that today is the home of the Seton Center in the Brookline section of Pittsburgh. Throughout our history in Brookline, as well as in Overbrook and Greensburg, Seton Center’s ministry extends the mission and values of the Sisters of Charity to today’s young and elderly, as well as their families.
History of Seton Center
Elizabeth Seton Center evolved after Elizabeth Seton High School closed in 1979 when it was merged with South Hills Catholic to form Seton LaSalle High School. A few Sisters remained in the second floor Convent and rest of the building was used for Allegheny County Community College classes. The Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill surveyed nearby parishes to identify needs of these neighborhoods that could be met in the building. They established Elizabeth Seton Center as a nonprofit corporation in 1985 to meet these needs and an advisory board was created.
At first the space was leased for outside programs which served seniors and the arts. Board members worked to win a contract from the Allegheny County Agency on Aging for services to local senior centers. Sr. Francis Assisi Gorham began a Suzuki School of Music at the Center. In 1987 Sr. Mary Lucilla Wertz opened the Children’s Center. From the start, the commitment was made to connect seniors and children in mutually enriching ways. Bringing together young and old within community/”family” resonated deeply with the Sisters’ Seton heritage. Intergenerational programming became a hallmark of the Center, with the arts included on all levels.
Satellite programs evolved: a second senior drop-in center in Overbrook, the adult day-care center at Assumption Hall, now Caritas Christi in Greensburg, and later an Ombudsman program for Westmoreland County to help seniors in local long term facilities.
Sr. Barbara Ann Boss was named the Director of the Children’s Center in 1988 and in 2000 she became President/CEO of the entire Elizabeth Seton Center.
For over 30 years the Elizabeth Seton Center evolved as Sisters of Charity adapted to the needs of their families, tapping their charism and experience: quality education, the arts, and personalized, loving attention to each child and senior. Respectful care for the young and frail elderly is at the heart of the Seton tradition. And, through their own commitment and prayer, the Sisters and the staff bring the Charity of Christ to their mission, deepening their impact on everyone they serve. Today’s Seton staff has absorbed these values and all participants at the Center benefit from these rich traditions.
While these rich Catholic traditions heighten the commitment of the staff, the Center provides non-denominational care to all who come to us.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve walked home together from Seton HS. I always enjoy seeing how “our” school is now serving the community in such a wonderful way. I was glad to hear you are serving God in such a meaningful way. As seniors, ourselves, now we know what a difference that means to individuals.”
Cece Winchester, Elizabeth Seton HS, Class of 1960
“Thank you for all the work you do to help those most in need. You give them kindness and dignity. I was a 1965 graduate of ESHS. It makes me happy that my old school is still providing shelter for those in need. (We girls back “in the day” needed all the help we could get!)”
Mary Kay Frey, ESHS, Class of 1965