To provide operational assistance and ensure the future of St. Mary Catholic School in Royal Oak, Michigan.

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To support youth educational programs for St. Michael Catholic School and Parish in Livonia, Michigan.

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On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan publicly introduced the newly formed St. Margaret of Castello Granting Fund.  The event was sponsored by Corporate Travel Service in its beautiful event space and hosted John and Kristan Hale—along with event hosts Mr. Ken Weingartz, Rod and Karen Mersino, Angela Moloney, Paul Mersino, and Joe and Laura Viviano.  The gathering was held to announce the creation of the St. Margaret of Castello Fund and inspire the community to join the Fund’s efforts.

It was attended by over 60 people and consisted of moving personal witnesses from families impacted by the desire for inclusive educational options for children with significant learning differences. A presentation by Paul Mersino on the history and purpose of the Fund, a video of the successful inclusion program at St. Mary’s Catholic Central Monroe, as well as a call to action by Foundation President and CEO, Angela Moloney.   The event concluded with questions and answers and numerous pledges of support from those in attendance, including an anonymous matching contribution of $200,000.  It was an unforgettable evening, and everyone there could attest to the passion in our Catholic community for this cause and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Named after the patron saint for disabled children, the St. Margaret of Castello Fund was established with the purpose of facilitating access to Catholic education for children who have been traditionally excluded from Catholic schools due to their learning differences or special needs.  The Fund—administered through the Catholic Foundation—is seeking to raise up to $5 Million in order to provide grants to Catholic schools who wish to create or expand an inclusive special education program willing to teach all students who apply, even those with intellectual disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or other similar needs.

In addition to granting funds to schools, the St. Margaret of Castello Fund is also compiling research, resources, and other information that it can provide to schools interested in starting such a program.  This “playbook” is a best-practices compilation that can be used as a framework for schools to adapt to their own specific needs.  The goal of the organization is nothing short of full inclusive special education programs at every Catholic school, whether K-8 or high school.

Be inspired to join the St. Margaret of Castello Fund’s mission as we strive for fully inclusive special education programs in every Catholic school. While the Fund has already received generous support, there is still much to raise and accomplish. Whether you are a volunteer, educator, parent, or donor, discover how you can contribute and learn more by visiting the St. Margaret of Castello website today. Explore the stories of resilience, learn about our initiatives, and discover the meaningful ways in which you can contribute to this transformative cause. Together, we can build a more inclusive future for all children.


Stephanie Quesnelle
Data Driven Detroit, Senior Research Analyst, Worker Owner

A teacher for more than 50 years at Michigan Catholic high schools, Sr. Rose Mary Sam has inspired students, parents, parishioners and friends to join her at Lourdes and serve as volunteers at the “City of the Poor” — so much so that the Catholic Foundation of Michigan created the Our Lady of Lourdes Pilgrimage charitable fund to continue Sister Sam’s 45-year mission.

Current Catholic Foundation board member, Rosanne (Bommarito) Brugnoni, a former student at Bishop Gallagher in the late 1970s, opened the fund in 2021 to honor her former teacher.

The fund created in Sr. Sam’s name will help provide two University of Detroit Mercy students with the chance to join medical professionals in caring for the sick and dying who have made the spiritual trek to Lourdes.

Sr. Rose Mary Sam with Emma Pehote and Allison Molloy, the 2022 UDM scholarship recipients.

“The vision was to create a scholarship fund – while Sr. Rose Mary Sam was still alive – to honor Sister’s 45 year legacy and create an opportunity for medical professionals to accompany the sick and dying on a journey of hope and healing,” shares Brugnoni, creator of the fund.

“The Catholic Foundation of Michigan provided the perfect landscape to work and collaborate with other organizations that shared a similar vision in creating the scholarship fund.”

The collaboration that was created with University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) College and Order of Malta for health care scholarship recipients was beyond the expectations of the fund’s initial vision.  After two years of planning and fundraising, the two UDM healthcare students received scholarships and will be traveling on May 2nd for a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France. Sr. Sam will be joined by a total of five travelers for the pilgrimage, including two UDM representatives who were so inspired by the pilgrimage that they self-funded their own trip to join the journey. These representatives had played an instrumental role in recruiting and interviewing the scholarship recipients.

“The spiritual impact of this transformational experience will enrich and empower their vocational calling and personal life. Please keep the students and all those traveling in your prayers,” shares Rosanne.

Past students, friends, and colleagues have been inspired to support this meaningful cause. You too can become a part of this living legacy.

Your support will honor the compassionate legacy of Sister Rose Mary Sam and help extend the spiritually transformative experience of volunteerism at Lourdes to future generations of healthcare professionals. Become part of the Living Legacy to honor Sister Rose May Sam’s 45-year legacy of helping others achieve a transformative, spiritual journey of hope, healing, and reconciliation.


More Information About the Our Lady of Lourdes Scholarship

Update: 5/20/2023

Greetings from Lourdes, France!

A group of pilgrims and two Catholic Foundation of Michigan scholarship fund recipients from the University of Detroit Mercy join Archbishop Vigneron and Sr. Rose Mary Sam with the Order of Malta In Lourdes, France.

Hear more about the impact of this scholarship fund directly from the award recipients in Lourdes, France by watching the video below.

‘This experience has deepened my level of compassion and enhanced my spiritual connection to patient care.’ -Our Lady of Lourdes scholarship recipient


April 27, 2023

CONTACT: Don Tanner (248) 762-1533





BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The Catholic Foundation of Michigan has named Chris Allen as the organization’s new Chair of the Board of Directors. The announcement was made by Angela Moloney, President and CEO of the Foundation.

Allen has served on the executive committee of the Board since 2019 including playing a key role in the areas of Board Governance and Nomination, and Grant and Impact. Allen replaces Pat Fehring who served as the organization’s inaugural Board Chair. With Fehring and Archbishop Vigneron, Allen also acted as a leader on the Founders Circle Pilgrimage to Greece, following in the footstep of St. Paul.

“I am honored to serve as the second Chair of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan,” said Allen. “Pat did a wonderful job in leading the board through five years of continuous growth. His vision and leadership cultivated $16.2 million dollars in grants and our position today as a $38 million dollar organization with true community impact.”

Allen’s service to community has also included acting as Chair of the Bon Secours Mercy Health System Board of Trustees, a $9 billion dollar healthcare multistate and international organization, and as Chair of Finance Committee for the Catholic Medical Mission Board. His extensive corporate background includes serving as President and CEO, Authority Health;  Executive Vice-President/COO, Hutzel Hospital; Corporate Vice President/Management Services, The Detroit Medical Center; Administrator, Detroit Osteopathic Hospital; and as Assistant Director, Hurley Medical Center.

“My goal is the bring the knowledge acquired through my life and experiences to further enhance the wonderful work of the Foundation, improve our name recognition with the support of the Board, and continue to unleash the gospel to people served in our region,” added Allen. “We are also blessed to have Ms. Angela Moloney and her staff leading the Foundation.”

“I am both grateful and excited to have Chris Allen accept the role as Board Chair of the Foundation,” said Patrick Fehring. “He has been a passionate supporter of the Foundation and active Board Member since our founding. I am confident he will lead the organization in its mission to support Catholic Ministries.”

The Catholic Foundation of Michigan serves as the center of Catholic philanthropy, building stronger communities and supporting Catholic ministries in their work.  Established and managed by lay Catholics in 2016 as a Michigan 501c3 nonprofit, the Foundation is endorsed by the Archdiocese of Detroit.

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We the community of St. Mary Catholic School will provide all children with a quality education in which they will come to know, love and serve God.

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To provide need-based scholarship assistance for those wishing to attend programs offered by focus: L.I.F.E., a project of Life Directions in Detroit, Michigan

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