On Nov. 10, 1845, Theresa Maxis Duchemin, Charlotte Schaaf and Theresa Renauld, invited by Louis Gillet, CSsR, to Monroe, Mich., became the first members of a new religious community dedicated to education.
The new community of sisters established St. Mary’s Young Ladies’ Academy, and in January, 40 students arrived.
The Rev. Gillet was recalled to Baltimore. The first wooden convent was built, financed primarily by the Redemptorists.
The IHM Sisters opened St. Michael, a school for German children, in Monroe. The first mission beyond Monroe was opened at St. Joseph, Vienna (Erie), Mich.
Orphans were brought into the convent to be cared for by the sisters.
Mother Theresa opened St. Joseph School in Susquehanna, Penn., at the request of Bishop John Neumann of Philadelphia.
Bishop Lefevere deposed Mother Theresa, sending her to Pennsylvania as local superior. Pennsylvania and Monroe IHMs separate. Mary Joseph Walker was appointed superior in Monroe.
Monroe congregation incorporated in Michigan.
The IHM Sisters opened St. Joseph, a German-speaking parish and school – their first school in Detroit.
The IHM Sisters opened their first school outside Michigan, St. Mary, in Painesville, Ohio.
Construction of first brick Motherhouse began.
The IHM Sisters opened St. Anthony Orphanage in Hamtramck, Mich., the first orphanage for boys.
A Normal School for the education of the IHM Sisters was established at the Motherhouse.
The first high school graduation from St. Mary’s Academy took place.
Mother Theresa Maxis died at West Chester, Penn. The Rev. Louis Gillet died in France.
Detroit diocese deeded the Motherhouse and Academy property along the River Raisin to the IHM Sisters.
A new Academy building was erected in Monroe. The first college classes were offered at St. Mary College and Academy.
The practice of sending some IHM postulants to the University of Michigan for advanced study began.
A four-year college degree program was established at St. Mary College and Academy in Monroe.
St. Mary’s conferred first bachelor of arts degree.
The sisters built and ran the Hall of the Divine Child, a school for boys in Monroe.
The IHM Constitutions received Papal approval. The IHM Sisters voted for the first time in national and state elections. A proposal to close private parochial schools was defeated in Michigan.
Land was purchased and plans began to move St. Mary College to Detroit at the request of Bishop Gallagher.
The IHM Sisters opened St. Felicitas, their first school in Chicago.
St. Mary Farms provided economic stability for the congregation.
Marygrove College opened in Detroit.
The Rev. Gillet’s remains were brought from France to Monroe and laid to rest in a memorial chapel as the new community cemetery is consecrated. St. Mary Academy (1905 building) was destroyed by fire.
Note: The archives of Wayne County Library have a video of a news reel of this fire.
The new Motherhouse and Academy were built.
The sisters built and sponsored Detroit’s Immaculata High School for girls.
The first mission outside the continental United States opened in Cayey, Puerto Rico.
The IHM Sisters opened schools in Alabama, Florida, California, Minnesota and New Mexico.
Monroe initiative generated the Sister Formation Movement, a process of integrated spiritual, intellectual and professional development widely adopted by religious communities.
The IHM Sisters built and sponsored two high schools for girls; Marian, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Immaculate Heart of Mary, in Westchester, Ill.
Liguori Hall, a retirement residence, was built as a wing of the Motherhouse.
Four sisters helped form the Detroit-Recife Mission Team to work with the poor in Recife, Brazil.
Religious habits were modified. Maryhill College, a co-ordinate college for women at St. Edwards University, opened in Texas.
The IHMs sent three sisters to Uganda, East Africa.
Visitation House of Prayer opened in Monroe. Proposal C passed in Michigan, changing funding for education. Many parochial schools closed as a result.
The IHM Sisters opened missions in Grenada, West Indies; Honduras; Ghana, West Africa; and among Native Americans in the United States. They assisted Vietnamese orphans and refugees.
The IHM Associate program began.
The IHM Sisters opened missions in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mexico.
St. Mary Academy merged with Catholic Central High School in Monroe.
Sesquicentennial of the founding was celebrated in Monroe, with participation of Scranton and Immaculata IHMs and Oblate Sisters of Providence from Baltimore.
The Haiti Outreach Project to support education in Haiti was adopted. It follows a Tri-IHM community “twinning” with Little Sisters of Therese there.
Earth-friendly methods and materials were used to renovate the Motherhouse into a model of sustainable living, earning national, regional and state awards.
The River Raisin Institute was established. The independent, nonprofit corporation’s mission is “to serve as a sustainable learning community dedicated to respect, nurture, and promote the well-being of all of creation.”
Detroit Cristo Rey High School, co-sponsored by the IHM Sisters and the Basilian Fathers, opened.
The IHM community of more than 325 sisters and 120 associates actively ministers throughout the United States and in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, South Sudan and South Africa.