Mary Milligan, R.S.H.M.

Message from the President 

April 5, 2011

Dear LMU Community:

I am saddened to tell you that Mary Milligan, R.S.H.M., passed away Saturday, April 2, at the age of 76. Sister Mary was an important figure in LMU’s history who helped the university grow academically and spiritually.

In her nearly 40-year career, Sister Mary was provost of the university from 1986 to 1989 and dean of Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts from 1992 to 1997. She also served as a trustee of the university from 1987 to 2006. Early in her higher education career she taught French and theology at Marymount College in Los Angeles and Marymount Palos Verdes, and Hebrew scripture and New Testament at LMU. She was also a professor of theology at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California.

Sister Mary was an outstanding leader within the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, which she joined 56 years ago. Steeped in the history of the order, she served on the Sources Commission and coordinated the International Commission for the Revision of the Constitutions. Sister Mary served as R.S.H.M. general superior in Rome, as a member of the General Council, provincial superior of the Western American Province, and as a member of the Provincial Council. She served on numerous theological and religious life commissions locally, nationally and internationally. Sister Mary was also a prolific writer on faith, religious life and spirituality. She was deeply committed to the Ignatian tradition, and was a much sought after spiritual and retreat director.

A native Californian, Sister Mary earned her B.A. in French at Marymount College in Tarrytown, N.Y., her M.A. in sacred scripture at St. Mary’s College in Indiana, and her Ph.D. in English at the L’Université de Paris and a Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Sister Mary is survived by her sisters Patricia Marlowe and Geraldine Gesto, her brother, Mike, and four nieces and three nephews. She will be deeply missed by her R.S.H.M. sisters and the thousands of people whose lives she touched.

Vigil Service will be Friday, April 8 at 7:00 p.m. and Mass of Christian Burial, will be Saturday, April 9 at 11:00 a.m., both at Sacred Heart Chapel. Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City.  To honor Sister Mary’s life, the R.S.H.M. ask that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Mary Milligan, R.S.H.M. Endowed Lecture Series, c/o Alma Vorst, 1 LMU Drive, University Hall Suite 2800, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

We at LMU are profoundly grateful that Sister Mary gave so generously of her intellect, energy and spirit. Please keep her and her R.S.H.M. sisters in your thoughts and prayers.


David W. Burcham