50 years later: ‘The seeds have grown into strong, tall trees …’
We are daughters of Colegio Loretto; the seeds you planted in us are multiplying in our sons and daughters and our grandsons and granddaughters.From a presentation prepared by the class of 1972 for a visit to the Loretto Motherhouse in 2012
Sister Eva Marie Salas and I have kept in touch on and off over the years. In one of our correspondences, she said that she had helped plant 15,000 small trees around the Loretto Motherhouse. I responded:Ximena Ferguson
Evita, you said that planting 15,000 trees was very special to you. But long before you planted those trees, you, and the Sisters of Loretto, sowed many seeds in La Paz, Bolivia, and now those seeds have grown into strong, tall trees, with branches that extend high and wide around the world. We, your students, have been successful in life because of what we learned under your quiet and steady guidance. There is much for you to be happy about.
We did not know that the memories of our childhood would accompany us daily for the rest of our lives, but we are now daily grateful for having belonged to Colegio Loretto.Sandra Cecilia Ortiz Sanchez
It was the sisters who really made Loretto such a special place to grow up. They always encouraged us to be free-minded and to speak up for what’s right. We remember that they led by example, joining in demonstrations for political change in our country.Patricia Agramont Bascon
They were developing our future leaders! … Looking back at our many friends and classmates, we now see many exemplary women who have become leaders in politics, the arts, human rights and many other fields.
If there is a stage in my life that I keep in my heart and memory with great love, emotion, nostalgia and in a special way as something almost magical, it is my first years at Colegio Loretto.Cecilia Losantos Quiroga
Blooming through generations
All of us who passed our childhood and part of our youth in the school’s classrooms can be considered fortunate to have received an education with solid values to face life with a sense of responsibility, respect and solidarity. Loretto taught us to live in a dynamic world, be openminded and committed in our community. The spirit of Loretto has been always present in my daily life, within my family, work and friends. I learned that faith and religion are a matter of love and forgiveness, to give instead of receive, to seek for peace and justice. We have been taught to be independent women with full rights, active in our society and not afraid of challenges. I tried to educate my sons under these comprehensive and liberating concepts. I hope I have succeeded. I studied economics which led me to work with different institutions and organizations.Corina Murillo de Larrea
All my life I have participated as a volunteer and I still do in small projects in my town. We should keep and spread the philosophy of Loretto for a brighter and more peaceful world.
Always thankful and forever!’
Our sisters gave us great power and strength to go through the obstacles of life, facing adversity with courage, justice and love ….Lillian Lopez
In addition to my family, Loretto was the cradle of my training. There, I learned the values I retain to this day, especially those referring to my ideological orientation, my vision of the world and the meaning I give to each of the causes to which I have dedicated myself for more than 45 years. I consider myself a person forged in the classrooms of Loretto where I learned about the principles, commitments and values that I follow now. These are my beacon and my light.Jenny Ybarnegaray Ortiz
My life choices, starting with my professional career as a social psychologist, all the places where I worked for more than 35 years and my activism in what I call ‘just causes’ (particularly feminism), up to the present — they are all rooted in that period of my formation.
At Loretto I learned that I am not an isolate person, that I live in a society, that society is a group of people, with some more — and others less — favored by circumstances, their origin, the social class to which they belong, the opportunities that life offers them; I learned that circumstances are not equal for all.
I also learned that honesty is a principle of life that cannot be broken without consequence. That life becomes meaningful to the extent that one finds a purpose and, under the educational philosophy of the school, there can be no other than social justice and peace among peoples.’
Many of us have been involved … as political activists, in social work, or educating children with the principles that will pass on the legacy of social justice to the next generations.Jessie Vargas Maderholz
A legacy of compassion
My sister Rosemary Quiroga Arce, “Rosmy,” was the product of an education where women are protagonists of the changes in society. This small-in-stature, prominent anthropologist wearing her white coat spoke for the Indigenous people of our country. She has left her mark, fighting also to improve the education and the living conditions of the marginalized.Maria Eugenia Quiroga Arce
Rosmy is always present in our lives with her carvings in wood, her beautiful art pieces.
I think that it was Loretto which made the path for her, with ideals that allowed her to love life.
… my dedication to others for 32 years as a psychologist can be read as related to the principles of the educational philosophy of the school.Paula Benedict de Bellot
… I can say that [Colegio Loretto] has made a person who — in any place or situation — I am part of the solution and not the problem.Zoe Albarracin
With Sister Pat McCormick, a few of my classmates and I participated in social activism, took part in demonstrations against the government’s abuse of power and supported a hunger strike by women workers.Ximena Ferguson
We went to Indigenous communities to teach young mothers how to care for their children, and we volunteered in poor neighborhoods at the periphery of the city and in public schools.
We were determined to make a difference.
For assistance with this feature, thanks are due to Lupe Arciniega SL, Pat McCormick SL and Eva Marie Salas SL. Thank you to former Colegio Loretto students for sharing your memories and photos. Thank you to all of the Loretto sisters who served so selflessly and compassionately in South America.
Invaluable to compiling the article were Loretto publications: “A Century of Change 1912 – 2012: Loretto’s Second Century” and “Naming Our Truth: Stories of Loretto Women.”
Leave a Comment