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In 1998, Saint John Paul II was asked how he would use a $5 million gift that would come with no requirements attached. The Holy Father answered quickly and clearly:
Establish a 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 out of Saint John Paul'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. There he obtained an advanced degree at the Angelicum. Imagine how our Catholic story would have changed 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.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the program has provided more than $12 million in scholarships to over 1500 individuals, known as Saeman Scholars, to advance their education. They return to teach in their own countries and secure the future of the Church around the world.