The Institute of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM) was founded in Béziers, France, in 1849, by Ven. Père Pierre Jean Antoine Gailhac and Mère St. Jean Pélissier Cure. From its very foundation, the first religious community was drawn to the educational apostolate. Since that time, the Sisters have been engaged in the ministry of education in sixteen countries on four continents. Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the first schools were established in Europe and the United States. While the education of the whole person is the general aim of all schools, RSHM schools are committed to the attainment of this goal through a deep belief in God who calls each person to the fullness of life.
Now, early in the 21st century, the passing on of institutions from religious to lay leadership is increasingly common due to dwindling membership in the religious orders that built them. To facilitate this transition, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, the founding order of Marymount Schools, formulated a set of Goals and Criteria in 1999 so that its original mission would continue to find expression. These goals are fulfilled within a school community which is composed of Board of Trustees, Board of Regents, administrators, faculty, staff, parents, students, graduates, and former students. Through implementation of the Goals and Criteria, an educational institution is identified as belonging to the RSHM network. A report on the year’s activities is produced and shared annually with the other Marymount schools.
The Goals and Criteria Committees are comprised of approximately 50 members from all the Marymount schools. These committees meet annually to discuss issues of leadership in their schools and attend workshops and lectures on leadership. Each committee member is in a leadership role in their respective school and works as a team member to spearhead and implement the goal chosen by the school for that year. The committee members alternate off the committee after a set term (usually three years; terms may be extended at the discretion of the Head of School). Heads of all the Marymount schools are ex-officio members of the committees.
Through implementation and fulfillment of the common Goals and Criteria throughout the RSHM Network of Schools, the original mission of the RSHM remains as the foundation of every Marymount school.