IHM sisters transfer ownership of Monroe campus, ensuring continued legacy

As of July 2023, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), have transferred ownership of their Monroe campus to St. Therese, a senior living organization based in Minnesota. (Photos by Valaurian Waller | Detroit Catholic)

IHM sisters are guaranteed continued care, uninterrupted lifestyle under new owners

MONROE – For over 177 years, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), have had an important presence in the community of Monroe, and they have found a creative way to continue for another 177.

As of July 2023, the IHM sisters have transferred ownership of their Monroe campus to St. Therese, a senior living organization based in Minnesota.

The campus, which includes the sisters’ offices as well as a senior living community, will now be owned and run by St. Therese. However, the IHM sisters will continue to live on campus and reap the benefits of the senior living organization’s expertise, Calley Duffey, the IHM communications director, explained to Detroit Catholic.

“We really want to focus on our sisters,” Duffey said. “Like most congregations across the U.S., we are experiencing a decline in membership, so we want to look to our future, and our future isn’t buildings; it is our ministry and taking care of our sisters. We wanted to align ourselves with another mission and faith-based entity who could take what we started and continue it, and they have the resources and the expertise in senior living to do that.”

A sister pictured in her private room in the senior care facility. Under St. Therese, the sisters will be allowed to continue living on campus and will benefit from the organization's healthcare expertise.
A sister pictured in her private room in the senior care facility. Under St. Therese, the sisters will be allowed to continue living on campus and will benefit from the organization's healthcare expertise.

While healthcare is the charism of many religious congregations, Duffey said that the IHM sisters have always been educators, making this the ideal situation for their aging congregation.

Furthermore, this model will allow the sisters’ day-to-day lives will remain the same, Duffey added.

“The beauty of this transfer is we all get to stay," Duffey said. "Unlike other communities that get split up, and the sisters have to go to different nursing homes, everyone gets to stay and live out their years here. The congregation's office gets to stay, and they are retaining all of our employees.”

As many religious orders begin to decline across the country, transferring ownership has become more common, Sr. Mary Jane Herb, president of the IHM congregation, told Detroit Catholic. However, Sr. Herb believes that the fact that sisters' lives will remain the same on campus is unique to their situation.

“It is unique in that all of our sisters are guaranteed the level of care needed for as long as we need it,” Sr. Herb explained.

As of now, the senior care facility already houses several lay patients. However, Sr. Herb said that St. Therese will be able to enhance the facility and expand it to more patients, allowing the sisters to focus their resources on other priorities.

“I think in five years to come, we won’t be financially supporting the senior facility any longer, so that will help us to care for sisters as they retire and also support our sisters in ministry,” Sr. Herb said.

Because of the transfer of ownership, the sisters will be able to focus their resources on their different ministries.
Because of the transfer of ownership, the sisters will be able to focus their resources on their different ministries.

Duffey said this transfer will ensure the sisters’ presence and the centuries-old legacy they have created for generations to come.

“As a lifelong Monroe resident, I have been blessed with the IHM’s influence throughout my life,” Duffey said. “They afforded me an exceptional education, and I have had the privilege of working closely with them these last two years, experiencing up close their values in action. This latest chapter is but one example. They carefully chose a like-minded partner and bequeathed them an environmentally responsible facility. I am so happy they will continue their far-reaching work but retain their historical presence in Monroe.“



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