Ministry Spotlight-Saint Martin de Porres High School

March 12, 2023 | Posted in Catholic Sisters Week

Saint Martin de Porres High School, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a member of the Cristo Rey Network of high schools. Delivering a career focused, college preparatory education in the Catholic tradition for students with limited economic resources, Saint Martin prepares students to become men and women of faith, purpose, and service. The HM Sisters co-endorse the school with the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

A new school does not appear overnight, and such was the case of Saint Martin de Porres High School. At the turn of the millennium, Richard Clark, then principal of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, helped lay the foundations for the new private high school located in the St. Clair-Superior neighborhood on the East Side of Cleveland, Ohio. Influenced by his long-time friend Fr. John Foley, a Jesuit who was a key figure in the founding of the first Cristo Rey school in Chicago, and visits to the Fe y Alegria (Faith and Joy) Schools in Peru, Clark garnered support to establish a new school based on the Cristo Rey model in Cleveland. Clark became Saint Martin’s founding president.

The Cristo Rey model provides the opportunity for students from economically disadvantaged families to attend a college prep program in order to move on to higher education. In many cases these scholars are the first in their families to attend college. The model also provides meaningful opportunities for area professionals to interact with and mentor students. More than 100 Cleveland-area businesses, firms, and non-profits have partnered with Saint Martin to establish this mentorship program.

The Magnificat on a window at Saint Martin represents the HM presence at the school.

From 2000 to 2002 Sr. Madeline Shemo, HM [deceased], served as a consultant with the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation doing feasibility studies for such an educational endeavor by the Jesuits. She conducted many interviews and gathered statistics pertinent to the Cleveland educational environment.

During August Community Days in 2002 the HM Sisters were introduced to the possibility of co-endorsing the new endeavor. Some financial support along with board service constituted the commitment as a co-endorser along with the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus.

By 2003 the location and professional staff was beginning to take shape along with commitments of area businesses and other organizations who would employ the students during the school year. All was in readiness in September 2004 as 105 students began their work-study experience.

Sr. Mary Pat Cook, HM, (front row, right) and Sr. Josie Chrosniak, HM, (front row, fourth from right) currently serve on the Saint Martin Board of Trustees.

For the school’s first ten years an HM Sister served as the student enrichment coordinator and librarian. Another sister taught Spanish for a year while HM Sisters have served on the board of trustees up to the present time.

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