Father Jean Gailhac


The founder of the Institute of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Father Jean Gailhac was born on November 13 1802, in Béziers, France. His life and work are marked by a charisma committed to life where it is perishing, as he worked for the benefit of different social works, such as in a shelter for women who were in prostitution.

Always ahead of his time, so that he could put his mission into practice, Father Gailhac needed financial resources. It was then that he founded a women’s college, enabling young people to have access to education, which until then had existed.


Father Gailhac: 220 years of history in favor of the oppressed and fragile

The Institute of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (IRSCM) was founded in 1849 by Antoine Pierre Jean Gailhac, our dear Father Gailhac.

He was born in France, in the city of Béziers, on November 13 1802, in a large family, with a very troubled historical, social and political context.

From an early age, Gailhac was deeply sensitive to the plight of destitute children in Béziers. At a young age, he became aware of the great responsibility of being a Christian.

He was called to the priesthood and, at the age of 24, he consecrated himself to the Lord, when he defined his personal Life Project with the following declaration: “I will not be any other kind of priest. I will be a good and holy priest”. It was ordained He became an educator.

He took on the role of chaplain at the military hospital and, there, he molded his own “Charisma”. Gailhac’s personal vocation was consolidated, above all, from two pressing needs of the city, at that time: the needy minor and marginalized women, victim of prostitution – both remnants of war in Europe.


On February 24 1849, Father Gailhac founded, together with Sister Saint Jean Pélissier Cure and five other women, the Institute of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

The Institute was marked by Gailhac’s charisma and a spirituality grounded in contact with the Word of God and rooted in sensitivity to the abandoned and oppressed. A spirituality that approaches the compassionate Christ, expressed in the Parable of the Good Shepherd, who came “that they may have life” (Jn 10:10).


Since the foundation of the IRSCM, the missionary spirit has ignited the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary.

“Barely born, without any human foresight and in such small numbers, you went to all parts of the world” (letter from Gailhac in the early days).

Today, the IRSCM, which is characterized by internationality, is present in 14 countries and is also active in the United Nations (UN), through the RSCM NGO, which fights human trafficking and promotes women.

Father Gailhac died when he was about to turn 88 years old, on January 25 1890, but he remains alive, today, in the mission of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary and in the commitment of laymen and women, who maintain his legacy in favor of girls and women in situation of vulnerability.

Scroll to Top