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The Margaret Brennan Institute

Spirituality is what our faith looks like in everyday life. Spirituality is about getting to the bottom of our restlessness. It is here that God comes.
It is here where God is.
-Margaret Brennan, IHM (Presentation at the Summer Pastoral Theological Institute at St. John Center
for Youth and Family in Plymouth, Mich., on Aug. 12, 1999)


The Margaret Brennan Institute (formerly The Margaret Brennan IHM Institute for Spirituality, Church and Culture) was established in 2016 to explore the areas of spirituality, Church and culture in a variety of ways such as conferences, workshops, research and collaborative efforts with other faith traditions and religious communities. At the heart of the Institute is the rich heritage of the IHM Sisters and the legacy of Sister Margaret Brennan, IHM.

Today and throughout the years since our beginning in 1845, the IHM community has been committed to the liberating mission of Jesus Christ and its unfolding within the sacred universe within which we live. “Our spirituality and our shared humanity compel us to respond collaboratively with others to the challenges of our beautiful yet fractured world especially through our commitment to social, economic, and ecological justice.” (IHM Chapter Direction 2018)

Sister Margaret Brennan, IHM, in whose name the institute was founded, was an extraordinary woman. She was a “prophetic leader among Catholic women religious, pioneer theologian, mother of the House of Prayer movement, spiritual director, teacher, mentor, prolific scholar. Yet her rootedness was among her sisters in her beloved congregation of Monroe, Mich., Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was there that she lived, prayed, laughed and loved, and where she was most fully herself.”*

“In trying to understand any person whose life has unquestioned national and even global impact, it is tempting to see them in terms larger than life. Fortunately, Margaret never made that mistake about herself and, in her deep self-knowing, even in her final hours, she taught one final lesson to those whom she had touched for close to a century: who you are ultimately is more important than what you do.”

* From a National Catholic Reporter article by Dr. Margaret Susan Thompson, an IHM Associate, professor of history at Syracuse University and extensive writer on the history of women’s religious life in the United States.

You never come to the bottom, do you? How do you come to the bottom of coming to know God? God is so big that you just come to know different things about God all the time. As you learn more about the world you learn more about God.”
Margaret Brennan, IHM, audio interview on Sept. 15, 2015

Learn more about Sister Margaret.