Amidst the turmoil and strife of the French Revolution, a noblewoman, Marie Adelaide de Cicé dared to dream of a new way of living religious life while remaining in the world without benefit of habit or cloister. Providentially she met a Jesuit priest, Pierre Joseph de Clorivière, S.J., who was exploring new ways to serve the church and to keep religious life from becoming extinct in France.
On July 19, 1790 Fr. de Clorivière had the first of two inspirations…a society for priests that would reinforce their spiritual lives and provide the necessary support needed for them to serve in troubled times.
On August 18 he had the second inspiration…to found a similar society for women, a project which corresponded to the way the Holy Spirit was leading Marie Adelaide de Cicé.
On February 2, 1791 the two societies were born amidst the revolution: Priests of the Heart of Jesus and Daughters of the Heart of Mary.
Coming to America in 1851
At the invitation of Bishop Rappe of Cleveland OH, the first Daughters of the Heart of Mary (DHM) arrived in America in 1851. Soon after, they established a school in Buffalo NY which flourishes today as Nardin Academy.
By the early 20th Century DHM were involved in all levels of education, pastoral and diocesan ministries. Many worked unknown as religious in the fields of nursing, social work and business.
Today the Society still provides for the continuance of religious life under all circumstances in every milieu where a Daughter of the Heart of Mary is sent in obedience to proclaim the kingdom of God.