Notes of Gratitude to the RSHM
The Academy of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Park Terrace, better known as SHM, was an all-girl Catholic high school in upper Manhattan. I was a student there from 1963-1967. I remember it being a time of political strife and uncertainty. Many of our brothers, cousins, and boyfriends were being drafted and sent off to an undeclared war in a far-off country, Viet Nam. College campuses were rife with student demonstrations and sit-ins. Even our faith was jolted by Vatican II.
SHM was a safe haven and refuge for many of us girls from large families and two-bedroom apartments. It was there we encountered the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. These faith-filled devout women encouraged us to pray, to think for ourselves and of others. They took on the task of educating young girls to be productive world citizens. It was here we experienced first-hand the kind and giving ways of the RSHM’s. Be it in the classroom, after school at basketball games, weekend debate tournaments, or marching in the Columbus or St. Patrick’s Parade. We could always count on them. They were always there…for us. It was a wonderful and gratifying feeling. A young life touched by kindness…you never forget.
A ‘spirit’ was evident and permeated every classroom and corridor of that school – we mattered — and we knew it. Some people have horror stories of their high school years, but I can honestly say that SHM was a joy-filled place for me and I know it was because of the RSHM spirit—long after SHM, the building, has been shut and boarded I know that spirit is alive and well as I experience it every time I gather in union with former students and the RSHM community.
So, a big heartfelt ‘Thank You’ dear Sisters for your dedication and faithful service to those you served. To those who serve now and to those who have gone before. I think Pere Gailhac and Mere St. Jean can rest easy. Their good works continue to be practiced today through the loving and faith-filled Daughters of SHM. They are tireless in their mission and with their limitless fidelity to God, they continue their mission to make God known and loved. Ut Vitam Habeant.