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Loretto in New Mexico – the journey continues!

Posted on September 26, 2022, by Loretto Community

Travel for the Sisters of Loretto to Santa Fe, N.M., in the late 1800s was a sacred journey. The Sisters were hopeful, tired, joyful and scared. Travel to a new land became a spiritual journey, an arduous undertaking, a journey of faith. As philosopher Hafiz once wrote, “The place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.”

Three women sit together on a bench while four women stand behind them, arms about each other.
Loretto Community members and friends pose for a photo in Santa Fe Plaza.
Photo courtesy of Christina Manweller

Santa Fe was the first foundation in New Mexico and many other places followed. The Congregation’s journey of service reached all across the state to towns, villages, Indian territories and cities. Loretto missions grew quickly because the need was so great.

Find a map of New Mexico. Circle these wonderful places where Loretto has served and, in some places, where Loretto members still serve the communities: Tierra Amarilla, Taos, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Bernalillo, Albuquerque, Grants, Las Cruces, Mora, Thoreau, Anthony, La Union and Sunland Park. The Sisters were so beloved in these places that many girls in New Mexico were named “Loretto.”

Years come and go, but the calling is still the same. 
Together we stand here united in Jesus name.
Give us the courage, give us the strength
To be what you want us to be.

Only one journey to everywhere…

Verse 3 of “One Journey to Everywhere”, by Doris Pittman
Painting of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus with one hand, and with the other, holding up a person by the arm. Angels surround them.
“Our Lady of Light” painting by Miguel Mateo Maldonado y Cabrera
Photo by Christina Manweller

The Loretto Community in New Mexico had a great devotion to Mary under the title “Our Lady of Light.” In fact, in January of 1853, the Sisters opened our Lady of Light Academy in Santa Fe. It served the families in the area until 1968. Many young women from the area entered the Sisters of Loretto filled with the faith of missionaries to this beautiful Land of Enchantment.

The Sisters called upon our Lady of Light for strength and guidance in this new mission territory. Devotion to Mary under this title led the Community to pray these words from the Gospel of John, Chapter 8:12: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” God circled the map of New Mexico for these courageous women. Theirs was a journey of light.

The Loretto Community continues to have a presence in New Mexico, including in Albuquerque, Corrales, La Union, Las Cruces and Rio Rancho. The journey continues!


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Cupola Cross 2-Icon

Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!