Thinking Citizen Blog — Mount St. Mary’s University (LA) — A Case Study
Thinking Citizen Blog — Friday is Education and Education Policy Day
Today’s Topic: Mount St. Mary’s University (LA) — A Case Study
I just got back from LA where my son recently purchased a house in the foothills of the Santa Monica mountains. At the top of the hill where his street ends is the Mount Saint Mary’s University Chalon Campus, an imposing conglomeration of dormitories, class room buildings, and a church that reminded me of the monastery of Montserrat outside of Barcelona where I once stayed for a week doing research for my undergraduate thesis on dissident clergy in Spain under Franco. The monastery of Monte Cassino in Italy also came to mind. From the hilltop, looking west, the Pacific Ocean, looking south the Getty Museum atop the adjacent ridge, to the east the skyline of Los Angeles. What was the story behind Mt. St. Mary’s? Who are the students today? What do they study? This morning I realized that the story of Mt. St. Mary’s is emblematic of the rich history of every school around the US and the world. But, perhaps, a little more so. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH OF CARONDELET: 1650 to Present, From France to the US
1. “a Roman Catholic congregation of women religious which traces its origins to a group founded in Le Puy-en-Velay, France around 1650 by Jean Pierre Medaille, SJ. The design of the congregation was based on the spirituality of the Society of Jesus.”
2.”In 1834 Most Rev. Joseph Rosati, Bishop of St. Louis, Missouri asked Mother St. John Fontbonne, the superior of the Sisters of St. Joseph at Lyon to send some sisters to America to undertake instruction of deaf-mute children. Felicite’ Duras, Countess de la Roche Jacquelin, offered to defray expenses. On 17 January 1836 the first six sisters set sail from Le Havre, France on the ship Natchez. After seven weeks at sea, they arrived in New Orleans March 5, where they were met by Bishop Rosati and Rev. John Timon, the later Bishop of Buffalo. Rosati had arranged for them to stay with the Ursuline Sisters in the city and met with them the next day. The sisters enjoyed the hospitality of the Ursulines for two weeks, learning much about life in the United States. The Ursulines told them to disguise their religious habit when going abroad and while traveling to St. Louis as there was anti-Catholic feeling among some residents.”
3. Today, “the congregation is composed of almost 1,200 vowed sisters who minister in four provinces (Albany, New York; Los Angeles, California; St. Louis, Missouri and St. Paul, Minnesota) and a vice province in Peru. The Congregational Center is located in Sunset Hill, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.”
NB: The congregation of the “Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet” is part of a broader federation of orders of St. Joseph which number in total roughly 14,000 worldwide — 7000 in the US, 2000 in France, and the rest in 50 other countries. See the fourth link below for details.
DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE CURRENT LOS ANGELES STUDENT BODY: 2079 full time students (includes a separate campus in LA, the “Doheny campus”)
1. 90% women,
2. 58% Hispanic
3. 14% Asian
NB: 11% white, 6% black. Mt. St. Mary’s has been ranked #1 in the US for social mobility by US News and World Report. See the last link.
WHAT DO THEY STUDY?
1. Nursing and pre-nursing. (St. Mary’s granted the first nursing degree in California.)
2. Psychology and biology.
3. Sociology and business.
NB: the Chalon Campus is also home to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, “a non-profit research organization that researches gender representation in media and advocates for equal representation of women.”
FOOTNOTE: the architecture is a magnet for TV and film
1. The Chalon campus (in Brentwood), 56 acres, is in a mix of Spanish Colonial and Mission Revival styles.
2. The Doheny campus in downtown LA has “two city blocks of Queen Anne Style and Victorian mansions.”
3. TV shows and films shot there include: Mission Impossible, Modern Family, 90210, Alex and Emma, The Notebook, Spider Man 3, Columbo, Clifford, Veep….
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Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.