In the fall of 2016, the Provincial Team of the Society of the Sacred Heart, United States – Canada Province, constituted a committee with the mandate to focus on the Society’s role in racism and the enslavement of people. “We sought to engage in deeper research with a view to telling the fuller story. We knew that this would mean both confronting a painful part of our legacy and committing to truth, healing and reconciliation for a better future,” explained Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, chair of the Committee on Slavery, Accountability and Reconciliation.
The 2016-2020 committee included Maureen Chicoine, RSCJ; Irma Dillard, RSCJ; Marilyn McMorrow, RSCJ; Catherine Mooney; Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ (chair); and Emory Webre. At present, Maureen Chicoine, RSCJ, Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, and Emory Webre continue their research on the Society’s participation in slavery, and about the individuals and families enslaved by the Society and their descendants.
Maureen J. Chicoine, RSCJ, is retired and continues to research the Society’s history with enslavement. Most recently, she served on staff at Duchesne House for Volunteers in New Orleans, Louisiana, working with high school and college-aged volunteers. She is the author of Grave on the Prairie: RSCJ mission with the Potawatomi in Kansas. She has a bachelor's degree in history from Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, New York, and a master's degree in religious studies from Fordham University in New York City.
Irma L. Dillard, RSCJ, is an African American and a native of San Francisco, California. She is a Change Management Consultant, educator and a social activist dedicated to educating and empowering the voiceless — to find and lift these voices and take direct action for justice. She holds a master’s degree in psychology and counseling from the University of San Francisco and a bachelor’s degree in religious studies and communications from the former Lone Mountain College (now University of San Francisco).
Marilyn McMorrow, RSCJ, Ph.D., is Teaching Professor in the Government Department at Georgetown University. She holds a master’s degree in American intellectual and religious history and a doctorate in the political theory of international relations.
Catherine M. Mooney, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Church History at Boston College's School of Theology and Ministry. A former Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ), she is author of Philippine Duchesne: A Woman with the Poor (1990), and a revised Spanish version entitled Filipina Duchesne: Una mujer con los pobres y marginados (2018).
Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of New Testament at Brite Divinity School, formerly at Catholic Theological Union, provincial archivist for the Society of the Sacred Heart, United States – Canada Province, and co-editor of the complete writings of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne.
Emory C. Webre holds a master’s degree in religious education and a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy. In 2010 he researched and published documentation on the Society of the Sacred Heart’s involvement with enslavement. A volunteer in the archives of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, he is also a member of the committee researching and documenting the Archdiocese’s complicity in enslavement.