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Loretto Motherhouse Farm

The Loretto Community has been a steward of the 788-acre Motherhouse property since 1824. Currently, the Motherhouse property includes a working farm, woods, wildflower fields in conservation and cow pastureland.

A herd of cattle grazes on a hillside.
Photo by Angela Rakes

The current farm engages two full-time farmers, Cody Rakes and Trent Farmer, in raising commodity crops, managing a cow-calf operation that supplies the grass-finished beef program, and supervising various conservation practices. We have engaged in government-supported conservation practices for about 40 years, principally the Timber Stand Improvement Program, establishment of riparian buffers, and implementing cover crops and rotational grazing. In 2012, 75 acres of land were enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and were planted in hardwoods, pollinator habitat and native grasses. We continue to monitor these areas.

Local farmers sit on a hayride wagon while listening to a presentation on managing cattle pastures from a specialist from the University of Kentucky.
Photo by Angela Rakes

Along with being a working farm, the Loretto Motherhouse Farm prides itself on being a demonstration and educational farm. Throughout the year, we host farmer field days, school-age students, and groups from the local community and beyond.

Three goals guide the work of the Motherhouse through its Farm and Land Committee: to protect undisturbed spaces, to regenerate degraded spaces, and to mitigate and reduce carbon emissions. 

We seek to live humbly on land made good by its Creator. We accept the privilege to live in responsible relationship with the land and with all of life. We commit ourselves to being shaped by the beauty and harmony of the Universe.

Support the Loretto Motherhouse Farm

The Loretto Motherhouse Farm produces grass-finished beef and a variety of produce, which is available to those who are local to (or will be visiting) the Motherhouse for pick-up. The Farm also has a line of apparel available for purchase that can be shipped directly to you.

Summary of Loretto Motherhouse Property

  • Woods – 322 acres
  • Lakes (3) – 23 acres
  • Crop land (currently in corn and soybeans) – 188 acres
  • Pasture land (approx. 45 cows, 35 calves) – 174 acres
  • Native grasses – CRP 36 acres
  • Wildflowers – CRP 17 acres
  • Total Farm and Land – 760 acres
  • Buildings, residences – 28 acres
  • Loretto Motherhouse total property – 788 acres

Land Ethic

The Loretto Community Land Ethic, a statement of values affirmed by the entire Community in 2006, recognizes land as a gift and sign of God and expresses our commitment to tend the land in such a way that “all life is enhanced and protected, and that the variety of ecosystems is sustained.”

Religious communities rooted in Kentucky have created a video of stories about caring for Earth for this year’s “Season of Creation: Walking Together.” The video highlights positive actions these communities (Dominican Sisters of Peace, Loretto Community, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, and Sisters of Charity of Nazareth) are taking to care for Earth.

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