Mary Aloysia Hardey, a central figure in the expansion of the Society of the Sacred Heart in North America, was born in Piscataway, Maryland, December 8, 1809. Moving with her family to Opelousas, Louisiana, she attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart at Grand Coteau. Upon completing her studies Mary entered the novitiate of the Society of the Sacred Heart at Grand Coteau and took the name Aloysia. A young religious of many talents, she was put in charge of a school in St. Michael's, Louisiana and soon after making final vows was named Superior. In 1840 Aloysia Hardey moved to New York City and opened the first school and convent of the Society of the Sacred Heart in the eastern United States. Named Provincial Superior (Superior Vicar) for the houses in eastern North America in 1844, she opened 16 houses of the Sacred Heart from Canada to Cuba and throughout the eastern United States. In 1871 Aloysia Hardey was appointed an Assistant General for the central government of the Society of the Sacred Heart based in Paris.