The founding work of the Friends of Mary at the Foot of the Cross was education. Opening the first Loretto school at Hardin’s Creek, Kentucky, in 1812 was certainly only the beginning. Loretto opened over 225 more schools almost always at the request of a bishop or a pastor because of our reputation as educators par excellence! Loretto staffed parochial and diocesan schools and established our own academies and two colleges, Webster College (now Webster University) in St. Louis in 1916 and Loretto Heights College in Denver in 1891. Many of the locations were on the frontier and risky when we arrived. Our final foundation was the Redmond Learning Center in El Paso in 1976. Loretto’s educational tradition then spread to China, Bolivia, Peru – and now in Ghana and Pakistan.
The tradition of education continues today in three Loretto-affiliated schools in the United States:
Nerinx Hall High School
A Catholic, college-preparatory high school in Webster Groves, Mo., founded on the belief that educated, caring and empowered young women are essential to our world. Core to their philosophy is the belief that women must know themselves and their world, that diversity enriches and trust empowers, and that we are called to deliberate Christian action.
Loretto Academy is an independent, Catholic institution (Pre-K3 to 12; Pre-K3 – 5 co-ed, 6-12 only girls) that is committed to developing the whole child, mind and spirit. Founded by the Sisters of Loretto in 1923 as a celebration of faith in God’s love for us, the Academy, rooted in its rich heritage, continues today as a strong response to that love.
St. Mary’s Academy
Metro Denver’s premier Catholic, independent school offering rigorous academics in its co-ed lower and middle schools, and its high school for girls. We offer a safe, yet innovative program that embraces all student backgrounds, and fosters character and moral development from Junior Kindergarten to Graduation.
All our Loretto schools hold and teach the same four core values:
- Faith: Building hope, fostering community and acting in charity and service through the enduring love of God.
- Community: Building relationships that are affirming, inclusive, empowering and compassionate.
- Justice: Promoting changes to eliminate oppression, and creating systems and relationships in which people, especially women, are treated fairly and impartially.
- Respect: Being open to differences, and believing in each person’s potential. Promoting the dignity of individuals, and protecting the sacredness of all creation.
Other Loretto-Founded Schools:
Havern School provides an education program for elementary and middle school students with diagnosed learning disabilities in the Denver area. Founded by Sisters of Loretto in 1963, the school is located on the same campus as the Loretto Central Office and Loretto Spirituality Center.
Kansas City Academy
Kansas City Academy was founded in 1984, guided by the philosophy that: the uniqueness and worth of each individual are unconditionally accepted and respected, diversity is celebrated, interreligious dialogue and understanding are encouraged, collegial and participatory decision-making is practiced, responsible freedom is expected, and active, open communication is a way of life. While not a Loretto institution, it was founded following the closing of Loretto School in Kansas City – and proudly continues Loretto’s unique educational philosophy.
Loretto Mission Areas
Justice and Peace