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Loretto Co-membership Celebrates 50 Years!

Posted on September 20, 2020, by Loretto Community

Multi-colored woven cloth with a colorful tree in the middle. Text around the image reads "Loretto. It takes a community."

On Aug. 15, the Loretto Community celebrated the 50th anniversary of co-membership. Begun in 1970, Loretto co-membership has provided a way for those who share Loretto values of community, spirituality and mission to “work for justice and act for peace.”

“Alone, I am but one voice, one small person, trying to make a difference in the world, or in my corner of it. As a member of the Loretto Community, my voice can be joined with so many others to form a loud chorus. … I have grown to love and to respect this Community more deeply than I would have thought possible, and I would be honored to be a part of its future, in whatever form that may be.”

Leslee moore

Loretto co-members come from various backgrounds and are not restricted to membership by religion, race or gender. They are involved in all aspects of Loretto (except where limited by canon law). Whether attending workshops, retreats, social justice actions or committee meetings (now on Zoom!), Loretto co-members are active in working for justice and acting for peace.

“Loretto is a Community of spiritually rooted nonviolent activists and I want to be part of that Community. It is a Community where my personal spirituality can deepen in harmony with people who share my values.”

Byron Plumley

To become a co-member, an individual usually spends between two to five years in the “co-membership process.” The process consists of an in-depth study of the spirituality, mission and Community values of Loretto and of its history, usually in small groups; attendance at Loretto events, workshops and spirituality retreats; and an internship on one or more of Loretto’s committees; all with the support of a Loretto “contact person” who journeys with the candidate throughout her or his co-membership process. A serious commitment of time, talent and treasure is asked of co-members. This pdf has more info about the co-membership process.

In honor of this 50th anniversary, Eleanor Craig SL and Neil Tucker CoL interviewed Loretto members throughout the country. The dedication, commitment and gratitude of co-members is made evident in this excerpt from those interviews:

Therese Stawowy, Judy Ford and Jeanine Swift, former Loretto sisters, were the first individuals accepted into co-membership. Therese, the only living co-member of these first three co-members, shared a reflection at Loretto’s Aug. 15 celebration on her experience as a Loretto co-member for the past 50 years. 

For an overview of the co-membership program, check out Loretto Co-member Mary Seematter’s “One Community: A History of Loretto Co-membership.” 

Visit the Loretto co-membership page for more helpful information. 

At the Community’s 50th anniversary celebration of the Loretto Co-membership Program, President Barbara Nicholas S.L. offered these thoughts:


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We are Sisters and Co-members who strive to bring the healing spirit of God into our world.
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Loretto welcomes you

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