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Loretto Heights College reunion a grand affair

Posted on September 1, 2023, by Mary Nelle Gage SL

Celebrating the Loretto Heights College reunion are, left to right, Ruth Routten, Lydia Peña, Sarah Walsh McClanahan, Virginia Nesmith, Mary Nelle Gage and Michaela Walsh.
Photo courtesy of Mary Nelle Gage
Ried Clark (right), recipient of the the Distinguished Alumnae Award from Loretto Heights College, is joined by Regina Drey (far left) and Cathy Mueller.
Photo by Ruth Routten

The Loretto Heights College all-class reunion was held July 14-15 in Denver, organized by the Spirit of Loretto Committee comprised of LHC alumni from numerous years. The first day on our former campus was spent hearing presentations describing the now-and-future redevelopments/renovations/repurposing of several of the buildings so familiar to alumni. Before a lunch served in our former dining hall, the current owner, Westside Investment Partners, provided a whole-campus overview. COMMUN, a local Southwest Denver nonprofit agency, will bring new life to Machebeuf Hall as a community center offering a variety of services needed in the south-west Denver area. Many of the attending alums had lived in Pancratia Hall and heard about her new life as 72 affordable housing apartments, administered by Denver Housing Authority.

Pancratia Hall Lofts was recently honored by History Colorado for the historic preservation so carefully achieved by Hartman and Ely Associates. The City of Denver Arts and Venues now owns and is in the process of renovating the theatre and library, the last two buildings completed in 1963 in the long line of achievements by Sister Frances Marie Walsh, eighth president of Loretto Heights (1946 to 1964). Alums toured the 1891 Administration Building, Pancratia Hall Lofts and Machebeuf Hall.

Father Marty Lally celebrated Mass in the Regis University Chapel on Saturday morning followed by the annual awards luncheon at which awards are presented to two outstanding alumni. Ried Clark, who graduated in 1971, received the Distinguised Alumnae Award.

Sister Frances Marie Walsh was presented the Lumen Christi award, given annually to a faculty or administration member. Michaela Walsh and Sarah Walsh McClanahan, two of her nieces, came from New York and New Jersey to receive the award and to participate in the LHC reunion activities. A prayer service at the gravesites of 83 Sisters of Loretto concluded the sponsored events. Large photo boards of some of the sisters, created by Ried Clark for the Aug. 2022 reburial ceremony of 62 of the sisters, were displayed Friday on campus and at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Alumni decorated each grave with flowers.


Mary Nelle Gage SL

Mary Nelle was raised in Texas and graduated from Loretto Heights College ('66) where she met the Sisters of Loretto. After entering Loretto in 1967, she taught English, speech and drama at St. Mary's Academy and Machebeuf High School. Mary Nelle joined Sister Susan Carol McDonald in Saigon, Vietnam, to care for orphans and to assist with their adoption. For 20 years she resettled refugees for several church agencies. For 30 years she has done customer service at American Airlines and does occasional marketing for EarthLinks. She is involved in the preservation and re-development of the LHC (Loretto Heights College) campus.
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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!