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Education

The founding members – Mary Rhodes, Christina Stuart, and Ann Havern – recognized that young women needed a good education. Since 1812, Loretto teachers have educated generations of students across the United States and around the world in China, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Pakistan.

The Sisters of Loretto are educators. When the Second Vatican Council urged women religious to address the needs of the times, sisters began to select ministries tailored to their specific talents. Today, Loretto members carry out their mission of education in many ways when they advocate for justice, work for peace and protect Earth.


“After arranging an exchange for my inner-city students to rural Tennessee, I began work during the summers in the isolated coal-field community of Clairfield, Tenn. I felt passionately the need to empower students to research issues, examine their own values and develop their own critical thinking.”

Maureen O’Connell, SL

Loretto staffed parochial and diocesan schools and established their own academies and two colleges, Webster College (now Webster University) in St. Louis in 1916 and Loretto Heights College in Denver in 1891.  Many of the locations were on the frontier. Loretto’s educational tradition spread around the world, most recently in Pakistan.

The tradition of education continues today at four Loretto-affiliated schools in the United States:

Havern School

Two Havern students playing

Havern School is an independent, nonprofit elementary and middle school for bright students with learning disabilities in the Denver area. Founded by the Sisters of Loretto in 1966, the school is located on the same campus as the Loretto Denver Offices.

Nerinx Hall High School

A Catholic, college-preparatory high school in St. Louis, founded on the belief that educated, caring and empowered young women are essential to our world. Core to its philosophy is the belief that women must know themselves and their world, that diversity enriches and trust empowers, and that we are called to deliberate Christian action.

Loretto Academy

Loretto Academy is an independent, Catholic institution (Pre-K3 to 12; Pre-K3 – 5 co-ed, 6-12 only girls) in El Paso committed to developing the whole child, mind and spirit. Founded by the Sisters of Loretto in 1923 as a celebration of faith in God’s love for us, the Academy, rooted in its rich heritage, continues today as a strong response to that love.

St. Mary’s Academy

Metro Denver’s premier Catholic, independent school offering rigorous academics in its co-ed lower and middle schools, and its high school for girls. St. Mary’s Academy offers a safe, yet innovative program that embraces all student backgrounds, and fosters character and moral development from junior kindergarten to graduation.

All our Loretto-affiliated schools hold and teach the same four core values:

  • Faith: Building hope, fostering community and acting in charity and service through the enduring love of God.
  • Community: Building relationships that are affirming, inclusive, empowering and compassionate.
  • Justice: Promoting changes to eliminate oppression, and creating systems and relationships in which people, especially women, are treated fairly and impartially.
  • Respect: Being open to differences, and believing in each person’s potential. Promoting the dignity of individuals, and protecting the sacredness of all creation.