For the last few days I’ve been wanting to share with you what Founders Day means to IHMs. On November 10 we became one hundred sixty-four years old. Traditionally our celebration included retelling the treasured stories, decorating with a miniature version of the first log cabin convent, special prayers and dinner, and much appreciated talking instead of silence at meals!
Today, regardless of whether an IHM’s current geographic location and ministry limit her access to a communal celebration, Founders Day still has a distinct “flavor.” The day evokes deep pride not only in the founding story but in the courage, faith and zeal that characterized our foremothers throughout our history. We remember the quirky facts like the lack of sufficient dishes so that one had a plate and another had a cup. And we treasure as well the image of the three sisters kneeling on the altar steps after Mass as Father Gillet placed his stole on each sister’s shoulder to signify an almost priestly commission for ministry.
This year those who live in the Monroe area gathered for a Founder s Day Mass at which Sr. Joan Mumaw, IHM Vice President, gave the reflection. She focused on our co-founder Fr. Gillet’s famous words, “I began without thinking of the future of the work, leaving it to God alone to make it prosper if it were pleasing to God and useful for the good of others.” With daring, Fr. Louis Gillet and Sr. Theresa Maxis relied on the Spirit of God, trusting that the God who inspired them would also empower them to bring about the dream. This Spirit has led the community throughout our history, has blessed and prospered the work of our hands. We too are women of the spirit, open to the God of surprise. Founders day is a day of deep gratitude and hope.