Marymount's History and TraditionsThe Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary
The Institute of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary was founded on February 24, 1849, when a group of women gathered together to form a community dedicated to the works of Father Jean Gailhac, a priest in Béziers, France. Appollonie Cure, Eulalie Vidal, Rosalie Gibbal, Cécile Cambon, Rose Jeantet and Marie Roques were joined a few weeks later by Marie Maymard. They took over the direction of the works of the Good Shepherd which included a shelter for women and an orphanage. The Institute grew rapidly and by the time the original group made their first profession in May of 1851 their number had grown to ten.
Each member of this group brought her own talents and capabilities; each one assumed responsibility for some aspect of their common mission. Led by Mother St. Jean, first superior, they sought to be followers of Jesus who came that “all may have life” (Jn 10:10) and to grow in knowledge and love of God.
In the United States, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary began their work in Sag Harbor, New York. They quickly expanded their work into parochial and private schools primarily in the eastern United States. Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York was founded December 8, 1907. In 1923, a group of sisters were sent to California at the request of Bishop John J. Cantwell, founding Marymount School in Los Angeles. Here also the work of the RSHM quickly spread to both parochial and secondary levels and, in 1947, Marymount College, Los Angeles, received its charter from the state of California.
The roots of Marymount’s founding Congregation reflect a commitment to education and to serving those in need – a commitment that remains vital at Marymount today. Marymount University, the first Catholic college to be established in Virginia, was founded in 1950. Through the years, it has grown from a two-year college for women into a comprehensive, coeducational Catholic university serving approximately 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students.