The simplicity of our habit reflects the sacred history of our community. Our order was founded during the time when Nazism and Communism threatened Europe. The Sisters then could not wear a traditional habit because of persecution and threat of arrest. According to our foundress, Sister Ida Peterfy, it was understood that they wore an “invisible habit,” that is, their “habit of fidelity, of joy, of love, the habit of unity, of caring for each other; we prayed, we received Holy Communion, almost at the price of our life during the bombing of the city.” After their escape (1949-50) and spending some years in Toronto, Canada; the new Community was invited by Cardinal James Francis McIntyre to settle in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1956.
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, one was the conditions of wartime persecution, the other was to be more approachable to young people who had been alienated from the Church by Nazism and Communism. Cardinal McIntyre listened and responded to Sister Ida, “Don’t change . . . the Church will need you as you are.”
As an outward sign of our consecrated life, Sacred Heart Sisters in our Society 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. Constitutions (6)
This badge is a symbol of our Lord’s love for us and also our love for Him. The Sacred Heart badge is a visible sign for all to see of the personal love of Jesus Christ for each individual, it symbolizes the totality of His love freely given.