Mary Mardel, RSCJ, who has been called "the heart and soul of Broadway" by many affiliated with Schools of the Sacred Heart San Francisco, celebrated her 100th birthday at Convent & Stuart Hall with hundreds of longtime friends.
On March 3, Convent & Stuart Hall welcomed back over 400 alumni, faculty and friends of the school to celebrate the 100th birthday of Mary Mardel, RSCJ, a beloved champion of Sacred Heart traditions and an agent of change, who propelled the school toward contemporary management models.
Gathered in the Mary Mardel, RSCJ Chapel, with an overflow audience watching a live stream in the Little Theater, guests burst into applause when Sr. Mardel appeared. President Ann Marie Krejcarek delivered opening remarks and a prayer, and Richard C. Blum shared a reflection on behalf of his wife, Senator Dianne Feinstein '51, before presenting Sr. Mardel with a certificate of commendation.
After a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday to You" and cake cutting, Sr. Mardel was handed the microphone. "There is so much love in this room that it's tangible," she said. "Now it's up to us to go out and give that love to others." Sr. Mardel continued: "I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotations from Saint John of the Cross. He said, 'In the evening of life, we will be judged on love.'"
Students led the crowd in singing throughout the celebration, including a tribute song, "De Colores," a well-known anthem of the Farm Workers Movement, with whom Sr. Mardel stood in solidarity. Diane Wall, RSCJ ended the program with a closing prayer.
During the birthday reception, Sr. Mardel smiled often as she greeted a long line of friends.
Sr. Mardel joined the Society of the Sacred Heart at age 19 and has been affiliated with our school for over 50 years. She taught elementary school girls, became Dean of Students at Convent High School and then served as Superior (this title later changed to Director of Schools and currently President) in 1966. She oversaw important curricular changes, such as the establishment of computer programming classes, and was the driving force behind helping the school administration grow with a Board of Trustees and formal management.
In 2014, Convent & Stuart Hall dedicated the Chapel in Sr. Mardel's name and established an endowed fund in her honor. This fund embeds the spirit of the school's founding order through education to mission activities and supports the physical integrity of the Chapel, a sacred space.
Convent & Stuart Hall commissioned a painting to honor Sr. Mardel on her 100th birthday. Learn about the artist and how he incorporated Sr. Mardel's vision into the project.