Home » Features » Loretto Circle Flourishes with In-Person and Online Groups

Loretto Circle Flourishes with In-Person and Online Groups

Posted on November 1, 2017, by Sandra Hareld CoL

A vibrant group of diverse women collect for a smiling photo outside.
Nerinx Hall Loretto Circle gathers for a workshop with Beth Blissman.
Photo courtesy of Sandra Hareld
Four women stand together and smile for a group picture outdoors with thick green trees and brush behind them.
Shown here are some of the Online Loretto Circle members. From left, are Anna Koop, Mary Kay Brannan, Maddie Harries and Lisa Reynolds.
Photo courtest of Sandra Hareld

Loretto’s Outreach Committee continues to find opportunities to respond to those interested in being more connected with Loretto. One way of making those connections, meeting Loretto members and learning more about who we are and what we do, is through the Loretto Circle.

The Loretto Circle was started in 2009 when the Loretto Assembly approved a resolution for the Circle as a way to connect with Loretto without needing to make a vowed or co-membership commitment. The first retreat at the Motherhouse took place in 2010 with the help of co-members Martha Alderson and Barbara Mecker. Since 2015 the Outreach Committee has become involved with the Circles to carry on the work that was initiated.

This summer the Nerinx Hall High School Circle in St. Louis began its third year. Comprised mainly of faculty from Nerinx Hall, this Circle also includes Loretto Community vowed members and co-members, Loretto Volunteers and Nerinx alums. At its Aug. 22 gathering, Barbara Roche shared her ideas with 20 attendees on the topic “Immigration and Loretto, a St. Louis Perspective.” She included several resources for further information and ways to get involved. This Circle also has put together an impressive schedule for the next nine months that will consist of presentations by Loretto members in the St. Louis area and some of the Circle participants. If you live in the St. Louis area and would like to learn more about the Nerinx Hall Circle, contact Jen Staed at [email protected].

Three women standing and smiling together for a photo indoors.
From left, Nicole Martinez joins other Online Loretto Circle members Anna Koop and Maddie Harries.
Photo courtesy of Sandra Hareld

The first Loretto Online Circle met in February 2016 and has continued to meet monthly.

There are eight members of the Circle representing the states of Colorado, Ohio, Massachusetts and Missouri. Participants include vowed members, co-members, a former Loretto Volunteer, Loretto staff, a Nerinx alum and a friend of the Community. This past year the Online Circle has focused on sharing their spiritual journey. Currently, they are discussing two videos on “trust” and “vulnerability” that were presented at last fall’s Topical Gatherings.

There are also two new Online Circles on the horizon. The Spiral Sisters Circle (who see themselves as evolutionary) meets monthly on Sunday afternoons. The group will focus on “how to respond to what is going on in the world in a positive way,” using the book Hope in an Age of Despair by Albert Nolan as a study guide. There are seven Spiral Sisters at this time, representing Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Texas. They have openings for three more participants in this Circle. Contact Sandra Hareld at [email protected] if you would like to join.

The other Online Circle is in process of forming as a result of the 2017 Outreach Retreat at Snowmass. They hope to have their first gathering this October.

As the Circles grow and continue to attract people, we are hoping to encourage in-person groups in Denver and the Motherhouse/Louisville/Lexington areas. We also are hoping for an online Circle on the West Coast. But, for this to happen, we need interested core members from the Loretto Community. All the Circles rotate responsibility for facilitation and spiritual leadership so the work is spread out among all the Circle participants. It mostly entails being present to those who want to learn more about Loretto history, mission, values and spirituality. If this sounds like something that would interest you, let Sandra know at the e-mail listed above.


Sandra Hareld CoL

Sandra has been a Loretto Co-member since 2011. She has served as Loretto Outreach Coordinator since 2014. Previously she was a Jesuit Volunteer, a librarian, an ordained pastor in the UMC, and an amateur storyteller. She is also currently a PhD candidate in women’s spirituality.
Cupola Cross 2-Icon

Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!

Cupola Cross 2-Icon

Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!