The North American mission of the Sisters of Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ began with the 1996 encounter of Mrs. Michelle (Shelly) Abrameit of Houston and Sr. Mary Thomas Anyanwu, IHM who was then on Sabbatical leave with her family in Houston, Texas. Her zeal and dedication to the parish ministry and witness of life inspired Shelly to recommend our Institute to US Bishops. Hence in 1998 Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford diocese, Illinois, invited our Institute to United States of America.
The official opening of our first mission in United States of America was in the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois on November 24, 1998. Shelly and her family were happily present at that gracious celebration officiated by Bishop Thomas Doran. A year later, a second convent was opened in Freeport on December 23, 1999. The sisters were actively involved in various pastoral mission of the diocese.
Most Rev Thomas Doran (currently Bishop emeritus) of Rockford diocese did not only welcome our sisters in his diocese but graciously bequeathed to the Institute a huge facility, former St. Francis School building and the current Freeport convent. This facility has been an asset to the institute. It is also worth noting that this facility is in the process of a major renovation that will transform it into a Renewal Center that will serve Church and Community. Planned services in this centre would include among others: Counseling services- individual, couples and families, Support Group for bereaved families and recovering addicts, After school programs and Summer programs.
our Institute is a member of the council of major superiors of women religious of America.
From Rockford diocese, we spread to other dioceses in the United States, Canada and West Indies. Former Bishop Raymond Lahey of the diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador, Canada invited our sisters to minister in his diocese in 2000.