Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary

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The RSHM symbol is the Cross worn by the sisters. The words on the cross, Ut Vitam Habeant mean: "That They May Have Life" (Jn. 10:10)

The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (known in the United States as the RSHM and in other parts of the world as RSCM) are a global Roman Catholic community of about 900 apostolic religious women, connected by personal contact, local, provincial and general meetings, telephone, e-mail and many websites to one another with a hope of promoting the integral development and liberation of the whole person. Today the diversity of ministries include educational, pastoral and social services. RSHM work in colleges and universities, secondary and elementary schools. RSHM serve in parishes and prisons, in hospitals and nursing homes, in studios and social centers, in retreat houses and retirement homes. Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary are administrators, teachers, social workers, artists, lawyers, health care personnel, musicians, librarians, spiritual directors, and others.

The community is not to be confused with the Religious of the Sacred Heart, another name for the Society of the Sacred Heart, who use the abbreviation RSCJ.


The rule of life of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, the RSHM Constitutions, was approved on the diocesan level in 1850, the canonical level in 1880 and revised in 1983. In all editions of the Constitutions, the mission of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary is defined: "to know and love God, to make God known and loved, to proclaim that Jesus Christ has come in order that all may have life."


The Institute of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM) was founded on February 24, 1849 in Béziers, France by Father Jean Gailhac and Appollonie Pelissier- Cure, later renamed Mother Saint Jean.[1] A group of women gathered together to form a community which took over the direction of a shelter for women and an orphanage. The Institute grew rapidly and by the time the original group made their first profession in May 1851 their number had grown to ten. In a short time, the sisters expanded their ministry beyond France, and presently, the community serves in 14 countries.[2]


The major authority of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary is the General Superior, who, with the General Council have residence in Rome, Italy. Smaller units of the institute, known as Provinces, have their own government in relationship to the general government. The smallest unit of government is the local community, who, with a local coordinator, work in relationship with the provincial and general government.


Provincial government is divided into Provinces and Regions. The RSHM provinces are as follows:



North America[edit]

South America[edit]

Colleges and Tertiary Institutions[edit]

United States

RSHM and justice[edit]

As a religious institute and a Non-governmental organization (NGO), RSHM place its resources at the service of those who are most in need of justice, enabling the powerless, the deprived, the marginalized, the voiceless to work effectively for their own development and liberation.



  • Connell, Kathleen, RSHM. A Journey in Faith and Time: History of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Vol. 2: The Growth of the Institute: The Foundations during Mother St. Croix Vidal's Leadership 1869–1878. Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, 1995.
  • Gailhac, Venerável P. Jean. Cartas, Vol. I and II.
  • Gailhac, R. P. The Religious Life. New York, 1934. English translation of R. P. Gailhac, La Vie Religieuse. 2 vols. Lille, 1892.
  • Leray, Abbé F. Un Apôtre: Le Père Gailhac (1802–1890), Fondateur des Religieuses du Sacre Coeur de Marie. Paris: Éditions Spes, 1939.
  • Maymard, V. Beatification and canonization of the servant of God, John Gailhac, priest and founder of the Institute of the Sacred Heart of Mary: inquiry into the historical value of Father V. Maymard's biography. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Historical Section. Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1977.
  • Milligan, Mary, RSHM. "That They May Have Life": A Study of the Spirit-Charism of Father Jean Gailhac, Founder. Dissertatione Ad Doctoratum, Pontificiae Universitatis Gregorianae, 1975.
  • Sampaio, Rosa do Carmo, RSHM. A Journey in Faith and Time: History of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Vol. 1: The Birth of the Institute: Its Development during Mother Saint Jean's Lifetime 1802–1869. Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, 1995.

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