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Co-membership: Forging a singular path for 50 years

Posted on February 28, 2020, by Loretto Community

Co-membership began as a means for those who were deeply connected to Loretto to have an alternative, non-canonical way of formally belonging to the Community.

Lisa Reynolds CoL
Sharon Kassing listens as Sonja Novo talks
Sharon Kassing SL and Sonja Novo CoL

In my role as the co-membership coordinator, I am blessed to get to know the co-members-in-process. To share with these individuals our love of Loretto, its members and its values, to do readily what is asked because our commitment is so deep, to walk in the mystery of being a part of something that is often hard to define but clearly felt as a calling or connection beyond words, are nothing less, in my mind, than a divine gift.

Lisa Reynolds CoL
Three Loretto Co-members sit together
Pilar Gonzalez CoL at left with La Sagrada Familia sisters from Guatemala
Byron Plumley CoL and George McShea CoL

Loretto’s mission is … increasingly [carried on] by others who share Loretto life, spirit, and values. Co-members have for years served on the Loretto staff and as teachers and principals at Loretto-sponsored schools, committee members, edu-cators, center coordinators, forum members, retreat center directors. They have led peace and justice efforts, have represented Loretto at the UN, have been Loretto’s face in Latin America.

Cecily Jones SL
Four co-members stand together at a Loretto Assembly
Co-members Kaye Edwards, Jessie Rathburn, Mary Jean Friel and Rosa Lizarde

Co-membership history

• In 1970, professed sisters vote to approve a new form of community membership for lay people at the General Assembly in August. Two former sisters become the first co-members.
• In 1971, two sisters receive dispensation from their vows (one from another order), and became co-members.
• By the end of 1973, Loretto had welcomed 18 co-members, including the first lay co-member and the first male co-member.
• In 1977, Loretto approved the creation of an official co-member process and the appointment of a co-membership director to oversee the process.

Today Lisa Reynolds, a Loretto co-member, acts as Co-membership Coordinator. There are 195 co-members.
Thanks to Eleanor Craig SL and Mary Seematter CoL, whose material was used for research and backgound information.


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Loretto welcomes you

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