The Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Western American Area, joyfully marks its 100th Anniversary, commemorating a century of unwavering faith, service, and dedication to God’s people. The anniversary celebration, which commenced in September 2022 and culminated this September, has been a testament to the community’s commitment to looking back with gratitude, living the present with passion, and embracing the future with hope, echoing the words of Pope Francis.
The celebration was graced by the presence of international members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, including Sister Margaret Fielding, the Institute Leader from Ireland, and Institute Councilors Sisters Pare’ Moreira from Brazil, Ana Luisa Pinto from Portugal, and Sipiwe Phiri from Zambia. Additionally, Sister Roz Blanchet, Eastern American Area Leader from New York, and Sisters Fidelia Espin, Virginia Garza, and Julia Trejo from Mexico joined in the festivities, making the event a truly global gathering.
The 100th Anniversary was marked by three key events:
November 2022: A heartfelt remembrance of Sisters who have passed away in the last century, honoring their lives and contributions to faith, zeal, and risk-taking.
February 2023: A thought-provoking presentation by Sister Sandra Schneiders, IHM, encouraging attendees to live the present with passion and embrace the unknown future. Reflective responses were shared by Sisters Joan Treacy, RSHM, Sister Kit Gray, CSJ of Orange, and Cecilia Brizuela.
May 2023: A celebration of the 2023 Jubilarians during the Eucharistic feast of the Sacred Heart of Mary, instilling a sense of hope and anticipation for the future.
The community expressed deep gratitude for the rich history of service, extending from California to Mexico, North Carolina, and Honduras. The chosen theme, inspired by Pope Francis, “Looking at the past with gratitude, living the present with passion, and embracing the future with hope,” has guided their reflections throughout the year.
The 100th Anniversary Committee orchestrated an exhibit that visually narrated the community’s journey, from its humble beginnings on 28th Street in Los Angeles to its vibrant present of faith, zeal, collaboration, risk-taking.
In her closing remarks, Sister Kathleen Kelemen co-leader of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Western American Area, drew inspiration from their founder, Father Jean Gailhac, urging all present to “take courage, continue on the road to holiness, and imitate Jesus Christ.” She emphasized that it was their community’s honor to have friends, family, and fellow believers join them in this celebration, acknowledging the special role played by each guest in living out the community’s mission.
As the 100th Anniversary festivities come to a close, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Western American Area, embraces the future with renewed hope, guided by their deep faith and the enduring legacy of a century of service and devotion.
The exhibition will remain open to the public from September 10th to mid-October. For additional information, please visit the RSHM website at www.rshm.org.