September 25, 2017
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The use of the term “religious” in reference to the nuns who serve in the schools of the Society of the Sacred Heart is often confusing to friends new to the Sacred Heart way. The terms “sister” and “nun” are more familiar to those Catholics who attended parochial schools. Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart often sign their names followed by RSCJ, which is derived from the French Religieuse du Sacré Coeur de Jésus. During the 19th century, “Madame,” as a term of address, was used for the Religious of the Sacred Heart because the Society had come into existence shortly after the French Revolution, when it was not always possible to obtain recognition under a specifically religious name. Since then, “Madame” and later “Mother” were dropped in favor of “Sister” followed by the last name.