Terezinha Cecchin, R.S.H.M., the leader of one of Loyola Marymount University’s sponsoring religious orders, told a full Sacred Heart Chapel on Tuesday about work that the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary does worldwide. Then she brought her message home to the crowd of students, faculty, administrators and staff.
“The challenge for us all is to answer: What type of difference are we called to make?” said Cecchin, superior general of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. “What ways can we do this? And what are the signs that we are making a difference?”
Her address was the keynote for the university’s Mission Day, an annual day of presentations and conversations that explore the LMU mission. The day’s activities, organized around the theme “Nurturing Hope in a Troubled World: Crossing Boundaries and Building Bridges,” included informal conversations with Cecchin and members of her general council that examined faith, Jesuit education and Ignatian and Marymount spirituality.
Cecchin, who oversees from Rome the 800-woman order, described R.S.H.M. missions in Mexico and Africa, then talked about LAMP – Los Angeles Ministry Project – where Marymount sisters are teaching English to immigrants and helping in a variety of ministries. She connected the founding of the order, in 1849 by Father Jean Gailhac, and educating women for leadership and service to the 1973 merger of Marymount College with Jesuit-run Loyola University that created Loyola Marymount University. She described that merger as “crossing to a moment in history.”
A native of Brazil, Cecchin became superior general in 2007, after holding several leadership posts, including director of initial formation for the R.S.H.M. Brazilian Province. She said among her order’s priorities in the coming year are to become more involved in denouncing institutions that profit from human trafficking and working to end slavery and trafficking.