Our Community History


Sister Ida's Call

Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart


The First 25 Years

Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart


25-50 Years

Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart


50-75 Years

Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart


The Charism continues...

Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart


The History of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart

Discover the beauty of a Call from God and the results of responding wholeheartedly.

Sister Ida's Call

God's call and His gifts are irrevocable. - St. Paul

October 7, 1922

Ida is born

Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart
Ida Peterfy as a small child

October 7, 1922, Ida Peterfy was born in Kosice, Czechoslovakia to a Hungarian family (before 1920 this city was part of Hungary and was known as Kassa—presently Kosice, Slovakia).   She was the only child of Dr. Joseph Peterfy, a professor of law and history and later director of the city library; she was the fourth daughter of her mother, Ida Kristof, who had been widowed during World War I.

Sister Ida's Call

Ida's Faith grows

Ida Peterfy at 3 years old

A cheerful and determined child, Ida knew God was close to her family; they knew Him, trusted Him and referred to Him in everyday events, but they were not overly pious. In her own words: “Why did God give me the gift of Faith?  Out of His 100% love, so that I would know Him.  We cannot love someone we do not know, and therefore, I think that the gift of Faith precedes any other gift.  That gift was given to me very early in my childhood.  We were not very religious at home, just ‘nice and Catholic’.  Dad did not receive the Sacraments until I became a religious, and I did not talk him into receiving them.  Mother became a frequent communicant after I became a religious also, but not before.”

Sister Ida's Call

A personal relationship with God

Ida is to the right of the banner in the City’s Corpus Christi Procession in 1931

Ida attended the Ursuline Sisters’ elementary school.  Religion was taught by a priest, but it was the Sisters who were quite influential in preparing her for First Communion.

In her own words: “My relationship to the ‘good God’ became much more personal as I learned about Him when we were preparing for First Holy Communion in the second grade.  First Communion made a deep impression on me.  The Ursuline Sisters' Mother Gonzaga, who read to us during embroidery class about the Irish persecution, was of help.  The faith of the Irish people, the reality of their risking their lives to have Mass in their homes helped me to realize the preciousness of the Eucharist.”

Ida was also a charter member and first captain of the Sacred Heart League which was established at that time.

Sister Ida's Call

Scouting with Faith

Ida (4th Scout from left) during summer camp in 1935. Hermine (later Sister Ida’s first companion in the Community) is the first scout from the left. How these ideals learned from the Girl Scouts influenced and shaped their lives will be more evident during the war when they help many Jewish people to escape despite the risk to themselves

Ida begins Gymnasium (5th -12th grade) with a new teacher, Elizabeth Hanka.  In addition to teaching, Elizabeth also begins a Girl Scout Troop, of which Ida is a charter member.  For Hungarian minorities in Czechoslovakia, religion entered every aspect of life.  In the Girl Scout movement, Ida shared the common ideal of loving God and one’s neighbor.  They were active in many areas, often helping the poor with food and clothes, but the highlight was their summer camp.  She learned ecumenism in these camps where Catholics, Protestants and Jews all prayed together each day.

Sister Ida's Call

No longer a minority

Ida is leading the Girl Scouts as they solemnly march on Nov. 11, 1938 when the Regent of Hungary, Miklós Horthy, takes his seat in the city of Kassa, declaring it to now be part of Hungary, not Czechoslovakia

Great joy is felt through the city when Kassa is annexed to Hungary again and the Hungarian minority’s life changed.  Ida and the Scouts who had felt the burdens of being a minority, decided to be as good to the Slovaks as they had wished the Slovaks would have been to them.

Sister Ida's Call

Pax Ting: Girl Scout World Camp

Newspaper article about the International Girl Scout World Camp. Ida is pictured directly below the Regent of Hungary in the first picture on the left.

Due to her leadership and dedication, Ida is chosen as one of 12 leaders to represent Hungary for the Pax Ting, the first Girl Guide and Girl Scout World Camp held in Gödöllő, Hungary in 1939 which is attended by 5800 Girl Guides from 23 countries.  She is also part of the honor guard which stood in front of the Regent of Hungary, Miklós Horthy, and Princess Sybilla of Sweden.

Sister Ida's Call
1939 Summer

Decision for others

Ida (middle) with other scout leaders at the Girls’ Camp

In the summer of 1939, the Girl Scouts were asked by the mayor of Kassa to direct a two week camp for 120 girls.  When asked by her teacher if she could substitute her as Camp Director, Ida abandons her promising, fun-filled vacation at a lake resort—in order to take the lead.  She is 16 years old.

The religious knowledge of the children was very sporadic.  Ida is challenged to introduce the Lord to them and change the children’s fearful and ignorant attitudes about God.  The need to teach them in a gentle and effective way sparked Ida’s imagination to find approaches that were attractive to the children and captured their attention.  To make the Jesus of the Bible come to life, she told them Bible stories to introduce them to God who is loving and caring, illustrating the stories with available props (like twigs) moving them as the characters of the stories.  This was the beginning of her unique catechetical charism for teaching religion (now known as the Five Step Illustrated Method).

Sister Ida's Call
1939 Fall

Prohaszka Circle

Ida’s Hungarian passport photo

Ida, only a high school student, is invited to participate in the Prohaszka Circle, a study group for university students conducted by Msgr. Nicholas Pfeiffer.  They studied the teachings of Thomas Aquinas and the social encyclicals:  “Rerum Novarum” and  “Quadragesimo Anno.”  Ida then organizes the high school branch of the Prohaszka Circle.

Sister Ida's Call

Life changing event described in Sister Ida’s own words:

Sister Ida's own words:

“A great change in my relationship to God took place during the first silent retreat in my life, before my senior year.  It was held right after the summer camp for the poor children.  In the quietness of the retreat, two ideas struck me, stood out as vital; something that had never occurred to me before.  One thought was God’s relationship to me.  Until then, I felt that the initiative to contact God, to know, love and serve Him was ‘my doing.’  During this retreat, the newness of God loving me first, knowing me by name, choosing me as His child in Baptism, brought forth a new response of awe and a very personal love.  Jesus became totally an ‘insider’ who did not only love me ‘in general’ but one who was in love with me very personally.

The thought that ‘the Church’ needs to do something to teach the children became an urgent reality. With the threat of Nazi invasion of the country it became an even more urgent reality.  The solution seemed very clear and simple in the light of the retreat, ‘You are the Church, you, teach the children.’”

Sister Ida's Call
October 7, 1940

Private Profession of Vows

A school photo of Sister Ida

On October 7, 1940, her 18th birthday, Ida professes private, perpetual vows before the Blessed Sacrament in the Franciscan Church in Kassa, Hungary.  This marks the Foundation Day of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sister Ida's Call

The First 25 Years

From Hungary to Austria to Canada to the United States

God does not give a road map.

June 24,1941

Consecration of City of Kassa

A passport photo of Sister Ida

With co-workers and the encouragement of the mayor, Sister Ida is asked to organize the preparation of the youth for public Consecration of the City of Kassa to the Sacred Heart on June 24, 1941.  Bishop Joseph Madarasz warmly approves the work and attends the youth rallies.  He publicly endorses and praises Sister Ida’s dynamic address and explanation of the Novena preparation for the Consecration of the youth.  The Bishop compares her to Margaret Schlachta, foundress of the Sisters of Social Service who was also born in Kassa before World War I.

Through the Actio Catholica, Sister Ida organizes the consecration of youth to the Sacred Heart in various cities across the country from 1941 - 1946.

The First 25 years

First Companions join Sister Ida

This picture was taken in 1942 following the first Community 8 day silent Retreat. Since Sister Ida’s father had recently died she is in black in the center. Sister Hermine is on the left of Sister Ida and Sister Aurelia sits in front of her. Sister Ida’s mother is standing in the back, also in black

In July of 1941, Hermine Jaschko, first companion of Sister Ida, professes her first vows in Esztergom. Soon after, Aurelia Majorossy joins the Community.

In September, Sister Ida begins studies at Pazmany Peter University of Budapest.  She majors in Latin so that she can read the works of St. Thomas Aquinas (not yet translated into Hungarian) and so that she can understand the Liturgy.  Sister Ida also conducts leadership courses for young women and catechetical enrichment programs.

In December, Sister Aurelia professes her first vows.

The First 25 years

Business School opens

Sister Hermine (pictured) and Sister Aurelia had both just received their teaching diplomas and so were qualified to run the business school

The Community (which has to operate in secret because of the Nazi occupation) opens a business school in Kassa.  The business school provides a legitimate title for the Sisters to live together in community and provides a financial support for them.

The First 25 years

New Member

Eva Batta (pictured) officially joins the Community, although she will not finish school until 1945.

The First 25 years

Russian occupation of Hungary intensifies

Sister Ida with her characteristic smile which radiated joy in all circumstances

As World War II is coming to an end, the frequent bombings of Budapest and major industrial centers begins to paralyze Hungary.  The University of Budapest does not open for the Fall of 1944.  Despite this, Sister Ida decides to stay in Budapest to continue ministries with adults and young people.

December 24, 1944, the Russian occupation of Hungary intensifies.  Sister Ida and a Sister companion move from Budapest to Szekesfehervar, Hungary where they are under the protection of Msgr. Imre Pottyondy, Vicar of the Bishop.

The First 25 years

Formulation of Panic Prayer

Sister Aurelia (pictured) is taken to Russia as a prisoner of war; and works in a coal mine for 2 ½ years.

Sister Aurelia made a “lending library” from the pages of her Missal to other prisoners. She was only released from Russia when a beam fell on her back in a coal mine and broke her vertebrae.

During the oppression of the Communist occupation in Hungary and the constant threat of danger to Sister Ida and her Sisters, on Easter in 1945, Sister Ida formulates her “Panic Prayer,” a prayer of complete trust in God,  which her Sisters still pray today.

The First 25 years
1945 Post World War II

Catholic Action and Catechetical Formation

Sister Ida circa 1945

Kassa becomes Kosice, Czechoslovakia again.

Sister Ida continues her studies and receives her M.A. with distinction in Hungarian and Latin Linguistics and Literature and acquires her High School teaching credentials.

At the same time, Sister Ida is employed as the national secretary for the Actio Catholica (Catholic Action) and works with the Sacred Heart League.

Catechetical formation courses are conducted by Sister Ida in major Hungarian cities including Budapest and Győr.

The First 25 years

First Constitutions and Catechetical publications

Sister Agnes (left) and Sister Helen Clare (right)

Sister Ida receives her Ph.D. with distinction in Philosophy and excellence in Pedagogy.

During this year the first Constitutions of the Community are completed.

September 29, Agnes Raday joins the Community.  Soon after, Helen Clare Nagy also joins.

Sister Ida and Sisters undertake printing of “Tele-Course” (Tavkurzus), a catechetical periodical, with the blessing of Cardinal Mindszenty.  Father Viragh, SJ writes articles on theology, while Sister Ida contributes methods and lesson plans.  The Sisters mimeograph and distribute the periodical even though this is against Communist law.  After each use, the machine has to be dismantled and the parts carefully hidden.  So as not to arouse suspicion from authorities, the periodical is mailed from a number of post offices and hand-delivered where possible.

The First 25 years

Cardinal Mindszenty is arrested

Sister Ida in winter 1948

In July, Sister Agnes and Sister Helen Clare profess their First Vows.

On December 26, 1948, Cardinal Josef Mindszenty is arrested. As the political situation becomes increasingly perilous, friends and co-workers in the Hungarian hierarchy advise Sister Ida to leave the country and take the young community to the free world—that it may be developed further, and “later, when possible, return to Hungary.”

The First 25 years
February 14, 1949

Leaving Hungary to Innsbruck

Sister Ida (front row, third from the left) as a teacher in Innsbruck

February 14, 1949, Sister Ida leaves from Hungary to Innsbruck, Austria.  She prepares the way for the Sisters to follow.

Through a series of providential events, God leads Sister Ida to Innsbruck’s Hungarian High School.  Fully qualified to teach, she is the answer to the prayers of the Sisters of Charity who, just four months before graduation, received their visas to go to Holland.

In June, Sister Ida leaves for Canada, the only country then open to immigration.  She works as a domestic for one year as part of the immigration agreement and saves her wages ($40 per month) to make arrangements for the passage of the remaining Sisters.  Even though the International Refugee Organization (IRO) had been disbanded and sponsoring refugees’ transportation to the American continent had stopped, Sister Ida writes to the IRO director appealing for an exception for her Sisters.  He generously grants free passage for the Sisters on the last US military ship for refugees.

Those who desire to continue with the Community take the risk of escaping the country and cross the Iron Curtain two by two to Austria.

The First 25 years
August 15, 1950

Arrival to Canada

Sister Eva (seated left) and Sister Aurelia (right) in Halifax after the Sisters’ arrival to Canada

On August 15, 1950, the Feast of the Assumption, Sister Hermine, Sister Aurelia, Sister Eva, Sister Agnes and Sister Helen Clare arrive safely to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the US military ship Hershey.

The First 25 years

Unskilled laborers

Sister Ida working in the tobacco harvest

To earn money to get settled and buy a house, Sister Ida and the Sisters work as unskilled laborers for Hungarian farmers in the tobacco harvests in Ontario, Canada.

The First 25 years

St. Joseph Press

St. Joseph’s Press located on the 1st floor of their house on Bloor Street in Canada. In foreground, Sister Eva is typesetting. Behind her Sister Ida and another Sister. To the right, Sister Aurelia with the stitcher for binding. In the far back is Sister Helen Clare doing hand setting.

To support themselves while adjusting to the new life style and learning English, the Sisters purchase used printing equipment and establish St. Joseph’s Press.  They print newsletters, bulletins and a weekly newspaper for the parish.  They also print a variety of Catholic publications including a Hungarian Prayer book.

With linguistic and Latin knowledge, they print the “Ordo” (Roman Catholic Church guide for priests, detailing the forms of Mass and other services to be followed for each day in the year) for the English-speaking Church in Canada.

The First 25 years

Marian Year

Sister Ida and Sister Eva talking with children

The “Marian Year” marks the beginning of the Community’s English speaking apostolate.  Sister Ida initiates a solemn consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary and develops a spiritual program to incorporate elementary school children of the Toronto Archdiocese to live out their Catholic Christian faith in a dynamic way.  The “Joyful Apostolate” publication is launched, containing catechetical explanations, lessons, good deed cards and puppet show scripts.

Sister Ida and the Sisters organize a large-scale Children’s Day of Prayer to be held in May 1954. Cardinal James McGuigan, Archbishop of Toronto gives his full support.

The First 25 years

Teacher Training

Sister Hermine and Sister Ida

Sister Ida conducts Teacher Training courses for young women of several nationalities in St. Joseph’s College.  She is even able to teach non-professionals to teach religion in an appealing and interesting way without diluting the doctrine.  As a result, she is invited to establish and teach a catechetical course at St. Michael’s College, Toronto, Canada.

Sister Ida declines the offer with the intention to settle the Community eventually in the United States.

The First 25 years

Chinese converts

Sister Ida (center in blue) surrounded by Chinese students. Sister Hermine is standing to the far right and Sister Helen Clare is standing to the far left. Mary Ann Lou, seated to the right of Sister Ida, will later be the first non-Hungarian person to enter the Community.

The Sisters work with Chinese converts in Toronto Canada.

Sister Ida becomes a Canadian citizen.  TIME MAGAZINE:  Canadian edition writes an article on the Community.

The First 25 years

Invitation to USA

Sister Ida driving the station wagon. Sister Agnes and Sister Eva accompany her. They drive through 13 states in six days. On the way, they were (in Sister Ida’s own words) “totally enchanted by the country, its beauty, vast lands, unity of language, excellent roads, and availability of similar goods in every city and small town.”

Sister Ida presents her unique catechetical Teaching Method in Long Island, New York.  She then attends the Religious Education Congress in Buffalo, New York where several bishops invite her to work in their dioceses.  Bishop Robert J. Dwyer of Reno, Nevada offers to pay for Sister Ida’s flight to see his diocese.  Rather than flying, for the same expense, Sister Ida and two Sisters drive to Reno via Los Angeles in their first station wagon.

The First 25 years
November 1956

Arrival to Los Angeles

Sister Ida (right standing), Sister Agnes (center), Sister Eva (left seated) with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This image currently hangs in the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center in Santa Ana, CA

In Los Angeles, James Francis Cardinal McIntyre invites Sister Ida to open the Motherhouse in Los Angeles.

Mother Margarita, Superior of the Carmelites of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, generously welcomes the Sisters to temporarily live with them until they can move into a more permanent convent of their own.  The Carmelite Sisters also give a beautiful picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Sisters as a gift.

The First 25 years
February 1, 1957

Welcome in the Los Angeles Tidings

Pictured left to right: Sister Agnes, Sister Ida and Sister Eva. This picture and caption is picked up by over 30 other papers across the US.

On February 1, 1957, The Los Angeles Tidings runs an article about the Sisters entitled: “Check, Friday, These are Plain-Clothes Sisters”. (This is a reference to Dragnet, a popular television program at the time)   While mentioning their civilian dress, it describes their vowed life, escape from Hungary, and apostolate as catechists.

"Although they wear nylons and style their hair as they please, the attractive, smiling young women have taken the customary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.  They have dedicated themselves entirely to God…Even in free Canada and the United States their mode of dress has its advantages.  'People feel free to ask us silly questions they would not dare ask a priest or nun.'  Sister Ida said.  'We can dispel a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic Faith.'”  (excerpt from Tidings article)

The First 25 years

Teacher Training Courses

Sister Ida with 3 Sisters of other Religious Communities representing the CCD. This picture appeared in the Los Angeles Tidings newspaper calling for people to be trained as catechists

Msgr. John Clarke, the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Director of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD), asks Sister Ida to conduct catechetical Teacher Training courses at 10 centers throughout the city and county of Los Angeles.

The First 25 years

Leadership Courses begin

Sister Ida teaching about the Sacred Heart at a Leadership Course

Sister Ida is much sought after as a guest speaker for various parishes and Church organizations including Women’s Councils, Knights of Columbus, Serra Clubs, and Catholic Daughters of America.

Leadership Courses are also conducted for high school and college age girls.

Sister Hermine and Sister Helen Clare arrive to Los Angeles after completing the closing of the convent in Canada.

The First 25 years

The Joyful Apostolate

Sister Ida teaching with puppets

The “Joyful Apostolate”, originally the name of the Community Newsletter, becomes identified with the religious education charism of the growing Religious Community.  It spreads through Catechist Formation, Summer Camps for Children, Parish Religious Education, and Schools of Prayer for adults both in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and in the Diocese of Reno.

The First 25 years

Formalization of our Habit

Sister Ida with Cardinal McIntyre

Sister Ida asks Cardinal McIntyre if the community should adopt the more traditional religious garb and a veil.  In the United States, the Sisters had begun to wear a simple beige dress with a Sacred Heart badge.

Sister Ida explained that during the first beginnings of the community, she had two important reasons for not adopting a traditional habit:

1) to be able to work in the apostolate undetected during those years of religious persecution, and

2) to be more approachable to those young people who had been alienated from the Church by Nazism and Communism.

Cardinal McIntyre listened, and then said: “Sister Ida, stay as you are. Don’t change.  The Church will need you as you are.”

The habit of our community is later described in our Constitutions: "As an outward sign of our consecrated life, we wear a habit which is simple in style, neutral and alike in color. It is similar to the conventional dress of modest Christian women in the country where our Sisters live. We wear a silver badge of the Sacred Heart, the emblem of our Society."

The First 25 years

Citizen of the Year

Sister Ida speaking at the awards ceremony for Citizen of the Year

Sister Ida becomes a US Citizen and is honored by Loyola University as “Citizen of the Year.”

Sister Ida and a team of Sisters conduct catechist formation courses in Spanish in La Paz, Baja California, at the request of Msgr. Juan Giordani.  Sister Yolanda is among the team, her Spanish greatly needed. (The Sisters went for 3 summers ending in 1964.)

The “Catechist Companion” is first translated into Spanish at this time.  It is also translated into Japanese and published in the National Catholic Japanese Digest.

The First 25 years

Sister Mary Ann graduates Medical School

Sister Mary Ann (left) with other doctors

Sister Mary Ann graduates from Medical School.  Sister Mary Ann had been one of the Chinese students who met the Sisters in Canada.  She joined the community in 1959 thinking she was giving up going to medical school.  Having the foresight to see how God could use Sister Mary Ann's gift for medicine, Sister Ida sent her to St. Louis University Medical School.

This gift later became instrumental in beginning our Mission in Taipei, Taiwan.

The First 25 years

25th Jubilee

Sister Ida in Rome from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica. She was given the Jubilee gift of attending the closing session of Vatican II

Sister Ida celebrates her Silver Jubilee and 25th Anniversary of the foundation of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart.  She renews her Vows during a Liturgy celebrated by Bishop John Ward, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles.

The First 25 years

25-50 Years

Vatican II, First General Chapter, Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, Sacred Heart Retreat Camp, Mission in Taiwan, Official Erection of Community


First Girls' Camp

Sister Ida with girls during meal time

The first Girls’ Camp in USA is held at Camp Skylandia, Lake Tahoe, California.  Sister Ida leads the camp with a team of 6 Sisters.

25-50 Years

My Friend Pookie and Family Camp

Sister Ida and two of the “cast” of My Friend Pookie

The Los Angeles Archdiocesan Director of Communications requests Sister Ida to create a religious program for children for KABC TV.

Sister Ida with her Sisters produces “My Friend Pookie,” a Television series of twenty-seven half-hour shows, airing over a period of three seasons (1970-72).  In its first season, it becomes the first religious program to show up in the Nielsen ratings.  In 1973 "My Friend Pookie" wins the Gabriel Award for exemplary achievement and public service in the art of communications.

Sister Ida develops Sacred Heart Family Retreat Camp bringing the entire family together in a camp-style retreat where all family members, young and old, receive the same spiritual content on their various age levels.  The first Family Camp is held at Lake Tahoe with 7 families.  Sister Ida’s vision for serving the married Church comes 10 years before Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio.  The total number of families attending Family Camp continues to grow as Sacred Heart Family Camp spreads to other states and other countries.

25-50 Years

A.R.C. studies program in Rome

Sister Ida in conference with many other Religious. Sister Ida is in the front row on the left

Sister Ida attends A.R.C. (Apostolic Religious Communities) studies program in Rome and receives a post graduate diploma.

25-50 Years

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart in front of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which appeared on the tilma of St. Juan Diego

The Community makes a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City in August of 1973.

Sisters record the LP album “You are My Friend” with songs from their TV show “My Friend Pookie”.

25-50 Years

First General Chapter

Sister Ida (center) and Councillors elected at the First General Chapter

The First General Chapter is held in Claretville Malibu, California. Sister Ida is elected as Superior General.

A General Chapter is primarily a solemn gathering of a Religious Community under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to elect the Superior General and her Council and to discuss matters concerning the Society in its response to the current needs of the Church and of the world.  According to our Constitutions, a General Chapter is held every six years.  It is to be “an outstanding manifestation of our sisterly love and zeal to promote the spiritual and apostolic vitality of our Society.”  Const. #129

The Community makes a pilgrimage to the 1976 International Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, traveling across the United States by bus sponsored by the Knights of Columbus.

During the pilgrimage, the Community travels on to visit Toronto, Canada where our Sisters were first established in the New World.

25-50 Years

2nd Session of First General Chapter

Sister Ida (seated) and Sister Eva (standing) conducting the second session of the General Chapter

The Second session of the First General Chapter is held in Santa Rosa, California.  Sister Ida presents to the Community the updated Constitutions and the inspiration behind them in anticipation of sending them to Rome for final approval.

25-50 Years

Groundbreaking for Sacred Heart Retreat Camp

Sister Ida plants a holy medal during the groundbreaking with Bishop Straling (right)

Solemn blessing and ground breaking of Sacred Heart Retreat Camp in Big Bear, California.  Bishop Philip E. Straling, Bishop of the San Bernardino Diocese, officiates.  Mr. Manuel De La Torre was hired as contractor and building begins.

25-50 Years

Dedication of Heart of Jesus Retreat Center & Gentlemen's Haberdashery

Pictured (left to right): Sister Jane, Sister Ida, Sister Catherine Marie, Sister Susan with Emma Jane Riley and General Thomas Riley at the Gentlemen’s Haberdashery in 1995

September 15, 1979  Dedication of the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center in Santa Ana, California by Bishop William Johnson, Bishop of Orange.

October 25, 1979  The first “Gentlemen’s Haberdashery” Men’s Fashion Show is organized by Orange County Supervisor Thomas Riley, the inspiration of his wife Emma Jane, to benefit the newly established Heart of Jesus Retreat Center.  In later years in cooperation with Tony and Melinda Moiso and Rancho Mission Viejo, this delightful and very successful fundraising event showcases influential and up-and-coming Orange County businessmen as they “walk the runway” to support the Sisters’ work with children.  The event runs annually for 30 years until 2009.  After a brief 5 year pause the event resumes in 2013.

25-50 Years
Mike Douglas interviewing Sister Ida

At CBS Studios, Sister Ida is interviewed about the initial inspiration of the community on the Mike Douglas TV Show.  Following the interview the Sisters sing the title song of their new album “Like a Tree”, which contains all original songs written by the Sacred Heart Sisters. The show is aired on March 13 before an estimated ten million viewers.

25-50 Years
June 29, 1980

Dedication of Sacred Heart Retreat Camp

Sister Ida (left) during the blessing of the Chapel of Sacred Heart Retreat Camp by Bishop Straling

The Constitutions of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart are approved by Cardinal Timothy Manning, Archbishop of Los Angeles.

The Sacred Heart Retreat Camp facility in Big Bear Lake, California opens in the Year of the Family with 3 Family Camps.  The Camp is dedicated and blessed by Bishop Philip Straling, Bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino during the closing Mass of Family Camp on June 29, 1980.

25-50 Years

Fashion with a Heart

Sister Ida with Gloria Kim, one of the "Fashion with a Heart" organizers

Fifth Annual Women's Fashion Show fundraiser "Fashion with a Heart" to benefit the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, held in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland hotel.

The Sisters (at the invitation of Salvador “Tutti” Camaratta) help write lyrics and original songs for the recording and release of "A Cry in the Wilderness" album.  The songs on this album give a presentation of Our Lord's life based on the Gospel of Saint Mark.

25-50 Years

Second General Chapter

Elected Councillors pictured (left to right) with Sister Eva Batta, Superior General (center): Sister Jane Stafford, Sister Mary Ann Lou, Sister Ida Peterfy, Sister Lucia Tu

Prior to the Second General Chapter, not wishing the community to rely solely on her, Sister Ida asked the Sisters to elect someone else as Superior General.   The Community elects Sister Eva Batta as Superior General.  Sister Ida Peterfy is elected Assistant Superior General.

25-50 Years

The Church's "Year of Redemption" & Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Community on the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem before making the Stations of the Cross

The Community is gifted with a Pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land for the Holy Year of Redemption in 1983.

25-50 Years

5th Annual Gentlemen's Haberdashery

Sister Ida (right) applauds US Marines modeling at the 1989 Gentlemen's Haberdashery

The Community receives a Telegram from President Ronald Reagan for the 5th Annual Gentlemen's Haberdashery Fundraising Event:

“Many times over the years I have witnessed the greatness of the American Spirit. Compassion for others, creativity in meeting challenges, and determination in accomplishing goals are significant attributes of our people.  One example of this spirit is this community salute to the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart.  I am pleased to extend my personal congratulations and commendation to the Sisters for your generous voluntary contribution to your community.  Your involvement exemplifies the highest tradition of service to others and enhances the lives of all our citizens.  You have my best wishes and encouragement for a most successful luncheon.” – Ronald Reagan

25-50 Years

Decree of Erection

In 1985 on the Feast of St. John the Baptist, the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart is canonically erected as an Institute of Diocesan Right by the Holy See with the Decree of Erection signed by Timothy Cardinal Manning.

 "In the signing of this Decree of Erection with gratitude to God We pray that this Institute of consecrated life grow and flourish according to the spirit of its founder, Ida Peterfy and the wholesome traditions which she and her associates have established and in testimony of which We affix Our Signature and Seal on this 24th Day of June 1985.

Signed: Timothy Cardinal Manning"

25-50 Years

Opening Mission in Taiwan

Sister Mary Ann (3rd from the right) with Sister Ida (2nd from right) and Sisters before leaving for Taiwan

Sister Ida always wanted to open a mission in China.  With the gift of Sister Mary Ann's medical skills the opportunity becomes available to send a mission team to the Archdiocese of Taipei, Taiwan. Sister Mary Ann Lou begins work in Cardinal Tien Catholic Hospital and two Sisters begin the Archdiocesan Catechetical Office.

25-50 Years

Sacred Heart Kids' Club

Sister Ida on the set of Sacred Heart Kids' Club

“Sacred Heart Kids’ Club” complete Video-catechesis production begins.  Three Series of videos are completed by 1989: Creed, Sacraments, and Commandments.  (30 VHS, half-hour each.)

Since every video includes prayer as an integral component, when the new Catechism of the Catholic Church is released in 1994, the Sacred Heart Kids’ Club is immediately recognized as a dynamic catechetical tool in complete harmony with the four pillars of the Catholic Church: Creed, Sacraments, Commandments, Prayer.

25-50 Years

Third General Chapter

Elected Councillors pictured (left to right) with Sister Jane Stafford, Superior General (center): Sister Eva Batta, Sister Ida Peterfy, Sister Lucia Tu, Sister Yolanda Magallanes

Sister Jane Stafford, the first American Superior General is elected. Sister Ida Peterfy is elected Assistant Superior General.

Religious Life Proclamation from Chapter:

"Through the transforming love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our lives become an acceptable sacrifice of praise to God.  It is our common desire to surrender wholeheartedly to this transforming love and become authentic witnesses and living signs of the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus to one another and to the entire human family.  Moved by the Holy Spirit who prompts us to genuine love, trust and gratitude for one another, we manifest our oneness with God and cooperate fully with his gifts.  The holiness we have received through Baptism, and which is expressed with greater fullness in our Religious Consecration, unites us in a common purpose and binds us together in love.  This is the foundation of the hope and joy characteristic of us as a community devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus."

A new Motherhouse is purchased in Northridge, California.

25-50 Years

Building a Bigger Heart

Pictured left to right: Terrance Barry, George O’Connell, Arthur Birtcher, Sister Ida, Sister Jane, Tony Moiso (standing) in the old Retreat Center converted garage to kickoff the Campaign

Our Heart of Jesus Retreat Center opened 10 years earlier by converting part of the former Borchard estate in Santa Ana which was built in 1933.  Since the opening of the Retreat Center, the number of groups steadily increased, with over 5,000 persons coming in recent years.

The conference room, located in a remodeled garage, could not accommodate the requests from parishes to conduct retreats for large groups. To help meet the increased demand for retreats, a group of prominent business and civic leaders in Orange County formed a "Team of Hearts" with the leadership of Tony Moiso, Chairman of the "Building a Bigger Heart" campaign to raise the capital for the expansion of the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center.

25-50 Years

Five Step Illustrated Method on Video

Pictured left to right: Arthur Birtcher, Sister Jane, Bishop Norman McFarland, (Bishop of the Diocese of Orange, CA) Sister Ida, Tony Moiso at Groundbreaking for the new Heart of Jesus Retreat Center

In response to the growing need for Catechist Formation, Sister Ida created the “Be a Dynamic and Effective Religion Teacher” video course to bring her unique catechetical method, “The Five Step Illustrated Method,” to catechists and educators everywhere.

We break ground for the new Heart of Jesus Retreat Center in Santa Ana, CA with Bishop Norman McFarland, Bishop of the Diocese of Orange, CA.

25-50 Years
October 7, 1990

50 Years of Grateful Love

Sister Ida renewing her vows on her 50th anniversary before Cardinal Mahony

October 7, 1990: 50th anniversary of Sister Ida and the foundation of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart. Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles, 11 bishops, 83 priests and 3,000 friends celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Sister Ida and the beginnings of the Community.

25-50 Years

50-75 Years

The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, Sister Ida returns to her heavenly Father, Servant of God Sister Ida Peterfy

June 1991

Sister Ida and Sisters each receive a Rosary and personal greeting from Pope John Paul II during audience after Mass

Mass with Pope John Paul II in his private Chapel

Community Picture with Pope John Paul II (center)

Golden Jubilee Pilgrimage

“You are a blessing for the Pope. You are truly American and truly Catholic.” - Pope John Paul II to Sister Ida and Community

On the occasion of our Golden Jubilee Pilgrimage of the Saints to Rome in June 1991, the Sisters are privileged to attend the Mass that the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II celebrates in his private chapel.

Following the celebration of the Mass, the Holy Father  personally greets each Sister in his reception room. He greets Sister Ida in Hungarian with the traditional greeting for a Religious Sister.

Bidding farewell, the Holy Father says to the Community, “You are a blessing for the Pope.  You are truly American and truly Catholic.”

50-75 Years

A Mission established in Hungary

Pictured in the airport left to right: Sister Shannon Stafford, Sister Judith Fogassy, Sister Ida Peterfy, Sister Eva Batta, Sister Hermine Jaschko departing to begin new Mission house in Hungary

The newly built Heart of Jesus Retreat Center is opened in January 1992, in the Diocese of Orange, California.

After the fall of the Iron Curtain, three Sisters are sent to begin our Mission in Hungary.  Sister Ida and Sister Hermine accompany the Sisters.  The Sisters' convent and Sacred Heart Center is established in Budapest.  Their work extends throughout Hungary and to neighboring countries.

50-75 Years

Fourth General Chapter

Community photo at time of Fourth General Chapter. Sister Ida in center of the front row

Fourth General Chapter: Sister Jane Stafford is reelected Superior General.  Sister Ida is reelected Assistant Superior General.

Apostolic Decree from Chapter: "Recognizing the Church’s urgent call for more living, dynamic witnesses of Christ’s love and the need to teach with clarity all aspects of our Catholic faith, we, as a Community, proceed with the two-fold aim of vocation promotion and communicating the Truths of our Catholic faith more extensively…We realize that this is not our work, but the movement of the Spirit of Jesus, who inspires, directs, and accomplishes this undertaking through us, for the sake of His Body, the Church."

50-75 Years

Sister Ida Diagnosed with Lymphoma

Sister Ida (front row 2nd from right) with the temporary professed Sisters on their California Mission Pilgrimage

Sister Ida leads the Junior Professed Sisters on a Pilgrimage to the California Missions, visiting 10 Missions.

In June, Sister Ida is diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

While undergoing chemotherapy in July, Sister Ida directs an Ignatian 30 day silent retreat for our Sisters who recently professed final Vows.

50-75 Years

Pilgrimage to Hungary

In the upper right balcony of the Ursuline Church where Sister Ida received first Communion, Sister Ida (standing) addresses the Community during the Pilgrimage to Hungary

Sister Ida leads the entire community on a pilgrimage to Hungary in the summer, visiting significant sites and recalling the Community’s beginnings.

In her own words: “I remember being in the upper right balcony of the Ursuline church and looking down at the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar surrounded by candles and flowers.  It had a very deep impression on me.  I had a strong love for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and I thought that I would happily be a flower in the presence of Our Lord all my life.”

50-75 Years

Sister Arlene's Perpetual Vows

Pictured left to right: Sister Arlene, Sister Ida, and Sister Jane processing out of the church at Sister Arlene's Final Vows 1999 (the last vow ceremony Sister Ida attended)

Even though quite ill, Sister Ida still attends Sister Arlene Te’s Final Vows in St. John the Baptist Church in Costa Mesa, California on March 27, 1999.

This is the last Vow ceremony that Sister Ida attends in this life.

50-75 Years
January 2, 2000 Feast of the Epiphany

The Church's Great Jubilee

Pictured: Sister Ida is escorted by Bishop Gerald Wilkerson, regional Bishop of San Fernando, through the Holy Door just 5 weeks before her death

Celebration of the Great Jubilee of our Lord’s Birth 2000 AD

This event, taking place on our Novitiate property, is given the privilege of the Jubilee indulgence and is attended by 1300 friends of the Community.  It includes presentations for different age levels, Eucharistic procession through the city of Chatsworth, confessions and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  The solemn opening of the Holy Door preceded the celebration of the Mass.

50-75 Years
February 8, 2000

Sister Ida is called home

Cardinal Roger Mahony incensing Sister Ida's casket during the Mass of Resurrection at St. John Eudes Church, February 12, 2000

Sister Ida's life on earth ended as it had been lived, focused on the One whom she had given her life to, and surrounded by her Sisters who joined her in this love.  She passed on to eternal life on February 8, 2000, in the Motherhouse of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart in Northridge, California.

Feb. 12: The Mass of Christian Burial is celebrated for Sister Ida at St. John Eudes Parish in Chatsworth.  Cardinal Roger Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles is the main celebrant; Archbishop Justin Rigali, Archbishop of St. Louis, MO; several Bishops, 40 Priests and 1200 faithful attend the Mass and continue on to her burial at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.

"We were blessed, for whatever reason in God's providence, to have Sister Ida here, to have the opportunity to know her and love her...we also pray that we would be able to capture that spirit of Sister Ida in our own commitment of faith in Christ, and in our lives we would live out the discipleship which she lived out to the full, and shared with us in such a visionary fashion." - Cardinal Mahony

Two weeks later, Sister Aurelia Majorossy, one of the first companions of Sister Ida in Hungary, passes to eternal life on February 26.

50-75 Years
June 2000

Fifth General Chapter

Pictured front row left to right: Sister Lucia Tu, Superior General, Sister Jane Stafford
Back row left to right: Sister Mary Tomasella, Sister Agnes Raday, Sister Elizabeth Normanly

Fifth General Chapter: Sister Lucia Tu is elected the Superior General.  Sister Jane Stafford is elected Assistant Superior General.

We record and release our Christmas album, “Love Does Such Things.”

50-75 Years
January 7, 2001

Closing of Great Jubilee

Procession with the Blessed Sacrament on our Novitiate Property before the closing of the Holy Door on January 7, 2001

On the feast of the Epiphany, January 7, 2001 we celebrate the closing of the Great Jubilee Year with a day of prayer, gratitude and the official closing of the Holy Door at the Novitiate property in Chatsworth, CA.

50-75 Years

Pontifical Appointment for Catechetics

Sister Agnes Raday, representative of SDSH for COINCAT appointment, with Pope John Paul II; Cardinal Ratzinger is in the background

The Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart receives a great privilege: Sister Agnes Raday accepts a pontifical appointment to be a member of the International Council for Catechetics under the Congregations of Clergy and Doctrine of the Faith (COINCAT).

The Sisters record and release an album of original songs, “God Has a Heart for You.”

In the Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO a new convent is opened at the invitation of then Archbishop Justin Rigali. The Sisters teach catechetical methods in the Paul VI Pontifical Institute and give retreats to various schools and parishes throughout the Archdiocese.

Sister Helen Clare Nagy, one of the first companions of Sister Ida in Hungary, passes to eternal life on December 1.

50-75 Years

Blessing of Sacred Heart Monument

Sacred Heart Monument designed by liturgical artist Isabel Piczek, surrounded by the crowd in attendance at the blessing ceremony

Isabel Piczek, liturgical artist and friend of Sister Ida, designs a Monument of the Sacred Heart to be installed at Sister Ida's gravesite.

Description of the monument: The unity of the Holy Trinity depicted by the Hand of God the Father appearing in a triangle, the figure of the Son of God Incarnate, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in the sign of a dove.  The humble offering of our hearts and lives to Christ is symbolized by the Sacred Heart badge, the emblem of our Society that our Sisters wear.

February 8, 2004: Blessing of the Sacred Heart Monument by Bishop Gerald Wilkerson at the gravesite of Sister Ida Peterfy in San Fernando Mission Cemetery. Over 400 friends attend.

50-75 Years

Sixth General Chapter

Elected council members pictured (left to right) with Sister Jane Stafford, Superior General (center): Sister Agnes Raday, Sister Eva Batta, Sister Mary Tomasella, and Sister Elizabeth Normanly

Sixth General Chapter:  Sister Jane Stafford elected Superior General.  Sister Mary Tomasella elected Assistant Superior General.

Proclamation of our Spiritual and Community Life from Chapter: "Listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and recognizing the need for ongoing conversion personally and communally, we more profoundly recommit ourselves to a life lived and spent in union with our God and one another.  This union with God is the source from which our apostolic love flows.  Therefore, with zealous hearts we rededicate ourselves to the fullest expression of our prayer life as stated in our Constitutions and Statutes. Acknowledging the need to revivify our Community life, we reaffirm our commitment to deepen the bonds with one another as Sisters in Christ, sharing spiritually, supporting each other in all aspects of our lives, embracing with appreciation any correction in a spirit of sincerity, trust and humility."

After Chapter, the entire community travels by bus to St. Louis on our “Journey to the Heartland” Pilgrimage.

50-75 Years

Catechist Companion published

At Wednesday audience, Sister Agnes Raday giving Pope Benedict XVI a copy of the Catechist Companion

In January, nine of our Sisters from convents in California and St. Louis, MO were privileged to participate in the March for Life that took place in Washington, DC to give witness by our presence to the dignity and preciousness of God's gift of life.

In answer to many years of being asked to make Sister Ida's brilliant lessons available, the Catechist Companion, complete lesson plans on Creed, Sacraments, Commandments, and Prayer using the Five Step Illustrated Method is published by Liturgy Training Publications.

The entire Community is gifted with a Pilgrimage to Rome and Holy Land sponsored by generous community friends and benefactors. While in Rome, we had the extraordinary gift to be seated near the Holy Father during the Wednesday audience. When the Holy Father said, "My particular greeting goes to the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart," we shouted for joy! The Holy Father responded with a warm smile and wave of welcome.

50-75 Years

25th Anniversary of Mission in Taiwan

Sacred Heart Sisters with the Archbishop John Hung Shan-Chuan, Archbishop of Taipei (center) following the Anniversary Mass. In the back row are Archbishop Joseph Ti, Archbishop Peter Liu and Papal Nuncio Msgr. Paul Russel

Sister Arlene Te, MD becomes a licensed practioner and NaPro (Natural Procreative Technology) Educator.  She also gives a presentation at the NaPro Technology International Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, about her success in providing treatment for infertility in Taiwan using NaPro Technology.

Celebration of Twenty-fifth Anniversary of our Mission in Taiwan. Six Sisters travel to join our Sisters in Taiwan for the event.  The 50th Anniversary of religious vows of Sister Mary Ann and 25th Anniversary of Sister Mary Beth and Sister Anna are also celebrated in Taiwan at this time.

50-75 Years

Juniors in the Vineyard

Pictured (left to right): Sister Guadalupe, Sister Sophia, Sister Rose, Sister Laura, Sister Gabrielle, Sister Jane (standing), and Sister Ines with some of the fruits of the vine

The Junior Professed Sisters travel to a vineyard with Sister Jane and Sister Joanna during a special Junior Class.  There they learn more deeply the meaning of the parable of “the Vine and the Branches."

May 6, Sister Annette Chui passes to eternal life. She is the fourth of our Sisters to die.

50-75 Years

Seventh General Chapter

Elected Councillors pictured (left to right) with Sister Jane Stafford, Superior General (center): Sister Elizabeth Normanly, Sister Mary Tomasella, Sister Catherine Marie Stewart, Sister Eileen Sullivan

Seventh General Chapter: Sister Jane Stafford is re-elected Superior General.  Sister Mary Tomasella is elected Assistant Superior General. The theme of our Chapter is taken from our Constitutions: "Our religious community is devoted to the Loving Heart of Our Lord Jesus; His love permeates our life and our apostolate."

50-75 Years

Marian Pilgrimage in Year of Faith

Sisters carrying banners for the candlelight procession in Lourdes

The entire Community makes a Marian Pilgrimage traveling to the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock (Ireland), Our Lady of Lourdes, and Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Paris.  This was a gift from a generous benefactor in the Year of Faith.

50-75 Years

Amar es Entregarse Award

Pictured left to right: Bishop Rutilio del Riego, Sister Eileen Sullivan, Sister Mary Tomasella, Sister Bernadette Muller, Bishop Gerald Barnes at Awards Dinner

The "Amar es Entregarse" (Bishop Barnes episcopal motto: Love is the total giving of one self) award is given by Bishop Gerald Barnes to the Sisters for their exceptional apostolate in the Diocese of San Bernardino, California.  At Sacred Heart Retreat Camp in Big Bear, California the Sacred Heart Sisters conduct spiritual retreats for teenagers, Girls' Camps, and Family Retreat Camps.  At the event Bishop Barnes reminded everyone that Sister Ida's legacy of joyful loving service and transformational teaching, that makes known the love of God, lives on in the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart as the Sisters continue her Joyful Apostolate.

50-75 Years
August 2014

Extraordinary Chapter of Elections

Elected Councillors Pictured (left to right) with Sister Mary Tomasella, Superior General (center): Sister Catherine Marie Stewart, Sister Eileen Sullivan, Sister Elizabeth Normanly and Sister Sharon Richards

August 6, 2014 Extraordinary Chapter of Elections: Sister Mary Tomasella is elected Superior General.  Sister Eileen Sullivan is elected Assistant Superior General.

September 1, 2014, Sister Agnes Raday, one of the first companions of Sister Ida in Hungary, passes on to eternal life.

50-75 Years
May 15, 2015

Servant of God Sister Ida Peterfy

In the May 15th Issue of the Tidings,
Archbishop José Gomez announced that he had received the petition to begin the cause of Beatification and Canonization for Sister Ida. He published the petition with an invitation to all the faithful "to bring to his attention any useful information which they might have to offer regarding the cause" for Servant of God Sister Ida Peterfy.

Click to read the full text of the petition of the cause

50-75 Years

75 Years of Grateful Love in the Year of Consecrated Life

Archbishop José Gomez (center), with (left to right, back) Bishop Wilkerson, Cardinal Mahony, Bishop Salazar, Abbot Wright O.S.B. and Abbot Benedict O.S.B. (Front, left to right) Council members: Sister Catherine Marie, Sister Elizabeth, Sister Mary (Superior General), Sister Eileen and Sister Sharon

On November 7, 2015, joined by more than 1,000 friends and family members, our Society celebrated our grateful love to God for these past 75 years with a Mass and reception at St. John Eudes’ Parish in Chatsworth, CA.  All the Sisters renewed their Vows together in the presence of Archbishop José Gomez, their families and friends. The day was filled with joy.

Read more

50-75 Years

The Charism Continues...


Sister Hermine's 75th Anniversary

Archdiocese of Los Angeles Jubilee celebration for Consecrated Religious: seated is our Sister Hermine Jaschko-75 years; standing left to right, Sister Joanna Strouse-25 years, Sister Bernadette Muller-50 years, Sister Lucia Tu-50 years of faithful love.

We culminate our 75th Anniversary as a Religious Community with a celebration of several Sisters' Jubilees.  Sister Hermine Jaschko, Sister Ida's first companion, celebrates 75 years of professed life. Sister Lucia Tu and Sister Bernadette Muller celebrate 50 years and Sister Joanna Strouse celebrates 25 years of Religious Profession.

On May 7, 2016 Sister Judith Fogassy passes to eternal life after a very short battle with cancer.  In April she sent this message to catechists in Hungary: "I love you very much! I carry you in my heart as always, and I will carry you in heaven as well...God has another plan, and it is good. I trust in Him. I trust Him in every moment."

The Charism Continues

25th Anniversary of Mission in Hungary

"Enter His gates with Thanksgiving"

In September a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Budapest, the parish which welcomed the Sisters 25 years ago.  Presided by the Cardinal Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, concelebrated by bishop friends and many priests the celebration included families, friends and benefactors of the Sisters and parishoners.

The Charism Continues

Eighth General Chapter

Sister Mary Tomasella, Superior General (center) with elected Councilors pictured left to right: Sister Catherine Marie Stewart, Sister Eileen Sullivan (Assistant Superior General), Sister Susan Blaschke, Sister Adriane Torrisi

Gathered at the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center in Santa Ana, California, the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart holds their Eighth General Chapter. During our Chapter of Elections, Sister Mary is re-elected as the Superior General and the Council members are elected. The Holy Spirit was very present as we began each day with prayers asking for the Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit, as well as readings from Holy Mother Church and from Servant of God Sister Ida Peterfy, our Foundress.

Shortly after our Chapter celebration, we had cause for another great celebration, the 75th Anniversary of Religious Profession for Sr. Eva Batta and the 25th Anniversary of Sister Arlene Te.

As we celebrate our 78th Community Anniversary on October 7, we include a blessing of our two new Community buildings on our Novitiate property:

Heritage House with rooms for our Archives, a museum of Community History, and a Catechetical Center;

Beatitudes Hall, a new conference room for community meetings and gatherings and events.

The Charism Continues

Sister Hermine turns 100!

Sister Hermine (center in wheelchair) surrounded by (left to right) Sister Eileen, Sister Frances, Sister Martha, Sister Virginia, Sister Lucia, and Sister Carmen singing Happy Birthday to her.

What better way is there to celebrate your 100th birthday than surrounded by your Sisters in the Celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy?! At our Motherhouse in Northridge, our Sisters gather around Sister Hermine Jaschko, Sister Ida’s first companion in Hungary. Our friend Father Norm Supancheck celebrated Mass.  It is a day of joy and gratitude for the gift of Sister Hermine and the gift she is to each of her Sisters.

This year also marks 50 years serving at Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang.  A Mass celebrated at the Mission and a reception filled with many prayers and words of gratitude for all we have done for these 50 years.  We express our heartfelt thanks for the wonderful parishioners and families we have known over these years, with whom we work with and pray together. We look forward to God’s plan in the years to come!

The Charism Continues

Worldwide Pandemic and Digital Outreach

Sister Eva Batta (front) and Sister Yolanda Magallanes during a Community Seminar via ZOOM.  Sister Eva shares our Community History.

The year begins with a beautiful celebration of Sister Mary Ann Lou’s 60th Anniversary (Diamond Jubilee) of consecrated life. Sister Mary Tomasella, Superior General, is able to join the celebration with our Sisters in Taipei at Our Lady of China Parish, Archbishop Joseph Ti as the main celebrant. Sister Mary Ann, who is a surgeon, has served in Cardinal Tien Catholic Hospital in Taipei since 1982.

With the Covid Pandemic and the worldwide quarantine, our Sisters innovatively look for new means to share the Good News:

  • Our Corporate Media Team creates videos for teaching and for prayer, available on our website
  • Sacred Heart Kids’ Club meetings at the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center go virtual, with over 100 children registered, including children in Florida and other States
  • Our Sacred Heart Kids’ Club video series is made available for streaming on our website for free
  • Several ZOOM groups for young adults begin: Imago Dei, Tabor, and Vita Consecrata, allowing for prayer, and spiritual sharing
  • Our Sisters in parishes also make use of new forms of media as they continue to form the children in their care for the Sacraments
  • Our Sisters participate in a live virtual event for National Vocations Awareness Week in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in November for all 5th-8th 56 schools and 3500 students attended.

In November, Sister Arlene Te, SDSH, a medical doctor, is awarded the Taiwan Medical Contribution Award by the National Medical Association. She was nominated by Cardinal Tien Catholic Hospital (Taipei, Taiwan). This national acknowledgment is given for Sister Arlene’s outstanding medical service in promotion of life; reaching out to the sick, especially in the remote and aboriginal areas; and for her tireless effort for public welfare as a Family Medicine specialist.

The Charism Continues

30 Day Retreat

Pictured (left to right): Sister Gabrielle Vogl (2014*), Sister Rose Amoranto (2014*), Sister Eva Batta, Sister Guadalupe Rodriguez (2013*), Sister Laura Bradford (2016*).  Sister Eva wanted to have a picture with the Sisters just before they began their 30 day retreat. (* year of perpetual profession)

Each Sister in our Community has the opportunity to make a 30 day retreat, for perpetual profession.  Many of our Sisters were directed by Sister Ida during their 30 day retreat.  This year, four of our Sisters have the opportunity to experience the 30 day retreat under the direction of Sister Mary Tomasella using Sister Ida’s 30 day retreat notes. It is a blessing that Sister Guadalupe and Sister Laura who live in our Missions of Hungary and Taiwan (respectively) are able to come to the US for this extended time of prayer.

The Charism Continues

Summer Camps return!

Family Camps and Girls’ Camp begin after the Pandemic. Even with keeping safe space, the theme “Walking with our King” expressed the joy to experience Summer Camps again.  Pictured: Families gathered just before campfire.

The evening of January 8, Sister Eva Batta passes into Eternal Life. Sisters from our convents gather around her bedside; our Sisters in Taiwan and Hungary are able to be present via ZOOM. Sister Eva lived as a faithful Sacred Heart Sister for almost 80 years.  She is one of Sister Ida’s original companions, joining the Community shortly after it began in Hungary.

In April, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles sponsors an 11 mile Jubilee Year Pilgrimage walk from Mission San Gabriel to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.  Our Sisters were among the 2500 people joining Archbishop Jose Gomez for this historic event. Click here to read more

On October 7, the 82nd Anniversary of our Society, we also celebrate the 100th year of Sister Ida’s Birth!  God is so good that her charism continues through her Sisters. We are also grateful to receive testimonies to how people see their prayers have been answered through the intercession of Servant of God Sister Ida. Click here for testimonials

The Charism Continues

Pilgrimage to Hungary

Sisters singing to the students at the Catholic School in Budapest where our Sisters teach.  The students performed a delightful traditional Hungarian dance to welcome our Sisters who were on pilgrimage.

Sister Mary Tomasella, Superior General, leads 23 Sisters on a pilgrimage to Hungary, “In the Footsteps of Sister Ida”.  Most of the Sisters had never been to the places where Sister Ida grew up, consecrated her life to God and began our Community.  They are able to experience the beginning of Society visiting significant sites our Community patrimony, pray in pilgrimage places, and meet our good friends who support our Mission in Hungary (established in 1992 after the Communists left the country).

Our Community is asked to write articles on Faith & Life for the Orange County Catholic Newspaper each month.  Sister Diane Heiss contributes her reflections this year and we are grateful that so many are enriched by them.  Click here to read more

Our joyful apostolate continues to flourish as we begin to work in several new parishes recently, including St. Matthew in Long Beach, Our Lady of Grace in Encino, St. Euphrasia Religious Education program in Granada Hills, and Korean Martyrs in the Diocese of Orange.

The Charism Continues