Sister Teresia and her co-sisters were formed by the Penitents-Recollectines of Roosendaal, a Congregation of Franciscan Tradition. Even after they left for Veghel and started a new Institute, they lived according to the Rule of Roosendaal and preferred nothing else but to continue this tradition. Later on Msgr. Zwijsen, the Bishop of the Diocese, required them to adopt the Rule of the Sisters of Charity. However, Sister Teresia and her co-sisters struggled to be allowed to continue wearing their habit and the Franciscan cord, and to pray the Franciscan breviary. They also placed their new foundation under the special protection of St. Francis of Assisi with the Immaculate Conception of Mary as their patroness.
Steeped in the Franciscan tradition of the Penitents-Recollectines of Roosendaal, Sister Teresia and her co-sisters kept the Franciscan spirit alive. After a long and painful process, the Bishop finally recognized the validity of the Congregation's independence and worked for its approbation. On April 24, 1870, the Constitutions and Rules were approved and signed by Pope Pius IX.
Though they were listed among the Congregations of Franciscans in the Netherlands, it was only on September 11, 1910 that the Holy See recognized the Franciscan character of the Congregation and empowered the General Superior of the Capuchin Fathers to accomplish the aggregation to their Order. The actual incorporation was done on October 4, 1910.
The Franciscan tradition wherein Sister Teresia and her co-sisters stood was mostly inspired by the Penitents-Recollectines of Roosendaal. Mother Joseph traced their origin to Johanna of Jesus (1576-1648), the founder of the Congregation, who was known as a reformer of the conventual life. In her writings, Johanna of Jesus described the foundations which characterized her spirituality, namely:
- purity of heart to make room for what is essential: simplicity;
- humility to think less about oneself;
- mutual or reciprocal love to promote the cheerfulness of the spirit;
- and bodily mortification to protect oneself from over-indulgence.
Following the "perfect path of truth" for Johanna of Jesus means to make room for God's love to dwell within you so that you are able to pass it on to others. Mother Joseph pursued this same path, a way of life lived in simplicity and detachment based on the love of God. She stressed that His love brings their love to life so that they can encounter the other in mutual love. This, for her, is the call of the penitents. (cf Judith de Raat, Een verborgen schat, p.20-22)
Sister Teresia van Miert, after the example of Mother Joseph, strived to live in this spirit of simplicity and submission, love and penance. Her compassion was based on the love of God. By nature we are poor in love, she said, but God loves us, the only thing that we can do then is try to love one another and our fellow beings.