100 years ago…
Loretto Academy in El Paso opened its doors
On the occasion of this important milestone, Mary E. “Buffy” Boesen SL writes:
It’s hard to believe that 100 years have gone by since Mother Praxedes’s dream of Loretto Academy in El Paso became a reality.
I am grateful to those who have gone before us, particularly Eileen Custy SL, Bernice Hys SL and Jane Clarke SL, who steered Loretto Academy in the 21st century — for almost 40% of the school’s history. I hope that the next generation continues the keen passion for education, honoring the Loretto Community’s core mission, ‘We work for justice and act for peace because the Gospel urges us.’ I pray that this great institution carries on for another 100 years.
Buffy Boesen SL served as president of Loretto Academy for more than 22 years, retiring in 2022.
Loretto sisters first arrived to teach and serve in China
In 1922 Father Edward Galvin, co-founder of the Missionary Society of St. Columban, visited Loretto Superior General Praxedes Carty to ask if Loretto sisters would be willing to teach in China. The next year, six sisters traveled to Hanyang and began their first assignment at St. Columban’s Mission where an embroidery school helped girls from the countryside earn money, learn a useful skill and gain a basic Christian education. From 1923 to 1952, 30 Loretto sisters would serve in China, teaching, running schools and providing religious education and training, in addition to responding to urgent crises. It was a challenging era for the Chinese — considerable suffering was caused by poverty, floods, disease and war. For the final two years of World War II, 15 Loretto sisters were interned with other religious. Then, with the government change in 1949, school enrollment dwindled as many families emigrated. At the same time, operating in China was becoming increasingly difficult. In 1952 the last U.S. sisters who had arrived 30 years before reluctantly left their beloved second home.
To read all the articles in the Fall 2023 issue of Loretto Magazine, click here.