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Mary Aloysia Hardey (1809-1886)

Mother Aloysia Hardey

Mary Aloysia Hardey, a central figure in the expansion of the Society of the Sacred Heart in North America, was born in Piscataway, Maryland, December 8, 1809. As a child Mary moved with her family to Opelousas, Louisiana and in 1822 enrolled as a student at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in nearby Grand Coteau.

Upon completing her studies Mary entered the novitiate of the Society of the Sacred Heart at Grand Coteau and took the name Aloysia. A young religious of many talents, she was put in charge of a school in St. Michael's, LA and soon after making final vows was named Superior.

In 1840 Aloysia Hardey moved to New York City and opened the first school and convent of the Society of the Sacred Heart in the eastern United States. She was named Provincial Superior (this title was later changed to Superior Vicar) for the houses in eastern North America in 1844. During her 27 years as Superior, Aloysia Hardey opened 16 houses of the Sacred Heart from Canada to Cuba and throughout the eastern United States. To this end she traveled extensively and made 19 transatlantic voyages for Society meetings and retreats. To accommodate the expansion of the Society, she moved the center for the vicariate from Manhattanville in New York City to Kenwood, in Albany, New York where she established a new novitiate for vicariate in 1864.

In 1871 Aloysia Hardey was appointed an Assistant General for the central government of the Society of the Sacred Heart based in Paris. During her 15 years in this position she was an advisor for the founding and rebuilding of European convents. She also helped revise the Sacred Heart curriculum to incorporate advanced studies and contributed to the discussion of the Society's role in advancing the higher education for women.

Aloysia Hardey died in Paris June 17, 1886 and is buried at Kenwood in Albany, NY.