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A few RSHM and friends were on site, and many sisters, relatives and friends watched on livestream as Sister Rosamond Blanchet was awarded the Doctorate of Humane Letters, honoris causa at Fordham University Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 21. The citation reads as follows:

Sister Roz receiving her honorary degree.

Upon her 2013 election as general superior of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary worldwide, Sister Rosamond Blanchet, RSHM, stated simply, “God always surprises.” Carrying out such surprises with faith and constancy—and her characteristic joy— has been a hallmark of her six-decade vocation as a Catholic nun.

Sister Rosamond, or Sister Roz as she is known to most everyone, entered the RSHM in 1962, the same year she graduated from Marymount College, which was part of Fordham University from 2002 until its closing in 2007. Initially an elementary school teacher and principal in Queens, she later served as independent living coordinator with Good Shepherd Services for young women and subsequently as pastoral associate at a parish in Rumson, New Jersey.

Throughout the 1980s, Sister Roz served as formation director for the congregation’s Eastern American Province before being named provincial councilor in 1997. Six years later, she became provincial superior of more than 200 sisters living and working in the eastern United States and at Marymount International Schools in Rome, England, and France.

Her election as general superior in 2013 marked the first time an American-born sister from the Eastern American Province was responsible for RSHM life and mission in 14 countries around the world. During her six-year tenure, Sister Roz strengthened outreach to marginalized and displaced women and children, and initiated social justice and environmental stewardship programs in keeping with the congregation’s guiding principle: Ut Vitam Habeant, “that all may have life.”

In 2005, Sister Roz fittingly accepted the Gloria Gaines Medal from Marymount College on behalf of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. Typically awarded to individuals who have made significant volunteer contributions to the Marymount community, the medal was awarded to the entire congregation, which founded the college in 1907. It was an expression of appreciation for continuing enrichment of the lives of Marymount alumnae and embodiment of the very same faith, compassion, and dedication that define a Marymount education and drive its alumnae to reach for surprising heights.

For her open-hearted devotion to lifting up women and children, and to embodying the life-giving message of the Gospels, we, the President and Trustees of Fordham University, in solemn convocation assembled and in accord with the chartered authority bestowed on us by the Regents of the University of the State of New York, declare Sister Rosamond Blanchet Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa. That she may enjoy all rights and privileges of this, our highest honor, we have issued these letters patent under our hand and the corporate seal of the University on this, the 21st day of May in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty-Two.

To this beautiful tribute we can only add AMEN!

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