Mother Rita Rowley
“For the early Christians. . . faith was an abundance of life in Christ, to be lived and transmitted to others. What the contemporary Christian is searching for is fully dimensioned living. A rising generation is in search of the Divine as the very core of its life.” (Mother Rita Rowley, 1963)
Elizabeth Rowley was born August 7, 1913, in County Leitrim, Ireland. She entered the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Tarrytown, New York, in 1931. She received her advanced education after entering the order: a bachelor’s degree from Tarrytown, NY, a master’s from McGill University in Montreal and a doctorate from Laval University in Quebec.
She served as directress of Marymount School of New York, Fifth Avenue, New York, and foundress and dean of Marymount Manhattan College, 71st Street, New York.
Mother Rita was appointed Provincial Superior of the Eastern American Province. She was elected July 16, 1960, as the seventh General Superior of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.
Mother Rita laid the foundation for the Institute’s response to Vatican II by emphasizing academic, ecclesial, and spiritual renewal. She wrote three circular letters to the Institute. Their titles indicate the focus of her leadership: The Role of Religious in the Church of Today (1961); What Spirit Animates You: The Letter Kills, the Spirit Gives Life (1962); Renewal (1963). During her term of office, the Generalate was transferred to Rome and the religious habit was modified.
Mother Rita’s term as General Superior ended prematurely at her death July 1, 1963.
Marymount Manhattan College, NY, established The Rowley Society to recognize those graduates and friends of the College who have made Marymount Manhattan part of their own legacies by establishing a planned gift that will directly benefit the College.
The Rowley Society is named in honor of the accomplishments of Mother Rita Rowley, RSHM, Ph.D. Mother Rita became the Founding Dean of Marymount Manhattan College. For more information please visit: Marymount Manhattan