Society of the Sacred Heart & the History of Enslavement
In 2016, the United States and Canadian province of the Society of the Sacred Heart convened a Committee on Slavery, Accountability and Reconciliation to "recover the story of slavery in our early days in this country" and to "commit to truth, healing and reconciliation for a better future."
At a high level, what is known is that from the time of Philippine until the Civil War, the communities of the Religious of the Sacred Heart owned, bought and sold enslaved persons in the slave states of Missouri and Louisiana. According to the Society, enslaved persons built the buildings, made the bricks and sustained the foundations. They also worked alongside the sisters to take care of the children, cooking, washing and gardening.
The Committee was formed to recover the story of slavery in our early days in this country, share this historical facts, assist in the attempt to locate the descendants of enslaved persons who lived on property owned by the Society of the Sacred Heart, and take appropriate steps to address this painful chapter in the Society's history while also working to help transform on-going racists attitudes and behaviors.
On September 23, 2018, the Society hosted at event called “We Speak Your Names…and we remember” at St. Charles Borromeo Church and Cemetery in Grand Coteau, LA in conjunction with the Academy of the Sacred Heart to begin reparations with descendants of enslaved people.