Monday, July 22 2024

“The aims of a Marymount education are manifold:  to educate the heart and mind, and to provide for each student’s total growth, intellectually, spiritually, socially, and physically.”  M. Joseph Butler, RSHM.

A six-acre tract in the Bel-Air hills was purchased in September 1929 for the new location of Marymount School. A month later, the Stock Market crashed.  Miraculously, school attendance was not affected. With strong faith, building plans were made, and a loan secured.

In 1931 the ground was broken and blessed for the new structure and Mothers Butler and Gerard arrived for the dedication and laying of the cornerstone. In September 1932, Marymount School, Los Angeles opened its doors in Westwood, with a curriculum designed to integrate the arts, culture, and languages with the other disciplines. The halls were filled with the joy of Junior and High School students, and quiet evenings with the boarders studying. 

The following years saw the growth of Marymount School and the opening of Marymount Junior College on the campus. In 1947 Marymount Junior school relocated to 12001 Sunset Boulevard, providing space for children to play, dance, perform, and swim. The school flourished with a strong academic program for children from kindergarten to eighth grade. In June of 1993 Marymount Junior School, Los Angeles closed after 70 years. 

The 1950’s brought changes to Los Angeles and a need for parochial schools.  Cardinal McIntyre built Christ the King School and finding no sisters to staff it, he appealed to the RSHM. In September 1959, the school opened with four RSHM, a principal and 3 teachers, who commuted from Marymount, Westwood.  Ensuring the school had a strong foundation, the RSHM withdrew in 1969. 

Dear Marymount:

We shall not forget your guidance and your care; 
Towards our success you've amply done your share; 
You've taught us to accept our fate-- 
Whether small or great-- 

To welcome all life's sadness, sorrow, joy or peace-- 
Striving forever towards our goal, yet not to cease; 
Because the road is long and life not as desired; 
Our years with you, our lives have thus inspired. 
To Marymount this priceless gift we owe-- 
A gift to ever guard where we go.
Helen McGarry, Marymount Alumnae  

Marymount School, Los Angeles: 1930s

Marymount School, Los Angeles: 1940s Expansion

Marymount School, Los Angeles: 1930’s information brochure

AIM: The aim of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary is to give their pupils an education, moral, physical, and intellectual, which will be a firm foundation for a noble and useful life. Character education and personality development are not mere external aspects of this training: they are the basic features, rooted in the religious environment in which the pupils live.

Marymount School, Los Angeles – Field Day May 12, 1934

Mother Butler Society, 1955

Mother Butler inspired and shaped a tradition of education that has transcended the boundaries of time and culture, an educational tradition that continues to inspire young women and men globally so that they may have life to the full and share that life with others.  This education included identifying and calling forth the best in each student, as well as forming their hearts in gospel virtue and opening their minds to the broad spectrums of culture and academic discipline.

 Her constant prayer was to know and do God’s will and her favorite aspiration, “Live Jesus, live in me so that all I do be done by thee.”  Mother Butler’s zeal for the work of the Kingdom was reflected in her kindness and mercy, her generosity and selflessness, her boundless energy and exceptional will power and her missionary spirit. 

 This education included identifying and calling forth the best in each student, as well as forming their hearts in gospel virtue and opening their minds to the broad spectrums of culture and academic discipline.  She modeled this in her charity toward all and in her passion for the missionary work of the Church.  It is because of Mother Butler’s concern for the world’s poor and her desire to set an example that, participating in and supporting the missions came to be a part of RSHM sponsored or related ministries.

Marymount School – Chapel, 1958

Marymount Junior School, Brentwood 1946 – 1993

Sister Catherine Quinn, taught at MJS from 1947-1959, remembers when the school first opened. “There was a faculty of nine sisters, one for each class, and a sister who taught private piano lessons. Art, music and French were part of the curriculum. Miss Ryan’s School of Dance provided weekly ballet lessons for all classes.” – Brentwood News, May 1993

Swimming has always been a favorite activity of many Junior School students. The school’s pool and pool house are part of the late actor Tyrone Power’s estate and were included in the orange grove-laden land the nuns purchased to build Marymount. – Brentwood News, May 1993

Power’s biography includes a picture of him lying on a float in that same pool nowadays used by MJS students and children who attend(ed) Rainbow Camp, a summer camp that has based its activities at the Junior School for the past 16 years. – Brentwood News, May 1993

Another holdover from the Power estate is the Moorish Tower House that is a Brentwood landmark. Originally the gate house leading to Tyrone Power’s estate, the building once housed caretakers and later sisters from the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary through the years. Once, when parents were making safety improvements to the campus, Sister Ellen Marie, the sole occupant of the tower’s top floor room, was asked how she would escape if a fire broke out. One parent suggested that she grow her hair long like Rapunzel, but a rope ladder was purchased instead.” – Brentwood News, May 1993

Marymount Junior School: Moments in our wonderful day!

“There was no kindergarten at first. Instead there was a pre-primary class. A child had to be five-years-old to come. Eventually a kindergarten was added and the pre-primary became a nursery. It was taught by two exceptional ladies, Midge Good and the late Mary Murphy.” Marie Taranto, the school’s secretary for 31 years – Brentwood News, May 1993

“The school had a nice combination of the spiritual, a quality education and religious and social values promoting a loving concern for others. This was visible in the events that highlighted the school year,” Sister Catherine noted. – Brentwood News, May 1993

The school’s religious roots colored all the major activities. When the nuns staffed the school, the children always curtsied upon greeting a nun in the hall. That tradition disappeared when the nuns switched from their habits to secular clothing. In the early years the nuns were called “Mother” after the French for madame, but eventually they were addressed as “Sister,” recalls Marie Taranto (school’s secretary), who provided a sense of continuity to the school by working with several different administrators from 1960 through 1991. – Brentwood News, May 1993

Many celebrities’ children attended Marymount, including those of Peter and Pat Kennedy Lawford in 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated. Others were the children of Jimmy Durante, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Tom Harmon and Elyse Knox, Richard Egan, Pat O’Brien, Frank Sinatra, Randolph Hearst and Barron Hilton. – Brentwood News, May 1993