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Loretto Circles Keep on Rolling

Posted on September 1, 2016, by Loretto Community

By the Loretto Outreach Team

It is almost a year since the first Loretto Circle at Nerinx Hall High School in St. Louis got under way. Since then school faculty members, Sisters of Loretto, former Loretto Volunteers and Loretto co-members have gathered on a monthly basis to share discussions around the history, values, missions and spirituality of Loretto.

Meanwhile, in the past five months, two more Loretto Circles have formed. One of those Circles is in the Boston/Cambridge area, comprised of Loretto co-members, former volunteers, alum of Loretto schools and a friend of the Community. Despite a harsh winter, this Circle has continued to meet face-to-face and is seeking to find ways to support Circle members in their work for social justice by examining Loretto values and sense of mission.

A third Circle has been meeting online. It consists of vowed and co-members, a former volunteer and Loretto friends from Denver, Missouri, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. They have joined together to share their spiritual journeys and their connection to Loretto.

In 2009 the Loretto Assembly passed a resolution to develop the “Circle” as a way for others to connect with the Loretto Community without needing to become a vowed member or make a co-member commitment. The first retreat was held at the Motherhouse in 2012, and initial gatherings were convened in other places, aided by Martha Alderson and Barbara Mecker. Recently, the Outreach Team has become involved in helping to initiate and provide ongoing support and resources for the Circles.

The Loretto Circles are open groups that do not require membership. Rather, they are informal affiliations of individuals who want to come together with members of the Loretto Community. Circle members learn more about Loretto through reading together and attending talks by Loretto vowed and co-members. They participate in retreats, social gatherings, “field trips” to local Loretto missions and spirituality discussions. They also are active in mission — often their first contact with Loretto. Circles may meet together as in-person groups, online groups or a combination of the two. There is no one set model for a Circle to follow, but these are some of the ideas being explored.

The Outreach Team also publishes a monthly Circle e-newsletter that gives people an idea of the types of issues and activities in which Loretto vowed members, co-members, volunteers and Circle participants are involved, and occasionally highlights some of their personal interests.

We continue to receive inquiries from individuals who are interested in participating in a Loretto Circle, and we would like to expand the Circles to other geographic locations. As part of this endeavor, we are looking for more Loretto vowed and co-members who are willing to be part of an in-person and/or online Circle, providing a connection to the Loretto Community. Members of the Outreach Team would be available to assist with the start-up of a Circle and with ongoing support.

From left are Online Circle members Nicole Martinez of the Denver Central Office, Anna Koop and Maddy Herries.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Reyonlds

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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!