- Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) is a
Roman Catholic teaching order for women. The order is headquartered in Monroe, Michigan, USA.
The beginnings of the order came about in 1845 shortly after Father
Louis Florent Gillet(CSSR) arrived in Monroe to become the pastor of St. Mary Parish. Father Gillet found that Monroe had no school for the daughters of the descendants of French Canadians, most of whom were Catholic. Father Gillet petitioned Bishop Peter Paul Lefevere for a religious order to assume teaching duties. The bishop declined, so Father Gillet invited three women to form a new religious congregation, which would become known as the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The co-founder and first superior of the Monroe community was
Marie Theresa Duchemin. Mother Maxis had been superior of the Oblate Sisters of Providence, the first religious congregation in the USA established by women of colour. On January 15, 1846, the first St. Mary Academy opened with 40 students.
In 1920, St. Mary Academy and College had outgrown its facilities and the order made plans to construct a new college facility. The sisters initially planned to build the new campus in Monroe, but Bishop Michael Gallagher invited them to build in nearby Detroit. In Detroit the college would have a larger field of influence and offer a Catholic higher education to thousands of young women who might otherwise not have such an opportunity. The IHM built their new college in Detroit and named it
June 3, 1929, St. Mary Academy in Monroe was destroyed by fire. This caused extreme difficulties for the IHM order, as they were burdened with heavy debts from the building of Marygrove College and the cost of rebuilding the motherhouse and academy in Monroe was prohibitive. Additionally, the Great Depressionof 1929 began soon afterward, which only added to their financial woes. Nevertheless the order finished the reconstruction and moved into their new facilities in 1932. The congregation went on to establish Marian and Immaculata High Schools in the Detroit area, Hall of the Divine Child(a K-8 military school for boys, closed in 1980) in Monroe, and Immaculate Heart of Mary High School in Westchester, Illinois.
In 1948, IHM began their first missionary work outside the continental USA when they opened a mission in
Cayey, Puerto Rico.
The IHMs today
The IHM Sisters of Monroe follow a call rooted in their founders' mission--to respond to the world's most pressing needs. As the needs of the times change, so they adapt their ministries.
Today's challenge is unprecedented in scope. Human progress has come at the expense of the entire community of creation.
The IHM Sisters embrace a spirituality of kinship that includes all living beings, and they recognize the interdependent nature of all members of the Earth community and understand that justice for the Earth is inseparable from justice for those who are poor and excluded.
The IHM Sisters serve God as disciples of Jesus. They work for the common good. They question decisions and behaviors that devastate and divide the community of Earth. They minister as educators and caretakers of the Earth and of one another.
Today the IHM Sisters are called to speak for the voiceless, to celebrate the diversity within life's unity and to educate for citizenship on planet Earth.
* [http://www.ihmsisters.org/ Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary]
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