Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Finding aid for the Immaculate Heart Community records 7141
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Rights Statement for Archival Description
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Related Materials
  • Preferred Citation

  • Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Special Collections
    Title: Immaculate Heart Community records
    Creator: Immaculate Heart Community
    Creator: Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
    Identifier/Call Number: 7141
    Physical Description: 139.88 Linear Feet 123 boxes
    Physical Description: 3.8 Terabytes 14536 digital files in 808 digital folders
    Date (inclusive): 1852-2021
    Language of Material: English , Spanish; Castilian .

    Biographical / Historical

    The following information was copied from the Immaculate Heart Community website (https://www.immaculateheartcommunity.org/ihc-history) on February 15, 2023.
    In 1848, Canon Joaquin Masmitja de Puig, in response to the spiritual, educational, and social needs of young women challenged by living in wartime Spain, founded the Daughters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Olot, Catalonia. By 1868, their reputation as skilled educators prompted Bishop Amat of California to invite them to found an educational apostolate in Los Angeles. In 1871, ten pioneer sisters arrived in California and were assigned to several locations before ultimately arriving to work in Los Angeles itself.
    When Saint Vibiana Cathedral School opened in 1886 in the center of Los Angeles, IHM sisters staffed the school. In 1906, the sisters opened the Immaculate Heart Convent and Immaculate Heart High School on Franklin Avenue in Los Angeles. In 1916, they chartered and opened Immaculate Heart College on the same property. In 1924 they became independent of Spain and formed a Pontifical Institute aligned with American customs and sensibilities.
    The decades following their independence from Spain were self-defining for the Immaculate Heart Sisters. They opened a Novitiate and Retreat Center in Montecito, began hospital ministries, and staffed many Catholic elementary schools and Catholic high schools. Gradually, over the next few decades their service extended beyond California to include schools in Texas, Arizona and Canada. Innovation, creativity and hospitality were hallmarks that characterized the broad scope of their ministries and their service to communities.
    From 1962-1965, the Second Vatican Council focused on the renewal of the Catholic Church including women's and men's religious communities around the world. The Council called for more effective ways to respond to newly emerging needs for service and for the revitalization of the connection between people and Church. Responding to the changes prompted by Vatican II and moved by contemporary philosophies, modern psychology and evolving feminist consciousness, the Immaculate Heart Sisters embraced the call to transformation.
    Over a two-year period, community leaders initiated and engaged the Sisters in a deeply reflective study that focused on the structure of their lives, the people they served and their place in the changing world. Their study defined obstacles that impeded their efficacy and ways that they might transcend these obstacles. Eminent theologians spoke to them about the meaning of the Council documents and the process of bringing forth renewal in themselves and in their work.
    When the study was complete, an elected group of IHMs gathered in Montecito to develop the response called for by the reforms of Vatican Council II. By 1967 they felt secure in their decisions regarding flexible prayer times, contemporary dress and expanding their ministries beyond health and education, as well as the commitment to professional formation for educators.
    This response, though prayerfully presented, was met with opposition and animosity from Church officials, escalating to an irreconcilable impasse. The IHMs chose to remain true to the integrity of their renewed vision and formed an independent community, without canonical status, guided by the Decrees created in 1968.
    This conflict precipitated the division of the Immaculate Heart Sisters into two groups: those who chose to stay in canonical status and continued to live under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, and those who elected to live independently and form the community that exists today as the Immaculate Heart Community.
    In 1968, those IHMs who held teaching positions in Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles were involuntarily removed from their responsibilities. In other dioceses Community members continued to teach in parochial elementary schools and high schools under more sympathetic Church administrators. What had previously been IHM ministries became separate non-profit corporations, including Immaculate Heart College, Immaculate Heart High School, Queen of the Valley Hospital, and La Casa de Maria Retreat Center. As a spiritual community desirous of continued service in the world, the Community, under its new name, Immaculate Heart Community, re-designated itself as a public benefit corporation in the state of California in 1970.

    Scope and Contents

    The Immaculate Heart Community records contain material spanning the history of the Immaculate Heart Community (IHC), a Catholic religious teaching institute based in Los Angeles, and its parent institution, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), founded in 1848 by Father Joaquin Masmitja de Puig in Olot, Catalonia (Spain). The material in the collection was created between approximately 1852 and 2021 and consists of a wide variety of items and formats including correspondence, administrative documents, programs, photographs, newspaper clippings, publications, ephemera, and electronic content stored on CDs, DVDs, audio and video tapes, high-density zip drives, and an external hard drive. The collection covers a variety of topics and subjects about IHC's history from its founding in Spain through its establishment and continued existence in California, including its operations and various activities. The collection also highlights women's roles in education, religious and spiritual life, the arts, and social activism.


    This finding aid is based on collection documentation authored by Richard P. Hulser Consulting in 2021. Hulser created this documentation when the collection was stored in two locations owned by the Immaculate Heart Community (IHC): the IHC Kenmore apartment building and the IHC headquarters at Franklin Avenue. The inventory from the Hulser Consulting project is structured by the physical areas where the collection was stored. USC has preserved this link between (i) the collection's former physical arrangement and (ii) the collection description's intellectual arrangement as it appears in this finding aid. However, the collection's former physical separation did not reflect a meaningful intellectual distinction (i.e., related materials with similar date ranges and/or subjects were stored in both IHC locations).

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection stored off-site. Advance notice required for access.
    This collection includes both analog and born-digital files. The born-digital files described under the series titled " Rebel Hearts documentary" have been copied to the USC Digital Repository. The digital files are not publicly accessible online. Researchers wishing to request access to the digital files should email specol@usc.edu.
    Access to the analog (CD-R) recordings of the oral history interviews described under the series titled "Immaculate Heart Community Oral Histories - USC Digital Library" is restricted. Digitized copies of the recordings have been made available via the USC Digital Library (see the link below under "Digital Material").

    Conditions Governing Use

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the President of the Immaculate Heart Community. Contact President, Immaculate Heart Community at 5515 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90028-5901 or ihmla@ihmoffice.org

    Rights Statement for Archival Description

    Finding aid description and metadata are licensed under an Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of the Immaculate Heart Community, August 23, 2022.

    Related Materials

    The USC Digital Library digitized 114 IHC oral history interviews completed between 1987 and 2009. See the link under the "Digital Material" section of this finding aid for access to the Digital Library's collection of digitized oral histories. Some of the metadata from this digitization project has been imported into this finding aid -- see the series titled "Immaculate Heart Community Oral Histories - USC Digital Library."

    Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder no. or item name], Immaculate Heart Community records, Collection no. 7141, Regional History Collection, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Catholic Church -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- 20th century -- Archival resources
    Catholics -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Archival resources
    Nuns -- California -- Archival resources
    Nuns -- Spain -- Archival resources
    Nuns as teachers -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
    Teaching -- Religious aspects -- Catholic Church
    Women -- California -- Los Angeles -- History -- Archival resources
    Women in nonprofit organizations -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
    Women political activists -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
    Administrative records
    Born digital
    Digital media
    Moving images
    Newspaper clippings
    Oral histories (document genres)
    Programs (documents)
    Publications (documents)
    Corita, 1918-1986 -- Archives
    Caspary, Anita Marie, 1915-2011 -- Archives
    Immaculate Heart Community -- Archives
    McIntyre, J. Francis A. (James Francis Aloysius), 1886-1979 -- Archives
    Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary -- Archives