On Nov. 10, 1845, Mother Theresa Maxis Duchemin and Louis Florent Gillet, CSsR, founded the IHM Sisters. Mother Theresa, Charlotte Schaaf and Theresa Renauld became the first members of the new religious community.
Bishop Lefevere sent Mother Theresa to Pennsylvania as local superior; the Pennsylvania and Monroe IHMs separated and eventually became autonomous congregations.
The IHM Sisters opened St. Joseph – their first school in Detroit. A year later, they opened their first school outside of Michigan – St. Mary, in Painesville, Ohio.
The Detroit diocese deeded the Motherhouse and Academy property along the River Raisin to the IHM Sisters.
The first college classes were offered at St. Mary College and Academy. A four-year college degree program was established five years later.
The practice of sending some IHM postulants to the University of Michigan for advanced study began.
The IHM Constitutions received Papal approval. Women, including the IHM Sisters, voted for the first time in national and state elections.
The sisters purchased land and began plans to move St. Mary College to Detroit at the request of Bishop Gallagher. Marygrove College opened in 1927. Although the college closed in 2019, the campus has new life as The School at Marygrove, a “cradle to career” school with a social justice focus.
St. Mary Academy (1905 building) was destroyed by fire. The new Motherhouse and Academy were built in 1931-32.
Immaculata High School in Detroit, built and sponsored by the IHMs, opened. The school closed in 1983 and is being renovated as part of The School at Marygrove.
IHM initiative generated the Sister Formation Movement, a process of integrated spiritual, intellectual and professional development widely adopted by religious communities.
Immaculate Heart of Mary High School in Westchester, Ill., built and sponsored by the IHMs, opened. The school closed in 2005.
Four sisters helped form the Detroit-Recife Mission Team to work with the poor in Recife, Brazil.
Maryhill College, a coordinate college for women at St. Edward’s University, opened in Texas; IHM Sisters served as administrators. Maryhill was absorbed into St. Edward’s University in 1970
Visitation House of Prayer opened on the IHM Sisters’ Monroe campus. It transitioned to River House – IHM Spirituality Center in 2009 and closed in 2012.
LCWR was originally the Conference of Major Superiors of Women (CMSW). It began in 1956; the name was changed to Leadership Conference of Women Religious in 1971. The IHM congregation was a member from the group’s earliest days. The first Monroe IHM to serve as LCWR President was Margaret Brennan, in 1972. Others were: Carol Quigley (1986), Nancy Sylvester (1999), Sharon Holland (2014) and Jane Herb (2021). Ann Virginia Bowling served as associate director in 1971.
The IHM Sisters opened missions in Grenada, West Indies; Honduras; Ghana, West Africa; Kenya; and among Native Americans in the United States. They assisted Vietnamese orphans and refugees.
Earth-friendly methods and materials were used to renovate the Motherhouse into a model of sustainable living, earning national, regional and state awards. The IHM Sisters endorsed the Earth Charter in 2004.
Detroit Cristo Rey High School, co-sponsored by the IHM Sisters and Basilian Fathers, opened in the former Holy Redeemer High School building.
Lay residents were welcomed to recover from their post-hospital experience at the newly licensed and renovated IHM Senior Living Community.
La-Z-Boy, Inc., purchased 120 acres of land from the IHM Sisters for its new environmentally friendly world headquarters.
The Margaret Brennan Institute was created to explore the areas of spirituality, Church and culture. – IHM Senior Living Community became separately incorporated.
The Maxis Spirituality Center opened in Riverview, Mich. The Marygrove Conservancy was formed to operate and steward the former Marygrove College campus.
McGivney Way, the Memory Care Unit within IHM Senior Living Community, received Home for the Aged approval from the State of Michigan and offers quality care to lay residents with forms of dementia. The Monroe campus of the IHM Sisters became listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Construction for 19 independent living apartments for lay residents began within the Motherhouse.