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Afternoon Tea to Benefit the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters

Please join us for tea as we support the Immaculate Hart of Mary Sisters in the Diocese of Arlington.


The Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, is a Pontifical Religious Institute, whose members are committed to God and to the Church by the profession of the public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

The charism of the sisters is Love, which continues to manifest itself today in the sisters’ joyful service of God and his people; creative Hope, which puts all its confidence in God’s loving Providence; and Fidelity, which inspires fervor in their vocation in Christ and in their mission in the Church.

The Immaculata branch of the Congregation comprises approximately 745 Sisters who currently staff Catholic schools and parishes in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Florida and in the South American country of Peru. The sisters also serve the Church in pastoral and other evangelization ministries in other states as well.

The charism of the founder, Father Louis Florent Gillet, is the spirit of the Father in the Son through the Holy Spirit that animated the young Redemptorist missionary at Monroe, Michigan, in 1845. This charism is essentially, LOVE, a love that continues to manifest itself each day in the sisters’ joyful service of God and his people. This charism is also creative HOPE, which puts all its trust in the loving providence of God. Finally, this charism is FIDELITY, which inspires the sisters’ commitment to vocation in Christ and zeal for their mission in the Church.

“May the Holy Spirit inflame us with that fire which Jesus came to cast on the earth and which he ardently desired to set ablaze.”-Saint Alphonsus

 St. Alphonsus Liguori was an 18th century Neapolitan gentleman, a star lawyer, with an apparently prosperous future ahead of him. However, his attention to an inner voice within himself and an extraordinary sensitivity to the immensity of people’s needs all around him compelled him to give his life over to God and to the service of God’s people. His passionate desire to respond to these needs led him to found the religious congregation known as the Redemptorists, whose clear mission was to make the redeeming love of Jesus Christ available and accessible to everyone, especially the poor and spiritually abandoned. This sense of mission, coupled with a spirituality fueled by prayer, devoted to the Blessed Mother, and focused on the three-fold mystery of Love’s redeeming way – the Incarnation, Redemption, and Holy Eucharist – profoundly stirred and influenced the hearts of Fr. Louis Florent Gillet and Mother Theresa Maxis.

St. Teresa of Avila

“We need no wings to go in search of Him, but have only to look upon Him present within us.”  –Saint Teresa of Avila

A 16th century Spanish Carmelite Nun and one of only four women Doctors of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila is best known for the intensity of her life of prayer and her extraordinary writing and teaching on the spiritual life.  The connection of St. Teresa of Avila to the IHM congregation comes through St. Alphonsus.  St. Alphonsus had a great devotion to St. Teresa who lived two hundred years before him. As a teenager, he read many of her writings and referred to her as his “second mother.” It was through Saint Teresa that Alphonsus came to understand prayer as “nothing but a friendly relationship and frequent conversation with Jesus whom we know loves us.” So, it was really through her spiritual tutelage that St. Alphonsus handed on to his Redemptorist congregation and to the IHM congregation the wonderful gift of prayer, prayer that is simple and rooted in the perennial tradition of the Church. So we are indebted to St. Teresa of Avila for her profound contribution to our spirituality.

The sisters, from the very beginning of the foundation of the Congregation, were dedicated to The Blessed Virgin Mary, under the title of her Immaculate Conception. With the IHMs, it is always a “matter of the heart.” Mary’s heart is united inseparably to that of her divine Son as is graphically portrayed on the rings of the sisters. Engraved on the band are two hearts, intertwined and pierced by the same symbolic sword- a reminder to the Sisters of their commitment to the work of redemption in the church.

The Sisters celebrate with great joy the major feasts of Our Lady, but they commemorate with special solemnity the patronal feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.

Alphonsian Spirituality also implies a commitment to the redeeming Christ first by consecrated dedication to the three vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.

By her vow of chastity, a sister commits herself to a life of consecrated celibacy; the spirit of this vow frees her to live out her vocation to love in a deeper personal union with Christ.

By the vow of poverty, a sister freely renounces her natural right to the independent use of material goods. The spirit of poverty relieves her for personal material concerns and frees her to direct her heart to the building up of the Kingdom.

By the vow of obedience, a sister unites herself more completely to the Will of God by freely yielding her right of free choice in order to engage more fully in the apostolic mission of the Church.

For more information about the IHMs, please click here.

For information about attending this event or donating to the IHMs, please contact Megan Hamberger at