The history of the IHM Congregation is in reality a story of fidelity – fidelity to God, to the mission of Jesus, to the Catholic Church, to service, to truth and to a vision that is both liberating and empowering. The following timeline highlights some of the significant events in the life of the congregation.

November 9, 1732
Alphonsus Liguori
Alphonsus Liguori

Alphonsus Liguori founds the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, the community to which Louis Florent Gillet belonged. St. Alphonsus is considered a patron of the IHM Congregation. May 26, 1839, St. Alphonsus Liguori is canonized a saint.

April 8, 1810

IHM foundress, Theresa Maxis Duchemin, is born in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother was from Haiti and her father was a British officer. Theresa was bi-racial.

January 12, 1813

Louis Florent Gillet is born in Antwerp, Belgium. Co-founder of IHM.

July 2, 1829

Sister Marie Therese Duchemin pronounces vows as an Oblate Sister of Providence in Baltimore. She was a founding member of this first congregation of African-American women religious. June 24, 1841, she is elected superior of the Oblate Sisters.

Theresa Maxis as Oblate Sister of Providence
Theresa Maxis as Oblate Sister of Providence
August 6, 1843
Louis Florent Gillet CSsR
Louis Florent Gillet CSsR

Father Gillet in America

This is the beginning of Father Gillet’s American ministry, having come to America the prior April, Rev. Louis Florent Gillet begins to preach his first mission in America (Grosse Point, Michigan). Theresa Renauld (future IHM) attended this. March 09, 1844, Rev. Louis Gillet initiates his ministry in Monroe, Michigan. Here he saw the need that was soon to lead to the establishment of the IHM Congregation.

November 10, 1845

IHM Founding

1845 Log Cabin in Monroe Michigan along the River Raisin
1845 Log Cabin in Monroe Michigan along the River Raisin

Founding of the Congregation of Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary at Monroe, Michigan (as Sisters of Providence). Pictured here is the log cabin which was the sisters first home.

November 30, 1845

Mother Theresa Maxis and Sister Ann Shaaf receive the habit and profess their vows. This was the first profession of vows in the Congregation.

December 14, 1845

Therese Renauld becomes the first IHM novice.

October 6, 1847
Pere Marie Celestin

Father Gillet leaves Monroe

He severs his ties with the Congregation until many years later. February 02, 1858, Rev. Louis Gillet enters the Cistercian Order and takes the name Pere Marie Celestin. May 25, 1864 Pere Marie Celestin (Father Gillet) arrives at the Hautecombe Abbey in France. This is where he lives out the rest of his life.

December 8, 1847

Title of Congregation is changed from Sisters of Providence to Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; scapular is changed from black to blue material. This name change would cause Father Gillet to later believe that the Congregation had not survived.

December 8, 1854

Dogma of the Immaculate Conception is proclaimed. The Congregation has been under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception from its beginning.

May 1, 1855

Redemptorists are withdrawn from Monroe. This action angered Bishop Lefevre. Mother Theresa’s later attempt to reestablish connections with the Redemptorists in Pennsylvania would lead to many difficulties.

August 23, 1858

Arrival in Pennsylvania

First mission in Pennsylvania opens at St. Joseph’s in Susquehanna County. From this beginning would spring two Pennsylvania IHM foundations.

April 4, 1859

Mother Theresa leaves Monroe for St. Joseph’s, Susquehanna County Pennsylvania.

July 24, 1859

Scranton foundation

Scranton IHM Congregation seal
Scranton IHM Congregation seal

First Reception and Profession Ceremony are held at St. Joseph Novitiate. Bishop John Neumann presides; seven new members are received. This is the beginning of what is to become the Scranton foundation.

August 3, 1859

Immaculata foundation

Drawing of profession of vows in Reading, PA
Drawing of profession of vows in Reading, PA

Mission at St. Peter’s in Reading, Pennsylvania is opened. This is the first mission in territory later to become Philadelphia diocese — leading to the establishment of the Immaculata foundation.

August 10, 1859

Mother Theresa is deposed as superior general of the Congregation by Bishop Neumann. This is the beginning of the difficulties that would lead to her exile with the Grey Nuns in Ottawa, Canada.

January 1860

Missions across the country

Emergence of 30 missions serving health care, child care, catechetical and educational needs in eastern and western United States.

August 10, 1859

Charter is approved for St. Joseph Academy in Susquehanna County. First school staffed by IHMs in Pennsylvania. The parish was staffed by Redemptorists. October 15, 1861, Mother Theresa Maxis is named superior of the community at Susquehanna Depot.

February 2, 1867

Mother Theresa Maxis in Exile

Theresa as Grey Nun
Theresa as Grey Nun

Mother Theresa Maxis leaves Susquehanna County for Ottawa, Canada. She begins her exile with the Grey Nuns. Though she wore their habit she always considered herself to be a member of the IHM Congregation.

March 3, 1868

The Diocese of Scranton is established. This eventually caused the foundation of the Scranton branch of the IHM Congregation.

January 21, 1885

Mother Theresa Maxis returns to IHM Congregation in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Her exile ends and she is reunited with the IHM community.

West Chester, PA, Motherhouse
West Chester, PA, Motherhouse
February 9, 1885

Incorporation of Scranton IHM Congregation

Scranton IHM Congregation incorporates under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

July 22, 1889

Scranton IHM sisters elect Mother Mary Magdalen Jackson their first elected superior general.

Mother Mary Magdalen Jackson
Mother Mary Magdalen Jackson
August 30, 1890

Scranton IHM Congregation takes on administration of St. Joseph’s Foundling Home (now St. Joseph Center) for neurologically impaired children. It also houses unwed mothers and arranges adoptions.

St. Jospeh's Foundling Home
St. Jospeh’s Foundling Home
February 08, 1891

Father Gillet (Pere Marie Celestin) is reunited with the IHM Congregation. Connection reestablished through the efforts of Sr. Clotilde (Immaculata). He is able to provide facts about the Congregation’s founding.

January 14, 1892

Mother Theresa Maxis dies at West Chester, Pennsylvania.

November 14, 1892

Father Gillet (Peter Marie Celestin) dies at the Royal Abbey of Notre Dame of Hautecombe, France.

August 29, 1907

Congregation of the Sisters of Saint Casimir is founded with assistance of the Scranton IHM Congregation.

Sisters of Saint Casimir
Sisters of Saint Casimir
September 11, 1909

Congregation of the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius is founded with assistance of the Scranton IHM Congregation.

Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius
Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius
January 1911

Ministry expands

In second 50-year period, 84 missions opened giving visibility and testimony to the Congregation’s desire to distribute its ministries and personnel as widely as possible.

May 23, 1917

Marywood College

Marywood College in Scranton has its charter approved by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Marywood, founded in 1915, is the first Catholic college for women in Pennsylvania.

July 6, 1926

St. Joseph Hospital

St. Joseph Hospital (Marian Community Hospital after merger with Carbondale General Hospital) in Carbondale, Pennsylvania opens its doors.

June 19, 1942

Final resting place

The cemetery at Immaculata is dedicated. The obelisk marks Mother Theresa’s final resting place.

November 11, 1945

100 Years

Centenary celebration of IHM founding in Monroe, Michigan.

October 5, 1948

IHM Sisters begin to serve in the influenza epidemic in Scranton. The sisters respond to the needs of the community as volunteers. Service is given without regard to race or creed.

April 9, 1956

The Marian Convent in Scranton is dedicated. This is the skilled nursing facility for the Scranton IHM Sisters.

November 21, 1960

Scranton Congregation receives Pontifical Approbation.

October 28, 1961

First meeting of Tri-Community Board of Education is held at Our Lady of Grace Convent in Manhasset, New York. This board’s purpose is to further the apostolic works of the three IHM Congregations.

May 30, 1962

Novitiate Building

The Novitiate Building (now the IHM Center) is dedicated.

July 19, 1965

First Latin American mission

Scranton IHM Congregation opens its first Latin American mission in Lima, Peru. This was the beginning of foreign service for the Scranton IHM Congregation. March 25, 1987, opening of formation program in Peru.

August 26, 1965

First Tri-Community Conference is held in Scranton.

July 1970

Adaptation of norms for religious life to Vatican II Documents — the “Church in the Modern World.”

February 22, 1971
The motherhouse building burning.

Motherhouse fire

June 22, 1972

Susquehanna River overflows causing greatest flood in the history of our nation. Scranton IHM Congregation provides assistance to ravaged flood victims in Pennsylvania including several missions.

January 1983

Lay Associate & Volunteer Program

IHM Scranton Congregation initiates lay associate and volunteer program for prayer and active ministries in missions.

August 4, 1991

Dedication of IHM property and each IHM Sister as Peace Sites.

October 1995

Tri-IHM Haiti Outreach, twinning project, is a commitment of friendship, hospitality and financial support for the Little Sisters of St. Therese in Riviere Froid, Haiti.

November 10, 1995

Sesquicentennial Collaboration

IHM Sesquicentennial – three IHM Congregations celebrate 150th anniversary of their foundation. January 2001, Oblate Sisters of Divine Providence join Tri-IHM conference to form the OSP IHM conference.

September 7, 1997

Marywood College, Scranton, celebrates inauguration to University status.

December 20, 2001

Friends of the Poor

Incorporation of The Friends of the Poor; a sponsored ministry of the Scranton IHM Congregation.

January 2002
Theresa on the Move by Sister Cor Immaculatum Herrernan, IHM.

Mother Theresa Maxis Sculpture

Creation of “Theresa at Home” – a bronze sculpture of Mother Theresa Maxis by Sister Cor Immaculatum Heffernan, IHM.

January 2002

African Sisters Education Collaborative

Formal commitment to the African Sisters Education Collaborative; charter member since 1998.

July 23, 2004

Our Lady of Peace Residence

Ground is broken for new Our Lady of Peace Residence for the infirm and elderly. January 15, 2006, Marian Convent closed and all residents moved to the Pascucci Family Our Lady of Peace Residence. Dedication of OLP April 2006.

October 2004

CD “With One Voice,” performed by Scranton IHM sisters and produced by seven-time Grammy Award winner Michael Fine.

January 2007

Oblate Sisters of Providence and Sisters of IHM Committee for Racial Healing promulgate the “Statement Against Racism.”

May 3, 2008

IHM Congregation embraces corporate stance in support of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops calling for immigration reform.

July 2015

OSP IHM Conference hosted in Scranton, PA.

September 2015

NativityMiguel School of Scranton

IHM co-sponsored work, the NativityMiguel School of Scranton opens in Scranton, PA.

September 2015

100th Anniversary of Marywood University

January 2018

Covenant relationship established with Sisters of St. Casimir

April 2018

Welcoming Space & Land Reclamation

Blessing of the Welcoming Space and Land Reclamation project at the IHM Center.

July 2020

175th Anniversary Celebration of the IHM Congregation (during pandemic, held virtually).

April 26, 2021

Ministry at the Border

Beginnings of Tri-IHM presence on the US-Mexico Border

August 2024

The transfer of SSC governance to the IHM Congregation.