Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

CLEVELAND (RNS) Faced with the increasingly difficult task of recruiting and retaining quality teachers in cash-strapped Catholic schools, an innovative mentoring program pairs young teachers with mentors, roommates and financial incentives to stay in the classroom. By Gregg Brekke.


  1. This sounds great, but the most important factor in retaining Catholic school teachers is to pay them as well as their public school counterparts.

    As a Catholic school teacher in New England, I make less than half of what someone in a public school with my education and experience earns.

    I love my job, my students, and my colleagues, but love doesn’t pay the rent.

  2. It’s one thing to be paid less than public school counterparts because of the vocational commitment, but the severe lack of retirement requires teachers to self-fund their own retirements. When they’re already paid so low they must live in former convents and rectories, and still live hand-to-mouth each and every month, there is no way anyone can afford to contribute to a structured retirement fund, let alone live on the wage. Retaining teachers requires paying long term, giving some sense of tenure and providing retirement one can live on until they die. Sadly none of these key criteria exist in many archdiocese across the country. The church relies on the good faith (pun intended) of the teachers and takes advantage of it to the hilt. It’s time for change in the church in many ways, and this is a key topic for change. Anyone who has committed past the point of no return where they are a part of their schools for good don’t have any other options. They can be fired at any time and then left out in the cold too. Where is the justice?

  1. […] A key component of the program includes Lalanne participants living in communal housing in the cities where they serve; the Cleveland teachers live in a house once occupied by the Sisters of the Humility of Mary. Participants share in cooking evening meals, cleaning, prayer and study time, and receive monthly visits from a chaplain. Dioceses have turned over unused rectories and convents to provide space for this communal atmosphere. [More] […]