Catholic Heritage and History of Marymount

A Journey of Love

Marymount California University (formerly Marymount College Palos Verdes, California) was established in 1968 as a two-year institution of higher education by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM). In 1975 the RSHM transferred responsibility of the university to a lay board of trustees. The RSHM provides a legacy to the University, through which their charism and education tradition inspires the institution’s mission.

Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary
So that all may have life and have it to the full (JN 10:10)

History of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Mission Statement

The mission of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary is “to know and love God, to make God known and loved. This calls us to be women of prayer and compassion, and to put ourselves and our resources at the service of those most in need of justice.


Father Jean Gailhac

Founder of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary

Jean Gailhac was born in Béziers, France, on Nov. 13, 1802. He was ordained a priest in the diocese of Montpellier in 1826. Shortly after his ordination, he requested of his bishop, placement as chaplain of the civil and military hospital in the city of Béziers. This work, which he continued until the foundation of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary in 1849, put him in contact with the most needy and marginalized of his society.

The Institute of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary was founded on Feb. 24, 1849, when a group of women, called by Father Gailhac, gathered to form a community dedicated to the works he had begun.

He outlived the first two RSHM general superiors, Mother St. Jean and Mother St. Croix. He died on Jan. 25, 1890 at the age of 88. During the 1950s, Mother Gerard Phelan introduced his cause of beatification. In 1972 he was declared Venerable by the Church.


Mother Saint Jean

Mother St. Jean Cure-Pelissier
Co-foundress, Benefactor, Mother Superior

Appollonie Pelissier was born Feb. 2, 1809, into a well-established family of Murviel-les-Béziers in the south of France. Appollonie Pelissier grew up in a deeply Christian home. At age 20, she married Eugene Cure. Together, they generously supported the many works of charity initiated by Eugene’s lifelong friend, Jean Gailhac. Eugene Cure died suddenly in November 1848. Soon after, Appollonie offered herself and her considerable wealth towards the founding of the religious community, already envisioned by Father Gailhac, for the direction and service of the women’s shelter and orphanage of the Good Shepherd which he had begun. On Feb. 24, 1849, Appollonie moved to the Good Shepherd where she and five companions became the first members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

As co-foundress and first superior, Appollonie, now known as Mother St. Jean, worked closely with Father Gailhac and governed the Institute until her death. During her time as superior, the shelter for women was transformed into a preservation for young girls at risk and a boarding school for girls was begun, as well. As the young Institute took on a variety of works, Mother St. Jean emphasized the need to strengthen unity in the midst of this diversity. An important moment for the new Institute was the granting of legal status in 1856 by decree of the Emperor Napoleon. Mother St. Jean Pelissier Cure died on March 4, 1869.


Expansion of the RSHM to the United States

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 Dec. 8, 1907. In 1923, a group of sisters were sent to California at the request of Bishop John J. Cantwell to establish Marymount School in Los Angeles. Here, as well, the work of the RSHM quickly spread to both parochial and secondary levels. In 1948, Marymount College, Los Angeles, received its charter from the state of California.

In 1968, when the four-year college moved to Loyola University, Marymount Palos Verdes California College opened as a two-year co-educational Catholic college providing a unique educational opportunity for its students. In 1986, the College officially changed its name to Marymount College Palos Verdes, California. Then, in 2012, the College transformed once again into a four-year institution of higher education, offering bachelor’s degrees. In 2013, the addition of graduate programs and the physical expansion of the College to include campuses in San Pedro and Lake County, California were the catalysts for yet another name change. Today, Marymount California University stands as a testament to the journey of love that began in France more than two centuries ago.

The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary have long since entrusted their charisma and educational tradition to their lay colleagues. Yet, to this day, the president, board of trustees, faculty and staff of Marymount California University continue to live and promote the RSHM mission.


The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary Who Served Marymount California University in Rancho Palos Verdes:

1972 present
1968 1999
1972-2000
1969-1989
1969-1987
1972-1989
1974-1989
1969-1980
1970-1982
1969-1976
1971-1978
1969-1976
1969-1975
1969-1975
1969-1975
1969-1975
1969-1975
1976-1981
1969-1975
1969-1972
1968-1972
1971-1975
1972-1975
1970-1974
1969-1972
1969-1971
1970-1973
1980-1982
1985-1987
1969-1971
1975-1977
1968-1971
1968-1970
1968-1970
1968-1969
1968-1969
1970-1972
1970-1971
1974-1975
1973-1974
1977-1978
1980-1981
Sr. Helen Borkowski
Sr. Mercedes Gutierrez
Sr. Rosemarie McManus
Sr. Elizabeth Mitchelson
Sr. June Patricia McManus
Sr. Carol Brody
Sr. Enda Martin
Sr. Theresa Cunningham
Sr. Francoise O’Hare
Sr. Edmond Murray
Sr. Charles McAuley
Sr. Eileen Tuohy
Sr. Helena Umana
Sr. Martin Byrne
Sr. Perpetua Ledwidge
Sr. Attracta O’Brien
Sr. Marguerite McLoughlin
Sr. Constance Dooley,
Sr. Agnes Traina
Sr. Lucy Thorpe
Sr. Brenda Fielding
Sr. Anne Duffy
Sr. Jean Mary Aurand
Sr. Dolores Brophy
Sr. Teresita Carrillo
Sr. Dorothy Bartels
Sr. Maureen Murray
Sr. Jeanette von Hermann
Sr. Dominique McHenry
Sr. Esther Lopez
Sr. Anita Diaz
Sr. Margaret Hammill
Sr. Virginia Garza
Sr. Carmelita Elliott
Sr. Virginia Joseph
Sr. Marguerite Greene
Sr. Florence Reilly
Sr. Raymunde McKay,
Sr. St. John Halloran
Faculty
Dean of Students; Registrar; Admissions
Faculty
Food Services
Dean of Business Sciences
Director of Food Services; Health Center
Director of Campus Ministry;
Academic Dean
Faculty
Faculty
Director of Financial Aid
Faculty
Faculty
Faculty
Librarian
Housekeeping Services
Faculty
College Nursery School Teacher
Health Assistant
Faculty
Librarian; 1970-71 Vice-President
Health Services Assistant
Housekeeping Services
Residence Supervisor
Dean
Director of Residence
Faculty
Director of Auxiliary Enterprises
Residence Supervisor
Faculty
Faculty; Admissions Office; Recruitment
Sacristan
Housekeeping Services
Housekeeping Services
Faculty
Housekeeping Services
Gift Shop
Residence Supervisor
Faculty
Faculty
Faculty
Guidance

Campus Ministry

Campus Chaplains: Fr. Campos, Fr. Marquez, and Fr. Meyer
Campus Ministry Liaison: Sister Antoine-Marie Baurier
Location: TDW 208

Mission Statement:
Campus Ministry at Marymount California is the pastoral expression of the University’s mission and identity.  Campus Ministry seeks to serve the spiritual needs of students, staff and faculty. Campus Ministry contributes to the educational mission of Marymount California University by providing religious education, strengthening community life, nourishing prayer and spirituality, and serving our neighbors.