Community members and friends gathered this past September to celebrate Loretto’s 170th anniversary of working and serving in New Mexico. “Our Lady of Light,” the painting donated to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art in Santa Fe (see this article), was the focus of the first evening’s presentation and reception, held at the museum. Speakers included Loretto Historian Eleanor Craig SL, the museum’s Executive Director Jennifer Berkley and New Mexico art historian Donna Pierce.
In her talk, Eleanor mentioned that, from the beginning, Loretto’s veil depicted the heart of Jesus and the heart of Mary, representing to the sisters their wholehearted dedication to those with whom they lived, worked and served. This wholeheartedness is evident in Loretto’s New Mexico history. As Kathleen Ortiz, educated by Loretto, commented, “Loretto’s impact on the community in New Mexico has been significant through the generations.”
The next evening, a presentation on Loretto’s history in New Mexico was held at Santa Fe’s Loretto Chapel and featured a video prepared by Eleanor and Neil Tucker CoL. The video highlights Loretto Community members sharing Loretto’s New Mexico story, as well as historic photos and interviews with Loretto school alum. We learn that in Santa Fe in 1896, Loretto built a three-story convent next to the chapel (which had been built around 1880) and later, a grade school, followed by a large high school. In the 1930s, the sisters opened the Opportunity School to serve children with mental and physical disabilities, a novel undertaking at the time. Loretto’s wholeheartedness in New Mexico has a long, rich history. Community members operated, and/or taught in, 23 schools in locations across the state.
That same evening, Loretto’s newest co-member, Allison Grace Lemons, was accepted into the Community during a beautiful ceremony in keeping with the Loretto spirit.
Finally, a reception at the Inn at Loretto was attended by many Loretto members, friends and former students.
Neil Tucker CoL and Eleanor Craig SL created a Loretto in New Mexico video; watch online here.
To read all the articles in the Winter 2022-2023 issue of Loretto Magazine, click here.