The Harlem order of black nuns celebrates a century of diligent service to the poor and needy.
The order was established in 1916 in Savana, Ga and 7 years later moved to Harlem. It has been helping the poor parents who need help in nursing their children in age between 2-4 years.
Over the past years, the African-American nuns at the Motherhouse of the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary became less popular and most people barely recognized their existence in Harlem.
Their efforts to serve communities slowly withered as the number of their members dropped and no new members were joining the order. But this wasn’t the end of their mission. Their spirit was awoken when they got a wake-up call from the Pope Francis.
“When we heard the Pope say, ‘Get out of your comfort zone, go out to the communities and serve,’ we decided to make things new,” said Sister Gertrude Ihenacho, congregational minister at the Motherhouse.
They created an online forum dedicated to social justice and encouraged young women to join them in serving the poor.
“We seek out those whose rights are being denied. Everyone has rights to the basic needs of life, rights to food, rights to housing, water, and many things. There are some in the land of plenty who are hungry. They shouldn’t be,” Sister Ihenacho said.
According to reports, the main purpose of their gala program held over the week was to “close the last 100 years of service and begin a 100 years”.