Jubilee History

In honor of Loretto’s bicentennial in 2012, Loretto Academy in El Paso has been writing a series of articles and profiles on Loretto history. Many will be published weekly throughout 2012 in the El Paso Times. Here are the first articles in this series. Check back often – as we will update them throughout the year!

Mary Emerich SL
Between 1969 and 1981 the steady and creative vision of Sr. Mary Emrich, principal of Loretto Elementary School laid a foundation that would lead to its national recogni- tion as a Blue Ribbon school.


Marie Clare Dunphy SL
To those lucky enough to get to know her on a personal basis, she had a devilish sense of humor and she loved to play tricks. She was not afraid of a fight/debate. Her faith was something she devel- oped daily.


Sacred Heart School
“ My first encounter with the nuns of Loretto was when I attended Kindergarten at Sacred Heart School downtown El Paso, Texas. Even at age five, they were like angels to me.


Liz Deines SL
“Anyone who has been taught by Sister Liz Deines knows that she is one of the most eccentric, entertaining, and knowledgeable teachers at Loretto Academy in El Paso, TX. I was much honored to have been taught by her over the span of a year, I feel that she dramatically broadened my knowledge on the subject of God.”


Elizabeth Dacanay SL
“In the loving and intellectual environment of Loretto, I learned to value my own uniqueness.”


Eileen Custy SL
“I taught religion, a subject that many people shy away from. It was my Loretto forum, my mission, my way of sharing the gospel. Loretto Academy remains a place to nurture our dream of social justice, peace, and a better world.”


Mary Ann Cunningham SL
Mary Ann remains a beacon encouraging her community to “continue to welcome change, to challenge systems which oppress, and to work steadily to empower others to respond with the gospel message.”


Kathleen Corbett SL
“I am privileged to be an educator as we journey to jubilee, acknowledging my need to learn from those whose ancestors were here long before the rest of us and to whom I have been sent at this point in the 21st century!”


Corbett SchoolCorbett & Indian School for Girls
By the turn of the century the school closed but not before the Sisters of Loretto impacted many lives and increased educational aspirations for generations of south westerners.


Grace Marie Cordova SL
“Sister Grace Marie molded the minds and behaviors of many students of during her tenure at St. Patrick’s Parochial school…She emphasized that we should be ever cognizant of the importance of proper etiquette.”


Adrian Corley SL
A steady stream of students and parents learned to love Loretto by being of service especially through fundraising projects in which she had a critical role until 1988. “She was a master of gentle persuasion.”


Irma Avila SL
“I think the call to religious life was like a night light burning steadily, but dimly throughout my life. I worked, lived at home, helped support our family and gradually came to see the light.”


Marie Patrice Hoare SL Marie Patrice Hoare SL
“The life of a teacher is an act of faith. We never know what the fruits of our efforts may actually be. However, one of the joys of my life has been seeing former students brining Loretto values into the wider world beyond my reach.”


Lucy Galvin SL & Pat Joyce SL
“As a teacher, I had the privilege and opportunity to nurture, enhance, strengthen and increase my students’ self-esteem. I have the opportunity to be creative and use my God-given talents and skills for the benefit of others.”


Elisa Rodriguez SL
“I believe she always tried to encourage all of us in such a positive way.”


Elizabeth Coyle, SL
“It came to my attention that the girls in my homeroom should see how it is to be poor.” Elizabeth Coyle, born in San Antonio, Texas, graduated from Our Lady of the Lake High School and then earned her BA in sociology from Loretto Heights College.


Jane Clark, SL
“I assumed a special kind of Christian responsibility for all with whom I live and work.” Sr. (John Dennis) Jane Clark SL arrived at a critical time in the history of Loretto Academy in El Paso, TX.


Loretto Co-Members in El Paso
Soon after Vatican II the Sisters of Loretto were glad to expand the structure of the order by offering comembership, to friends, family, and other members of the laity who wanted to belong to the community, spread the Loretto spirit and mission, and nourish their spirituality.


Mary Lambert Goff, SL
“Sister Mary Lambert put the fear of God in me.”


Profile: Adeline Gemoets, SL
One of the earliest local women to enter the Sisters of Loretto was Sister Adeline Gemoets born in March 1892…


Profile: Mother Praxedes Carty, SL
Mother Praxedes, an astute visionary regarded by some members of the Sisters of Loretto as their second foundress dreamed of a college for women in the El Paso/Juarez borderplex…


Profile: Frances Ann Bechtold, SL
Sr. Frances Agnes Bechtold came to Loretto Academy in El Paso in 1964. Generations of students successfully entered science fair competitions under her rigorous guidance.


Profile: Francetta Barberis, SL
She dared to put on a religious habit at age 17, and take it off at 65 to become what Sargent Shriver called “the greatest breath of fresh air Washington had ever known.”


Profile: Lupe Arciniega, SL
The experience of befriending the stranger is a constant in Sr. Lupe Arciniega’s life.


Unrelenting Spirit: The History of Loretto Academy in El Paso
The road that led the Sisters of Loretto from Santa Fe to Denver also led, in time, from Santa Fe to Las Cruces, NM, then to San Elizario, TX, and finally to El Paso, TX in 1892…


Loretto Magazine Articles
We invite you to read up on 200 years of Loretto history, which has been told in a series of articles for Loretto Magazine. Choose your era and jump in:

Catholics Settle in America: 1630-1812
Loretto Foundation and Early Days: 1812-1830
Education Mission Expands: 1830-1900
Education Efforts Diversify:1900-1960
Decade of Renewal: 1960-1970
New Government Structure: 1970-1990
Co-membership Flourishes: 1990-2000
Sister Communities and Pakistan: 2000-2012

For a breezier read, take in some early Loretto history – in comic book form! It’s available here.

Take an online guided history tour of the Loretto Motherhouse here!