Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters
The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart work in friendship and partnership with Maryvale Institute for the sake of the catechetical formation of the sisters. The collaborations began when the sisters approached Maryvale to ask for support in their catechetical formation programme for their convent in Anambra State, Nigeria.
The Congregation is an indigenous religious Congregation of Pontifical right. It was founded in 1937 by Archbishop Charles Heerey CSSp of Ireland, with the especial aim of raising the status of women and children. He did this holistically by building schools, hospitals and maternity centres. The Sisters continue his work and charism through medical, social, pastoral and educational work. As a missionary congregation, the sisters have houses now in Africa, Europe, America and the Caribbean Islands. There are also Associates of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, comprising of diocesan priests, lay men and women, and even children, with whom they share their spirit and charism.
Aid to the Church in Need initially gave funds to enable four Sisters to attend Maryvale residentially to receive the formation necessary to become accredited catechists and then to lead the formation programme of sixty-four novices back home in Anambra who began the Course for Religious in the Catholic Catechism. Since that first ‘cohort’, several other groups of sisters have taken the course, and it is now embedded in the work of formation in the novitiate. Maryvale continues to provide support, oversight and on-going advice to those leading the course, working with Mother Mary Dominica Odita, Superior General of the Congregation, and with the sisters. A further delightful outcome of the collaboration has been the arrival of two sisters of the Congregation, who now work full-time at the Institute, supporting catechist formation in England.