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2024 Jubilarians

Posted on June 11, 2024, by Loretto Community

80th Jubilee

70th Jubilee

65th Jubilee

50th – Golden Jubilee

25th – Silver Jubilee

80th Jubilee

Kathleen Tighe SL

Kathleen Tighe was received into Loretto on April 25, 1944, following the vocation call of her five siblings: Lucina, Alice Eugene, Ann Virginia, Carolyn Mary and Helen. Her family’s years of service to the Church and the world total 389 years and counting! 

In 1976, Sister Kathleen took part in the Loretto Third World Experience, serving in Majuro in the Marshall Islands. Afterward, her mission work took her to the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., as both a student and in the field of education.

Sister Kathleen (then known as Sister Venard) began her ministry service in Denver. She then taught for the next few years in Illinois and Missouri before returning to Colorado to teach in Colorado Springs. In 1958 she earned a bachelor’s degree in music, with a minor in piano, from Webster University, St. Louis. She taught in St. Louis at Nerinx Hall High School in 1959, with another year there as principal, and then was  principal at Loretto Academy High School in Kansas City, Mo., for four more years. In 1964, Sister Kathleen earned a master’s in education from DePaul University in Chicago. Her master’s supported her work at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles and Holy Family Parish in South Pasadena, Calif., as a piano teacher.

Sister Kathleen has served in senior citizen housing and as a creator of the Loretto Spirituality Network. She served on the Loretto staff, retiring in 2000 in Danville, Calif., where she and her housemate, Loretto Sister Kay Lane, developed an extended Loretto community that prayed and celebrated together. Sister Kathleen and Sister Kay moved to Kentucky in 2013. Sister Kay died in 2020. Sister Kathleen resides at Loretto Living Center on the grounds of the Motherhouse, where she loves to listen to classical music and read stories, particularly some of the classics. She said she loves “to hear a good story, and I love telling my stories about Loretto.” Last but not least, Sister Kathleen noted, “I enjoy having visitors.” All are welcome!

70th Jubilee

Pat McCormick SL

Short haired women with glasses in a blue sweater, smiling, and holding a vase of pink and white flowers.

Pat recently answered a few questions about her years in the Loretto Congregation:

Q. Looking back, was joining the Congregation what you thought it would be?

No, it was richer than I thought it would be. I knew I was joining a Community dedicated to formal education, but I didn’t expect to be given so many opportunities to learn as well as to educate.

Q. As you reflect on various mission experiences, which one brought out your gifts? Tell us why you chose one and what gifts you used.

I volunteered for our Latin American mission in 1965. Studies in an Intercultural Center in Cuernavaca, Mexico, opened a new world of Latin American culture as well as exposure to U.S. foreign policies and historical imperialism by my own country. As a Loretto Community in La Paz, Bolivia, we discussed and were influenced by the Vatican II document, “The Church in the Modern World.”  We shared educational pedagogy by engaging in team-teaching with our Bolivian teachers. We were in regular communication with our U.S. Loretto leadership as we struggled about the future of our Loretto ministry in La Paz.

Q. What aspects of belonging to Loretto have meant most to you?

Friendships, learning and acting upon what I have learned and communal decision-making. I am grateful for faith-filled liturgies and our commitment to be modified as we listen and speak with one another.

Margaret Quayhagen SL

An older Sister of Loretto is seen smiling in front of a neutral backdrop with a plant next to her. She has grey an brown curly hair, silver earrings, rectangular glasses and a bright pink turtleneck.

When I, Margaret, entered Loretto 70 years ago I had been told what joining the convent would be like, but giving up a young man I cared deeply for was far more difficult than I had imagined it would be. As a result, I had many agonizing decisions to make regarding whether to leave or to stay, but each time I felt that God was calling me.  Another challenge was at the House of Studies when I realized I did not want to teach. This career conflict was resolved when I was switched to the healthcare field.

Through higher education my gifts were brought out by the combination of my clinical research and clinical practice in psychology and neuropsychology. As a licensed clinical psychologist I related easily with people and had an uncanny predictive ability to help them find creative solutions to their issues.  Combining my clinical research skills with those of my twin sister, I co-developed a creative cognitive stimulation program for spouses dealing with early stage dementia, with subsequent grants awarded multi years of funding from the National Institutes of Health. Through publications and presentations of the findings, other researchers nationally and internationally have been able to adapt and expand our work, creating a legacy we treasure and also the resultant “path finder” designation. In retirement I directed my expertise to an outreach program to help others.

As a Sister of Loretto I am grateful for the Catholic Mass and ability to receive the Eucharist almost daily. I really appreciate renewing friendships in readjusting to community life and the peacefulness and beauty of nature found here in Kentucky. I am grateful to Loretto for allowing me the wonderful opportunity to pursue both higher education and my professional career amid the spectacular beauty in California and Colorado. Having lived and worked in several states I have been able to know and appreciate the richness that both vowed and co-members are continuing to give to the Loretto community by sharing the same values and commitment to God.

Agnes Ann Schum SL

Agnes Ann reflected on her time in Loretto:  “When I came to Loretto all I wanted to do was be here and do whatever needed to be done. I didn’t have a notion [of what it would be like]. I wanted to be one of the sisters because they seemed to be happy. I just lived my life doing the next right thing. No expectations other than to do what I was supposed to be doing, and I didn’t know what that was, so I couldn’t be disappointed.”

Reflecting on which mission experiences brought out her gifts, she notes, “There were two things, working in Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder’s office. It helped me know that I could help other people seek the justice that they needed. I could use my seeking for justice for someone else and that was important.” She adds, “My experience in Africa was life-changing in the sense that I went to learn from other people. It opened my eyes to all kinds of things and really broadened my vision.”

When asked what aspects of belonging to Loretto meant the most to her, Sister Agnes Ann didn’t hesitate in her reply: community, spirituality and seeking justice.

65th Jubilee

Denise Ann Clifford SL

Happy 65th Jubilee to Loretto Sister Denise Ann Clifford! Sister Denise Ann was received into Loretto May 24, 1959.

Interviewing her on the occasion of an earlier jubilee a few years back, Denise Ann noted that music was her “hobby,” and that it had been a part of her service everywhere she had lived. Directing children’s choirs and working with the adults in the parish had given her delight, she said. (In her humbleness, what she wouldn’t say was how her lovely voice has delighted all who have had the chance to hear it these many years!)

Denise Ann had called her longtime work in the Loretto Development Office with donors who believe in the Loretto mission “a joy,” adding, “I have come to realize the impact and value of Loretto education through the years.” After many years of living in Denver, Sister Denise Ann now lives at Loretto Motherhouse.

Jeanne Dueber SL

Photo of an older woman with short grey hair smiling, she's wearing a black t-shirt with a colorful patterned design on the front and a black and white flannel over it.

Mary Swain writes the following about Sister Jeanne: “Jeanne’s gifts were evident from the beginning. She taught high school art for several years. In working with the girls she and they sometimes made sculptures for the school. But Jeanne found her place in 1978 when she moved to Loretto Motherhouse to create art. Jeanne worked full time as a sculptor. She restored the first floor of Rhodes Hall, the 1834 academy building, for her studio. Sister Alban House worked with her in the restoration, Alban many years older than Jeanne. Then the second floor, which had been a dormitory, became the gallery where Jeanne exhibited her work. Jeanne was one of the founding members of ENID, a group of women in Kentucky who are sculptors.

“A renowned sculptor and multimedia artist, Jeanne is known for using natural materials to explore spirituality, faith and the human figure. She has shown her work in more than 100 exhibitions across the United States.”

Roberta Hudlow SL

Happy 65th Jubilee to Loretto Sister Roberta Hudlow! 

Asked if joining the Loretto Congregation was what she thought it would be, Roberta answered, “I knew more about the Congregation than many other people.” She had a life that was closer to the Sisters of Loretto having gone to Loretto Academy High School in Kansas City, Mo., where she was a boarder. She knew somewhat to expect, but added she was terrified they’d throw her out! According to Roberta, this was a fear multiple novices shared at the beginning of their time in the Congregation. What changed for Roberta was during Christmas time, Helen Jean Seidel SL asked her to make Christmas Nativity scenes. Roberta remembers she asked Helen Jean a question, and when Helen Jean answered she placed a hand on Roberta’s shoulder that was so gentle and kind that Roberta instantly thought, “I’ll be okay!” Roberta reflects, “I’ve never forgotten it, that one touch changed my entire attitude/perspective.”  

Roberta said as for her various mission experiences, teaching art to students made her feel alive. She thinks fondly of her students and how creative they were. She remembers one year the school she worked at in Alabama was given huge rolls of paper from the Toolin Paper Co. in all different colors. “When it came time for kids to run for office they’d have the biggest signs in the world!” Roberta said she was a child-centered teacher who wasn’t afraid to say “thank you” to her students. “Children need to be respected. Teaching little kids really teaches you how to teach; mostly it’s about loving and respecting kids. I’m so grateful that I got to do it.” She also very much enjoyed working at The Focal Point in Webster Groves, Mo., and getting to coordinate wonderful shows from musicians all over the U.S. and the British Isles. When time permitted, she did drawings of the musicians while they played. Her artwork decorated the store walls.

What aspects of belonging to Loretto have meant the most to her? Roberta said, “The people of Loretto. Sometimes I think ‘My God!’ I’m sitting in a room of Ph.D.s, MAs and wonderful amazing teachers. Getting to live with Emmanuel Tonne SL, Helen Jean, Sarah (Sodelbia) Hughes SL, living with some of these people that I just adored, having private French classes with Helen Sanders SL, spending time with Jean Kelley SL, etc.”

Eileen Kersgieter SL

Short haired woman with glasses in white collared shirt, navy flannel, and gold cross necklace smiling for a headshot.

Happy 65th jubilee to Loretto Sister Eileen Kersgieter! Sister Eileen was received May 24, 1959. 

For the past several years, Sister Eileen has resided at Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky. Among her many accomplishments, she served on the Loretto Executive Committee from 1990-94. Music was her great love, and she had worked at schools and in the community in liturgy for many years. Sister Eileen also was known for loving to read and doing puzzles of all kinds. 

Loretto Sister Sharon Kassing and the Loretto Archives staff graciously provided information on behalf of Eileen: From the newspaper South Side Journal (1988) we learn that Eileen taught for four years in a Catholic grade school. There she met the Sisters of Loretto and later entered the Community. She became principal of St. Pius V School in 1968, where she stayed until 1988. Eileen then left Pius V to become the coordinator of the Motherhouse. At the time of that assignment, she had said with a laugh, “I’ll be dealing with cattle instead of children.” Eileen had mixed feelings about leaving teaching, but she had felt it was the right decision.

Sharon wrote, “The one thing I’m always most impressed with is that anytime I see someone from St. Pius V Parish (in St. Louis), whose kids we taught, the first thing they say is, ‘How’s Sr. Eileen?’ They always want to know about her welfare. Her interaction with parents and students always walked the line between principal/boss and advocate/friend of both kids and parents. And they appreciated it, kids and parents. They knew two things without fail: She was in charge and she was fair, with their best interests at heart. That’s not a bad reputation to have.”

Vicki Schwartz SL

Vicki answered the following questions about her experience in the Loretto Congregation:

Q. Looking back at your life in Loretto, was joining the Congregation what you thought it would be?   

A. I don’t remember having a very detailed notion of what life in Loretto would be for me. I do remember wanting to be like the Sisters who taught me at Nerinx Hall, especially their happiness and their care for each other. I didn’t realize how much I would love my life in Loretto, nor did I know how much encouragement and support would be given to me, nor did I know how much I would love teaching, nor did I know the depth of my commitment to Loretto.

Q. As you reflect on your various mission experiences, which one brought out your gifts? 

That’s a hard one for me to answer, because I very much appreciated my life as teacher and later as high school principal at Loretto Academy in El Paso, as well as my life as Director of Development at Huckleberry Youth Programs in San Francisco. At Loretto Academy I developed leadership and administrative skills, mostly through my observation of the Sisters among us who had those skills. At Huckleberry I developed fundraising skills, mostly through my observation of co-workers who had those skills. Also I learned that folks who worked at non-profits had the same depth of commitment as members of religious communities. In both positions, I had much help in developing those talents.

Q. What aspects of belonging to Loretto that are most meaningful?  

What’s meant the most to me is the sense of community. I don’t worry about the future, because, no matter what happens, we will have each other. I know deeply we will always be there for each other.

Marlene Spero SL

An older woman smiles for a camera on a sunny day outside. She is wearing rounded glasses and a bright pastel checkered shirt with embroidered flower details on it.

Marlene answered the following questions about her experience in the Loretto Congregation:

Q. Looking back at your life in Loretto, was joining the Congregation what you thought it would be?   

Yes, I think so. I wanted to be a teacher since I had some great Loretto teachers in high school and was pleased that I was asked what area I’d like to study. I responded that I hoped my area of study would be chemistry since that was a favorite subject of mine and I was able to take courses at Webster College (now University) and St. Louis University to complete my bachelors degree. After teaching a few years I received a National Science Foundation grant to the University of Northern Iowa to get a master’s degree. Other aspects of life in Loretto like living in community and learning what the three vows actually meant in practice was not anticipated but when we learned what was expected of us during our formation period it all made sense and wasn’t a cause for concern.

Q. As you reflect on your various mission experiences, which one brought out your gifts? 

I think each mission experience brought out gifts that were unique to the situation. When Loretto Heights College closed and I retired from teaching chemistry, I was offered the chance to develop a program using computers with learning disabled students at Havern School in Littleton, Colo. This teaching experience needed gifts of creativity and flexibility to create a curriculum for elementary school students whose learning challenges were unique. Technology in education was just beginning to be part of the elementary school curriculum and adapting it to this special group of students was an exciting and rewarding experience.

Q. What aspects of belonging to Loretto that are most meaningful?  

I’ve loved working with wonderful, dedicated people who have diverse interests, talents and personalities but share the same Loretto values. I’ve enjoyed every place I’ve lived and worked and I hope to have many more days to enjoy the folks in my life currently and into the future, however long that may be.

Mary Swain SL

Q. Looking back at your life in Loretto, was joining the Congregation what you thought it would be?  

I don’t know what I thought joining the Congregation would be. For many of us, knowing the sisters who taught us at Nerinx Hall caused us to think: I could do that, too.

Q. As you reflect on your various mission experiences, which one brought out your gifts? 

I taught two years in Denver and seven in Louisville. Our school closed in Louisville and I was asked about working in the treasurer’s office of the Sisters of Loretto. I was a math teacher and had no accounting experience, but the work was done by hand then so I could follow the pattern. I came to the treasurer’s office at the Motherhouse when I was 33. I was appointed treasurer when I was 38 in 1978. I was treasurer until the end of 2012. I was secure in being treasurer; I was not afraid or scared. Thus, I was comfortable working with the community members on financial issues and needs.

Q. What aspects of belonging to Loretto that are most meaningful?  

Living in Loretto has been my life. I am glad I am in the community. There are no “aspects” that mean the most to me. It’s my life. It is a life in God and with people.

50th – Golden Jubilee

Mary Bundy CoL

An older woman smiles close to the camera, she has grey wavy hair that frames her face, as well as metal round glasses, dangly earrings and a red t-shirt.

Mary writes, “When asked to reflect on three questions at this time of 50 years as a co-member, for some reason a line from Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” popped into my thoughts. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by.  And that has made all the difference.” I was a temporarily vowed Sister when in 1974 I received a letter from Helen Sanders asking me for my thoughts about making final vows. Here were the two paths diverging for me in my life. I elected co-membership as the best fit for me and it has made all the difference for my life. I remained connected with the Community while I pursued nursing studies, began a career in public health nursing, and raised my son. In time I was able to participate more actively, i.e. travel to meetings, work on a Committee (LACC) and be a Community Perspective Committee (CPC) rep for Community Group 21.  Zoom wasn’t on the scene until recently!

“I would say my best mission experience was my decision to be a Public Health Nurse. I brought services to migrant labor camps, into people’s homes and in clinics for the uninsured. My gifts are sensitivity to diversity, listening, creativity, educating one on one, advocacy and fluency in the Spanish language. My work provided me with the privilege of working with large numbers of the immigrant population in Delaware.

“What about belonging to Loretto means the most? So many things come to mind. I have such gratitude to Loretto for my education in the last years of high school, college and novitiate formation in an exciting time of great change. Loretto gave me the opportunity to teach for two years and to travel to our mission house in Chile during a most significant time in Chilean history. It has meant a lot to me to be a Community member for such a long time. A shared history is a great gift. Belonging to a Community, wonderful companions/friends is my treasure.”

25th – Silver Jubilee

Libby Comeaux CoL

An older woman with shoulder length brown and grey hair smiles as she wears rectangular framed glasses, a black shirt underneath a blue striped collared shirt.

Q. Looking back at your life in Loretto, was becoming a co-member what you thought it would be?

No! I thought I would be spending lots of time with elders, more or less sitting at their feet soaking up their spiritual wisdom and caring for them in one way or another. Instead they put me to work!

Q. What aspects of belonging to Loretto have meant the most to you?

I have learned so much and shifted so many limiting beliefs by participating in the mission work of Loretto. Without the education I received by walking alongside these spiritual and activist mentors, I would never have developed capacities that lay dormant throughout my paid professional work. The challenge to become a spiritually mature member of a community of faith was just what I needed.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add?

It’s been a whole lot of fun.

JoAnn Gates CoL

A white older woman with short grey hair smiles for the camera on a stoop outside a cabin. She's wearing large blue cat eye glasses, dangly earrings and a black outfit.

JoAnn answered the following questions about her experience in the Loretto Congregation:

Q. Looking back at your life in Loretto, was becoming a co-member what you thought it would be?

I truly can’t remember what I thought co-membership in Loretto would be. While I was very invested in the co-membership process, I’m sure I didn’t imagine how involved in the Community I would eventually become. I know I didn’t think that in just over three years I would be living at the Motherhouse, and while I probably hoped that some day I would work at Knobs Haven, I’m sure I didn’t think it would become a reality in just five years.

Q. What aspects of belonging to Loretto have meant the most to you?

Without a doubt, it’s the relationships I have with so many smart, wise, funny, gifted, strong, committed and — yes — quirky women and men that mean the most to me. Loretto has stretched and challenged me in many and various ways, and I’m so grateful for the opportunities and individuals that have helped me become who I believe I am meant to be. 

Q. Anything else you’d like to add? – Thank you, Loretto.

Karen Knoll CoL

An older woman smiling on a sunny day. She is wearing a silver headband with her grey hair pulled back, tortoise shell glasses, dangly earrings, a blue shirt and long blue beaded necklace.

Karen shares, “I was fortunate to know several Loretto co-members before I made my commitment. My aunt (Sister Margaret Rose aka Sister Ann Mark) was a Loretto vowed member. I would visit her over the years and when she retired to the Motherhouse I visited annually and found many like minded friends there. 

“Belonging to Loretto opened my eyes and my heart to ways of being of service to others. They challenged me in many ways and provided me with the experience of living and working on the Navajo reservation, where I fell in love with New Mexico and the Native American people. The sharing I am currently able to do with the food pantry on the Jemez Pueblo, and the soup kitchen at the Francis House Catholic Worker in Albuquerque would not be possible without the moral and financial support of the Loretto Community.” 

“The basic desire to be united in love with God, with one another, with all people, and with all creation shapes this community of faith.”  

IATW #20

Alicia Zapata CoL

An older woman with a short grey bob smiles for a more formal photo. She's wearing a bright blue textured sweater, small hoop earrings an glasses.

Alicia had this to say about her experience with Loretto Co-membership: “Twenty-five years ago, I was looking for a mind-broadening experience. I was able to avail myself of that experience in attending the assemblies, reading the materials and other information that was made available and attending the community group discussion when possible. I found that those experiences opened new vistas for me and helped increase my desire for deeper learning. It has been both an intellectual and spiritual growth. Being a vowed member of the Sisters of Mercy and a Loretto co-member has enriched my life in a manner I could not have imagined twenty-five years ago.

“Belonging is the operative work in the second question. I have always been proud of my connection to Loretto and have felt that sense of belonging in a profound way. The Community has always been one of open arms.”


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