A letter from Loretto President Barbara Nicholas SL
Recently, I received a letter from a fifth grader at St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood, Colo. I’ll call her Bridget. “I love helping others, drawing and building things to help people,” Bridget wrote. “I like being a Loretto Leader because I get to meet more of our community and I get to help others. I was wondering what you have done or do to show leadership. Also, what advice would you give me for being a better Loretto Leader?”
My first reaction was an amazed, “Wow.” I could never have thought to write such a letter when I was 10 going on 11. A second thought followed: “Well, if Regina Drey SL had been my teacher and model of leadership, perhaps ….” Regina serves in the role of director of Loretto projects at St. Mary’s. There she brings to students, faculty and staff insights into Loretto values. Regina lives and demonstrates these values in all her interactions, including inviting fourth and fifth graders, who serve as Loretto Leaders, to write letters to our Community members seeking their perspectives on leadership. Loretto Leaders is a program Regina directs that recognizes students who demonstrate Loretto values of faith, community, justice and respect.
When I wrote to Bridget, I described some occasions when, as an oncology nurse, I had the responsibility for patients who were dealing with many aspects of a cancer diagnosis and the rigors of treatment. Sometimes they posed questions that invited me to respond with clarity and information. Sometimes the only response was to linger, together holding the imponderable question. Sometimes I recognized that a call to the oncologist held the best hope of bringing some satisfaction and relief to the patient. Knowing what to say, when to be quiet and when to seek counsel — these are moments when it seems to me that qualities of leadership helped me. My advice to the student was, “Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help.”
It might be fun to act like a fifth grader and write a letter to someone asking them to share their thoughts on leadership. What are some of the qualities of leadership that you value in yourself?
In the meantime, I’m confident that you will enjoy meeting Loretto people whose stories are presented in this issue. Perhaps unintentionally, each has revealed the qualities of leadership that Bridget seeks to understand. Let’s continue to bless each other with gratitude and appreciation for lives well lived.
Barbara Nicholas SL
President of Loretto
To read all the articles in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Loretto Magazine, click here.