The Institute of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (RSHM) was founded in Béziers, France in 1849 by the Venerable Father Gailhac and Mother St. Jean Cure-Pelissier and embraced a mission of education from the very beginning. In 1903, the Congregation sent Mother Joseph Butler to New York, assigning her the mission of bringing Catholic education to young girls in America. Under her leadership, the first Marymount opened in Tarrytown, New York in December 1907.
Mother Butler brought RSHM education to Italy in 1929, after meeting with Pope Pius XI, whom she had come to visit upon her election as the Superior General. The first Marymount in Rome was established on Via Nomentana in 1930, where the bilingual Istituto Marymount is today.
In 1946, a delegation from the U.S. Embassy approached the RSHM about opening an international school to serve the children of Allied personnel in Rome following WWII. Rising to the occasion with great fortitude and enthusiasm, the RSHM officially opened Marymount International School on October 16, 1946 with 30 students, twice as many as expected.
Following a period of significant growth in its student population, the school in 1953 purchased and moved to the magnificent Villa Lauchli in the northern part of the city, where Marymount is situated today. Three years later, the school completed construction of the second academic building on campus, the spacious and light-filled Butler Hall, which now houses the Secondary School. In 1962, the residence building opened, accommodating the female boarders, a chapel, and the dining room in what is today St. Jean Hall. A building for the Congregation’s headquarters, Gailhac Hall, followed in 1968 and now houses the Elementary School.
Marymount introduced the International Baccalaureate (IB) program in 1985, adding an important element to the school’s curriculum for Secondary School students. In 1991, the profile of the school changed substantially when the school became entirely co-educational, having previously admitted boys only until Grade 3. Subsequently, the school discontinued its boarding program in 1995 and reconfigured the dormitory to house an exceptionally colorful Early Childhood Center and additional Secondary School classrooms.
The school’s campus expanded in 2001 with the purchase of an additional seven acres of land, and again in 2006 when the City of Rome agreed to lease land adjacent to the campus for the development of a soccer field. Marymount today is a vibrant learning community that continues to attract exceptional students from all over the world.
Year of Jean Gailhac
In November 2022 all Global Network of RSHM Schools marked the opening of the Year of Jean Gailhac in celebration of the 220th Anniversary of Venerable Jean Gailhac’s birth. Père Gailhac was the charismatic and inspiring founder of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary who set the path along which the RSHM, and the 19 Global Network of RSHM Schools they founded, continue to follow in fulfilment of our common goal “That all may have life”, and in the provision of a transformative education that prepares global-minded student leaders committed to social justice and peace.
The Global Network of RSHM Schools and Marymount's Mission...
A walk through history
Listen to Marymount's History through this interview with Sr. Michaeline, RSHM