Seton Academy students remembered in man’s will

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CENTRAL FALLS—Thanks to the generosity of a man who sought to provide for a local Catholic school in his will, many more students and their families will find it a little easier to meet the cost of an education at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy.

Not much is known about the late Raymond Rivard, except that he resided in a nursing facility for several years before he died, and that he left in his estate two bequests to the church, according to the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development, which is handling the generous gift

Rivard made the larger of the two bequests—$122,000—to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy in the name of his mother, Gertrude T. Rivard, and he made the second bequest, of $60,000, to the Catholic Charity Fund in the name of his father, Napoleon Rivard.

“We were very excited to hear the news,” said St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Principal Marie Rocheleau. “The money is being put into an endowment fund, and any revenue will be used to provide scholarships for students.”

With a student body of 157 representing several area communities in grades Pre-k through 8, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy serves many students from bilingual households, and also from single-parent households.

“This is a safe, nurturing place for them to be,” said Rocheleau.

The school opened in 1995, formed by the combined resources of three parish schools in Central Falls: Notre Dame (1895), Holy Trinity (1905), and Saint Matthew (1908).

Rocheleau said she first learned of the bequest last fall. Some of the proceeds designated to benefit the school came from the sale of property Rivard owned.

She said Rivard, who had been an unassuming parishioner of nearby Holy Spirit Parish, died in 2007.

“He just dropped down from the sky to help us out, which is a wonderful thing,” Rocheleau said of the generous gift, which will continue to help provide students with a high-quality education for many years to come.

According to the Office of Stewardship and Development, both of the endowments are being held by the diocese’s Catholic Foundation, which will ensure funds are disbursed annually to both organizations as intended.

The Foundation uses an industry standard formula that distributes 4.5 percent of a three-year rally average of the market value of the fund.

Based on the $122,000 bequest, that formula would generate approximately $6,000-$7,000 a year for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Academy, money that will be used to provide scholarships for students who demonstrate the greatest financial need, according to Rivard’s wishes.

“Both the Academy and the Catholic Charity Fund will receive funds in perpetuity,” said Anthony T. Gwiazdowski, director of Stewardship and Development.

“Mr. Rivard is one of a great many people throughout the diocese who have left a financial legacy that will live on through the Catholic Foundation. We’re very grateful to Mr. Rivard for the support he is providing.”