Loretto Honors Denver Center’s Legacy
More than 100 Loretto Community members and friends, celebrated the 53-year legacy of the Denver Loretto Center on Dec. 8, 2017. Father Marty Lally concelebrated the Loretto feast day Mass of the Immaculate Conception with Fathers Roland Freeman, longtime Loretto Center chaplain, Michael De Sciose and Ben Meyer. Barbara Schulte and Mary Ellen McElroy proclaimed the readings, and Denise Ann Clifford led the singing. The commemorative Mass program was designed by Center Coordinator Judith Baenen, with photos by staff member Nicole Martinez.
Marlene Spero reflected on the “53 years of life, love and ministry that have emanated from those who lived and worked at this Center and who have touched the lives of countless individuals both near and far.” Marlene’s theme of “gratitude is the memory of the heart” was expressed throughout her words, “God has given us every grace we needed and led us to build a house of prayer and peace.”
Marlene gave testimony to the visionary sisters who founded the Center in 1964 as an educational center for postulants and novices studying to become Sisters of Loretto. Gratitude was expressed for the faithful priests who have served the sisters, generous donors who have supported the ministries of Loretto and the hard-working employees who tended to the needs of the building, its residents and guests. Marlene honored the services which Loretto Center has provided: Havern School since 1966, Rhodes Tutoring Center for 27 years, Loretto Spirituality Center for 24 years.
In Father Marty’s homily, he reminded the assembled that the Sisters of Loretto’s legacy of education started with the 3Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Honoring the more than half-century of Loretto Center, those 3Rs have become “remembering, reverencing and reflecting.” Marty invited the Loretto sisters to stand to renew their vows. Co-members present then stood to recite a common commitment.
Following Mass, Denise Ann led everyone in procession through the halls, chanting the names of each current and former resident and staff member who had served during the past half-century: “All you holy men and women pray for us.” The procession ended in the Stuart Room with a blessing composed by Judith. In the dining room, the culinary staff had prepared a gourmet feast. Nora Jaquez, sister of the former owner of the Center property, spoke at the dinner. Theresa Kinealy had floral arrangements on each table with white pillar candles surrounded by pastel flowers and winter pine.
Judith introduced a delightful program of “I remember when …” storytelling. Cathy Mueller, Anna Koop, Denise Ann, Mary Helen Sandoval, Mary Jean Friel and friends Katie McNamee and Julie McGuire shared memories of past escapades. After coffee and dessert, more remembrances were shared at tables.
As Marlene reflected, “the Loretto legacy of education will continue at Loretto Center as Havern assumes ownership and implements its dreams to expand and serve more students in need of its specialized services. We rejoice with all that has been in this sacred space and for all that is yet to come. We praise God from whom all blessings flow.”