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Susanna Pyatt

Susanna Pyatt is the director of the Loretto Heritage Center. A graduate of Western Kentucky University's Folk Studies program, she geeks out over American communal societies, historic buildings, and the artifacts of daily life.
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12 Days of Christmas in the Archives

By Susanna Pyatt / December 25, 2023 /
Teenage girls in shimmering dresses dance on stage with two large rings as props.

Happy holidays! It is once again time for the Heritage Center’s annual “12 Days of Christmas” spree. If you did not follow along on our Facebook page, all of the…

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Happy National Archives Month: A glimpse behind the scenes at the Loretto Heritage Center

By Susanna Pyatt / October 16, 2023 /
Three women sit in an office meeting room sorting papers.

Happy National Archives Month! The archive for the Loretto Community is housed in the Loretto Heritage Center at the Motherhouse. Heritage Center staff wear many hats in doing archival work.…

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5×5 Sister-Sisters

By Susanna Pyatt / August 28, 2023 /
Archived newspaper clipping showing a family posing for a photo around the piano. There are five women in one style of habit, one wearing a different type of habit, two men standing to the left of the photo and one older man sitting on the piano bench.

Browsing through Loretto’s database of Sisters and Co-members, it is fascinating to see how many members had blood relatives who also joined the community. Five family groupings in particular stand…

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Glimpses of Loretto’s Agricultural Past

By Susanna Pyatt / May 31, 2023 /
Black and white archival photo of two men standing by a large garden.

While the Loretto Heritage Center contains a lot of archival papers that document Loretto’s past, one aspect that is difficult to see in the archives is the history of agriculture…

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“Related to Many in the Society”

By Susanna Pyatt / April 6, 2023 /
Three-by-three collage of nine nuns, eight of which are in habits. The most recent photo is the woman in the lower right corner who is not in a habit and is in color.

A note in Sr. Matilda Drury’s file mentions that she was “related to many in the Society and in the priesthood.” Like the Bowling family highlighted in January’s LOREtto post,…

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Loretto and the Arts

By Susanna Pyatt / February 28, 2023 /
Students in an art class, standing at easels and painting portraits of a man smoking a pipe.

The Sisters of Loretto were founded in 1812 with a mission of teaching, but what were their schools like? To answer one aspect of this question, an upcoming exhibit at…

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Loretto donates historic painting to museum

By Susanna Pyatt / February 17, 2023 /

Loretto recently donated a major piece of art, Miguel Cabrera’s painting, “Our Lady of Light,” to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art (MOSCA) in Santa Fe, N.M. This painting had…

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Tracing the Bowling Family

By Susanna Pyatt / January 31, 2023 /
Photo collage of 14 habited nuns, all sharing a family resemblance.

It’s not uncommon to find Sisters of Loretto who are biologically related to each other, usually as sisters, cousins, or aunts and nieces. Heritage Center staff may find these connections…

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Sister Gabriel Mary’s Artwork

By Susanna Pyatt / November 29, 2022 /
A smiling woman stands in a silkscreening workshop, holding up a beautiful print of pinks, reds and white.

Guess which artist is most represented in the Loretto Heritage Center? Sister Gabriel Mary Hoare! We have over 70 works by her in the collections here. People who have been…

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The Spalding Women and Loretto

By Susanna Pyatt / October 24, 2022 /
Mid-1800's Portrait of a woman in a buttoned-up dress with a lace collar. Her hair is pulled up with a wide ribbon.

Loretto numbers among its early students and Sisters several descendants of Benedict Spalding (1746-1815), one of the leaders of the Maryland-to-Kentucky Catholic migration. Benedict’s wife and children accompanied him in…

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Loretto’s Years in Arkansas, 1838-1845

By Susanna Pyatt / June 7, 2022 /
Black and white archival photo of a white wooden church with a bell tower and dark roof. Headstones can be seen in the foreground.

Despite the fact that Loretto established three different schools in Arkansas, they all vie for some of the shortest-lived Loretto houses. None lasted more than four years. They were all…

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A History Mystery

By Susanna Pyatt / April 27, 2022 /
Framed oil painting by Frans Floris the Elder

Back in January, the Heritage Center staff were asked about an oil painting of the Epiphany that hangs in the Motherhouse Infirmary. This work, showing the three Magi visiting the…

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