What does it mean to be a Catholic School when the majority of students are not Catholic?
Even after the majority of Catholics had long abandoned the Gesu parish in North Philadelphia, Gesu School remained — as a matter of faith and social justice — to provide our mostly non-Catholic inner-city children with a quality education. At Gesu, we believe that each student is a gift from God who needs nurturing, love, guidance and devotion. We believe that each child has the ability to learn, and it is our responsibility and purpose to provide unconditional love and a supportive atmosphere in which each child can develop to his or her fullest potential.
While Catholic beliefs and traditions are taught as part of the religious curriculum, we place a strong emphasis on helping students develop strong characters, solid morals and lasting values. We teach respect for all people and all faiths, exposing students to the world’s major religions. We raise students’ awareness of social justice issues and encourage generosity.
From classroom debates over the death penalty and service-learning projects to mission collections that help children overseas, Gesu’s students have the opportunity to grow spiritually, socially, and emotionally, whatever their faith background.
Jesuit and IHM Charism
Both of the religious congregations that sponsor Gesu School — the Jesuits and the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters — are well-known and well-respected educators. Gesu School benefits immensely from the talents and special charisms of these two amazing groups of men and women. We are blessed to have one Jesuit and two IHMs as part of our leadership and staff, as well as several Jesuits and IHMs on our Board of Trustees.
Some of the special qualities you will find at Gesu thanks to the Jesuits and IHMs are:
- Service to our children with love, hope and fidelity
- The conviction that every child can learn, regardless of the challenges they face
- Cura personalis, or care for the whole person
- The dedication to shaping “young women and men for others”
- A quest for the “Magis” — always striving to do and be “greater” for the service of God
Pierre Toussaint, Our Patron Saint
Pierre Toussaint, is a fitting model for all who are connected with Gesu School. Toussaint, a Haitian slave, moved to New York City with his master in the 1700s. Despite his own hardships, he began helping free many other slaves, choosing even to free others before himself. He dedicated his life to helping the less fortunate, giving everything he and his wife Juliette had to poor and orphaned children, opening a school to teach black children a trade, and providing medical care for victims of yellow fever. Toussaint’s life is an example to generous individuals who care deeply about providing opportunities for the poor and disenfranchised.
Pray for Our Mission
Never underestimate the power of prayer. Yes, we always need money, sponsors for children, and volunteers, but not everyone can do these things. Yet each and every person can help us through their prayers. We need and appreciate your prayers so that the Gesu mission can continue, and with God’s help, flourish! Lord God, bless all who in any way assist us in serving your children.
Submit a Prayer Request
Please do not hesitate to email special requests for prayers, for the sick, the deceased or any need. These intentions are remembered each day we offer prayer in our school chapel.