How We Spent Our Summer Vacation
By Sofia Almanzan and Sofia Cortez, Loretto Academy students, El Paso The Motherhouse trip was an amazing experience. We realized that the reason we came home so amazed was because of the people that surrounded us on this trip. The teachers, the girls, the campers and most importantly the sisters all had an effect on why we had such an unforgettable experience.
The teachers were very kind and genuine people. One of the best parts of our day was reflection time and getting to tell the teachers the highlights of our day. The teachers kept telling us that they were proud of us and encouraged us to keep giving all of ourselves to the people around us. They kept telling us that we were incredible kids, and that is a remarkable feeling. One of the teachers wore a T-shirt that said, “empowered women empower women”; this shirt was very true, and we saw it throughout the week. One of the coordinators was a Loretto Volunteer. She explained to us that these groups of people live in different cities and work for non-profit groups after college. This program is something that we all now will consider doing because we have grown fond of the Loretto Community and all it does.
The girls were extremely sweet people. They made us feel a part of a group that was actually making a difference. They were very open and accepting people. They were always happy and constantly cracking smiles on our faces. We cannot explain how great it felt to feel so welcome and loved. The campers reminded us of what it was like to be a kid and how genuinely happy we would get over the simplest of things. It was extremely saddening to have to see them go back to the rough lives they lead, but we were grateful that we were able to make even one of those kid’s day.Most importantly we are inspired to lead the kind of lives these sisters lead. Most of them have lived all over the country. They work very hard for social justice issues. We had the pleasure of meeting amazing sisters — one marched at Selma, one lived in Bolivia for more than 30 years, one got shot at while living in Chile and one had been the president of our high school. Some of us met sisters who already knew who we were because they were our mothers’ teachers when they went to school at Loretto Academy. An incredible experience was celebrating sisters’ birthdays who were turning 102 and 101 years of age. One of the days some of us got to go fishing with the residents from the Infirmary. Helping them fish and seeing the pure joy on their faces was so heart-warming. More than 20 residents came out to fish and have a picnic, wheelchairs and all. Seeing how energized and outgoing these sisters were pushed us to do better work and to bring that hard work back home with us.
All of these sisters have had a huge impact on the world around them and have led astounding lives. These sisters have taught us to be kind but to never stop fighting for the people who need it, to never stop helping people and to have fun in the process. All of these virtues are instilled in the Loretto Community as a whole. The Sisters of Loretto were founded in 1812. Throughout the 205 years that the Sisters of Loretto have existed all members of this amazing Community have devoted their lives to helping others and speaking out for what’s right.We would never in a million years have expected the experience we received from the people that we met. This indeed is an experience that you cannot just read about and find it amazing: You need to experience it. These teachers, girls, campers and sisters have changed the way we want to live our lives, and we are all extremely grateful for that.