The Congregation's emblem is quite unique. It was designed by our foundress, Mother Margaret Healy Murphy.
The design includes the initials of the Congregation (SHSp), the gifts of Holy Spirit (Wisdom, Intelligence, Strength, Fear of the Lord, Science, Piety, and Advice), the dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and an image of the mother of God, Mary Immaculate. The Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate are the patrons of our Congregation.
The Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Mary Immaculate were founded by Margaret Mary Healy Murphy in 1893, in San Antonio, Texas, for the purpose of ministering to the poor in their need.
The spirit of our foundress was one of faith and trust in God and compassion for those in need. Taking seriously the command of Jesus to be compassionate as our God is compassionate and following the inspiration of our foundress, we believe that we are called by God to be women of faith and trust who live together in simplicity, humility and love to manifest the compassion of Jesus to the poor, especially those who are denied respect for their human dignity.
Traditionally, our works in education, pastoral ministry, social work and health care have been an expression of this compassionate presence.
As you see the mission of the Sisters of the Holy Spirit is “to be a prophetic voice for Justice in a world of injustice and poverty.”
What is your mission in life, in other words, what difference would you like to make in the world before you die?
Almost a decade ago, Sister Bernie Barrett responded to the call from Region V of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious to work with other religious communities in Lake Providence, Louisiana to live among the people in this divided racial community; as Sister Bernie puts it, “to be a compassionate presence to the people, bringing them hope and realization of the gifts within themselves.”
In Lake Providence, Louisiana, sometimes that presence includes community organizing, working with state and parish (county) legislators, school boards, and housing authorities. “It is important to communicate with our elected officials,” remarks Sister Bernie,” at times they just need a little challenge to remind them to represent all their constituencies.”
One of the ways Sister works directly with the people is through her assistance with the paperwork that must be processed for government housing. Daunted by the application process, people used to give up trying to apply for assistance with getting a home or getting a necessary renovation.
Sister Bernie is most rewarded by her work with her elderly clients When asked to elaborate, she states,” I learn so much from the people. They are survivors who manage to live and raise their children despite almost overwhelming odds.”