Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary:
* The Novitiate on Staten Island
The Handmaids of Mary opened a novitiate on Staten Island, New York, in 1929. They now had a house away from the busy part of the city where they could train young women interested in becoming members of the order. These young women came from all over the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa.
In 1930, Mother Theodore had the congregation enrolled in the Franciscan family as members of the Third Order Regular, thus becoming the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary. The Handmaids committed themselves to follow the rule, life and example of St. Francis of Assisi.
In the example of St. Francis, Mother Theodore exhorted her Sisters to serve the poor with love, humility and compassion. The sisters were committed to help the poor with food, clothing, and education, as well as their spiritual and emotional needs.
* Staten Island Camp and Novitiate
Camp St. Edward on Staten Island
On Staten Island, the Handmaids opened Camp St. Edward in 1952. The camp was located across the street from the Novitiate. Until it closed [was sold off, ed.] in 2003, the camp provided summer getaways for thousands of youth from New York City and North and South Carolina. The Novitiate was also closed in 2003.
A residence for girls whose mothers had sleeping-in jobs or who for some reason could not care for them was housed in the Mother Theodore Memorial building. The residence, now closed [was sold off, ed.], was adjacent to the Motherhouse.