The Seton League House in Austin, Texas offers affordable lodging for families with a loved one receiving active medical care. Learn more about us through the links below.
A Heritage of Healing
For over 100 years, Seton has provided healthcare services to Austin and the surrounding Central Texas community. Our doors have been open to all who need care, with focus on the poor and vulnerable.
In 1979, Seton extended that care beyond the halls of medicine to the halls of hospitality. Sr. Mary Rose McPhee, then administrator of Seton Medical Center, initiated a hostel project after she noticed family members of patients taking sponge baths and sleeping in hallways on make-shift beds.
Because many families needed an inexpensive place to stay while loved ones were in the hospital, the Seton League House was born. A true gift to the community, the first guest accommodations were a partnership between Seton Family of Hospitals, The Junior League of Austin and Dick Rathgeber, a local businessman and philanthropist. Rathgeber generously donated the use of four one-room apartments for a pilot program that summer. Located at 18th and Rio Grande, they were near the hospital. In the beginning, six beds were available to families.
Expanding the Possibilities
As word spread about this special program for families, the demand for rooms at the Seton League House quickly grew. Again, the Junior League of Austin and Rathgeber responded. With a $12,000 grant from the Junior League, the Seton League House was moved into a larger and more permanent facility closer to Seton Medical Center Austin. The new League House, a four-plex at 3501 Owen Circle, was owned by Austin Diagnostic Clinic, which provided the space at a reduced cost from 1979 to 1981. Each apartment contained a bedroom, bath, and equipped kitchen to provide out-of-town guests a much needed refuge.
Out-of-town family members were appreciative. One guest said, “How fantastic. I’ve never heard of such a courtesy by any other hospital and so many wanting to be helpful to tired, worried people.” Another added, “We were delighted to know of it and found, by far, more than we expected.”
A Little Imagination and a Lot of Vision
Two years later, the four-plex on Owen Circle was overflowing with families and again more space was needed. The new vision for the Seton League House became a location on the grounds of Seton Medical Center Austin.
Though starting with an unsightly metal warehouse, Chairman Dick Rathgeber and the Seton League House Board were not to be deterred. “We literally turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse,” said Rathgeber. Hundreds of individuals, organizations and businesses donated virtually everything for a new establishment. With a little imagination and a lot of vision, the former eyesore metal building was transformed into a welcoming tan building with a bright blue canopy. Twenty-nine warm, spacious rooms awaited guests. Located on Medical Parkway between 34th and 35th Streets, the new Seton League House opened its doors on May 25, 1982.
A Beacon of Light
The Medical Parkway location was home to the Seton League House for 13 years. Yet, once again, the need for rooms outgrew the facility. In August 1995, League House moved to its current site, 3207 Medical Parkway. The fourth Seton League House is a 38-room building that continues Seton’s fundamental mission of caring for the in need started by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac. Many generous donations – from outlying communities to Seton volunteers – made the new Seton League House a reality.
Since its inception, thousands of guests have stayed at the Seton League House. A shelter refuge or home away from home, Seton League House provides much more than a roof overhead. Caregivers receive space and quiet time they need during stressful times in their lives. Or they gain companionship with others who are dealing with similar situations. Seton League House is a place to reflect, or if necessary, grieve. Most importantly, being close to loved ones while they receive medical care is a priceless gift, say guests. As one visitor summarized, “This place is a beacon of light in a storm.”