Following the call of Pope Francis and the urging of alumni, SLUH responds.
Last winter a young family arrived in St. Louis after fleeing their native Sudan, a country enduring civil war so brutal it has spawned one of the world’s worst refugee crises and left half of the nation’s population, some six million people, in need of humanitarian aid.
The family, including a mother, father and three boys (ages 6, 11 and 13), was sponsored by the International Institute of St. Louis, an organization near SLUH that helps immigrants find dignity in America so that they can contribute positively to the community. The oldest boy is undergoing treatment for leukemia at Cardinal Glennon – one of the factors that allowed the family to come to St. Louis.
Shortly after their arrival, Fr. Paul Sheridan, S.J. (theology teacher and SLUH President Emeritus) arranged
through the International Institute for the family to move into the former Jesuit residence on Lawn Place. In addition to housing provided by SLUH, the family has received incredible support from the Mothers Club. Alumni mothers have been very generous by taking the family to see city landmarks such as the St. Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Science Center and Turtle Park; arranging for them to visit with a SLUH family in their home; hosting a ‘block party’ for the family to meet their neighbors on Lawn as well as other SLUH alumni families; assisting with transportation to Camp Rainbow, which helps families of children with cancer; delivering a Thanksgiving dinner, and more.
“The boys are sports fans, especially soccer, and we are hoping to introduce them to basketball and get them to some SLUH games,” says Dede Pitts, Alumni Mothers Club volunteer who has been instrumental in supporting the Sudanese family. “The oldest, according to his dad, has always been interested in music and is learning to play the guitar.”
She adds that the family is very grateful for the outpouring of support from SLUH, which recently celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Mothers Club.
In 1927, a group of SLUH mothers raised funds to repair devastating tornado damage at Backer Memorial. In addition to aiding the school’s recovery, their effort spawned the advent of the Mothers Club – and Alumni Mothers Club for past moms. Through a variety of social, service, spiritual and fundraising activities, the Mothers Club provides an opportunity for mothers of students to partner with SLUH in the development of their sons.