Marymount Celebrates RSHM History with Founders’ Week

February 18 – 22, 2019 was Founders’ Week at Marymount, a time to celebrate the school’s Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM) founders. The RSHM was founded in 1849, in Béziers, France by Father Jean Gailhac. Together with Appollonie Pelissier- Cure (Mother Saint Jean), he founded and ran the Good Shepherd Refuge for women. This refuge provided housing and vocational training for women who had otherwise turned to prostitution to survive. The RSHM’s mission was to protect and teach the neediest and most marginalized members of society “so that all may have life and have it to the full.” Today, the RSHM is an international congregation of Catholic women religious, serving in 13 countries in diverse ministries.

On Monday, February 18, 2019, Campus Ministry sponsored an RSHM Sisters Service Event. Students wrote notes and assembled care packages for the RSHM sisters in Tarrytown, New York.  

On a snowy Wednesday, February 20, 2019, Marymount Student Life sponsored an Instagram Live keynote address with Sister Maureen Kelleher, entitled “A Brief Encounter with Southern Neighbors.” Sister Maureen serves as a lawyer at legal aid services of Collier County Florida, providing free services for low income clients. Sister Maureen’s was one of the first students at Marymount University, when there were just 11 students. While in D.C. Sister Maureen was lobbying members of the judiciary committee on behalf of Haitians, Salvadorians, and Hondurans facing an end to Temporary Protected Status (TPS). During her address, she spoke of some of the immigration challenges that she has encountered while working with Haitian, Salvadorian, and Honduran immigrants in Florida.

On Thursday, February 21st, Sister. Bianca Haglich, Director of the RSHM Weaving Center in Tarrytown, New York led an exhibit and sale of weaving products in the atrium of the Rose Bente Lee Center. Sister Bianca also stuck around for an Ice Cream Social in the atrium.

Marymount University was founded by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM) in 1950. The Catholic identity of Marymount University is properly understood in light of the grace-filled models and inspirations given by the RSHM women religious of the past and present. Today, the RSHM Sisters sponsor schools at all levels of education on four continents and place themselves and their resources “at the service of those who are most in need of justice, especially women and children, enabling the powerless, the deprived, the marginalized, the voiceless to work effectively for their own development and liberation” (RSHM Mission Statement). Their mission statement further affirms that “We are called to be community, to know and celebrate God’s love for us and to make that love known to others.”

Mother M. Joseph Butler, RSHM (1860-1940) founded the first Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York in 1907. She stated, “The aims of a Marymount education are manifold: to educate the heart and mind, and to provide for each student’s total growth, intellectually, spiritually, socially, and physically.”