The Marymount Institute for Faith, Culture, and the Arts was founded in 1991, endowed by a generous contribution from the Leavey Foundation to preserve the legacy and contributions of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. The institute attends to the relationship between different faiths, unique human cultures, and the arts. The programs within the Institute are interdisciplinary in nature, challenging both faculty and students to think in creative and holistic ways about human knowledge as we move forward in the 21st century.
The Marymount tradition traces its origins to the city of Béziers, in the south of France. The first community of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary gathered at he Refuge and Orphanage of the Good Shepherd on February 24, 1849; it was founded by Father Jean Gailhac and Appollonie Cure-Pelissier, later known as Mother Saint John, and included only five women.
The community focused on the development of the human person in society. The RSHM soon became involved in the education of women as a powerful means of transforming society. Together with their growing numbers, they founded a religious order that spread from Béziers to four continents.
Today, the congregation, numbering 1,200 sisters, serves in 15 countries in Europe, Africa, and North and South America. Education was one of the most urgent needs in countries where the RSHM found themselves, and many schools were established.
The first Marymount College in America was founded in Tarrytown, New York, in 1907. The RSHM then came to Los Angeles at the request of Bishop Cantwell in 1923 to “train Catholics in their faith and in the principles of social justice.” Marymount College in Los Angeles was established in 1933 and Marymount Junior College in Palos Verdes in 1968. In 1973 Loyola University and Marymount College merged. Teaching the fine and performing arts one of Marymount College’s unique contributions when the college merged, and this tradition is one of many preserved. The Marymount Institute is designed to help strengthen the contribution of the Marymount tradition to the LMU community.