Introducing the 2018-2019 Loretto Volunteers!
Thirteen Loretto Volunteers arrived Aug. 10 for their weeklong orientation at the Loretto Motherhouse.
As you already might know, Loretto Volunteers commit to a year of service working full time at social justice organizations in St. Louis, El Paso and Washington, D.C. They also dedicate their time outside of the workday to building community with each other and their local community, living simply and developing their spiritual life.
Because there is so much richness of history, wisdom and spirit to share, the Loretto Volunteer orientation is a rigorous week for these young people who have shown such interest and commitment to learning about and becoming a part of Loretto. But it is also designed to be a restorative and energizing week as the group learns, shares and grows in friendship and trust.
The presence of two former volunteers — Jes Stevens (2014-2015) and Hannah Dorfman (2016-2018) — were wonderful additions to this year’s orientation and retreat. Here are a few highlights from the week:
- a conversation on the multifaceted nature of Loretto activism with Eleanor Craig, Kathleen Vonderhaar, Maureen Smith, Eileen Custy, Pauline Albin, Maria Daniel and Judy Popp;
- a discussion on spirituality beside Mary’s Lake with Susan Classen and JoAnn Gates;
- a soap-making workshop and conversation on simple living with Jessie Rathburn and Andy Dyrsten;
- an anti-oppression workshop with Carol Taylor-Shimm, director of Bias Incident Support Services at the University of Kentucky in Lexington;
- a farm tour with Cody Rakes and Rascal the dog;
- many fruitful conversations in the dining room with Community members;
- and a Nonviolent Communication Workshop facilitated by Cory Lockhart.
Here is a brief introduction to the 2018-2019 Loretto Volunteers:
- Amelie Rode is from Tulsa, Okla., and recently graduated from St. Louis University with a bachelor’s in English and in women’s and gender studies. She is volunteering at Loretto Academy as the student activities coordinator.
- Amy Maltz is from Salem, Ore., and is a recent graduate of the University of San Diego with a major in ethnic studies and a double minor in women’s and gender studies and theology and religious studies. Amy is volunteering at the Opportunity Center, a multi-faceted resource center for homeless folks.
- Isabel Ngo graduated from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles with a bachelor’s in theater arts and minors in English and studio arts. Isabel is serving at Villa María as the housing and employment coordinator.
- Mari Nuñez, an El Paso native, recently graduated from St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., with a degree in enterprise regulation and a minor in dramatic arts. She’s excited to be working through the Loretto Volunteer Program in her placement at Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center.
- Sawyer Hill is from Roselle, Ill., and graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 2018 after majoring in theology and social welfare and justice. She is working with the Center Against Family and Sexual Violence.
- Adele McKiernan is from Boston and recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied history and integrated liberal studies. She is working for Missouri Healthcare for All as grassroots community organizer.
- Brianna Nielson is from Phoenix and recently graduated from St. Mary’s College of Cali-fornia in Moraga with a degree in biology and a minor in psychology. She is spending the year working to improve the coordination and continuation of medical care for veterans with the St. Louis VA Medical Center’s Complex Patient Aligned Care Team.
- Candace Okon is originally from Dallas but has spent much of her adult life in St. Louis. She graduated with a degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis. She is volunteering as outreach coordinator at the Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project.
- Lindsey Faust hails from the great state of Texas, but she called Bronx, N.Y., her home for the last four years until graduating from Fordham University in New York with degrees in theology and communication and culture. She is working with St. Louis Interfaith Committee on Latin America.
- Madeline Herries is from St. Louis and just graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia, with a degree in religious studies. She is working as assistant campus minister at Nerinx Hall High School, where she graduated in 2014.
- Leora Mosman is originally from Los Angeles and recently graduated from St. Mary’s College, Moraga, Calif., where she studied politics and women’s and gender studies. In D.C., she is working for the U.N. High Commission on Refugees.
- Melissa Cedillo was born and raised a Southern California native. She studied theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is serving at the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual with Mary Hunt and Diann Neu.
- Melissa Feito is originally from Miami and graduated from Tufts University in Medford, Mass., in 2016. She studied English, and double minored in communication and media studies and women’s, gender and sexuality studies. Melissa is serving a second year with “Interfaith Voices,” the public radio show founded by Maureen Fiedler.
Special thanks to Mary Margaret Murphy and the El Paso Community for their extremely hard work setting up the new Volunteer house in El Paso. Special thanks also to Claudia Calzetta, Kathy Sullivan and Barb Mecker for their help with Tobin House and Volunteer support in St. Louis. My deepest gratitude goes to these folks and so many others who help the program thrive.