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Loretto Magazine and Annual Donor Report – Spring/Summer 2024

Posted on June 24, 2024, by Loretto Community

Cover of Summer 2024 issue of Loretto Magazine: Loretto Spirituality and Earth. A swallowtail butterfly is pictured feeding on milkweed blossoms. Text at top reads: "Inside ... Loretto, Earth and spirituality; Walking in Ann Manganaro SL's footsteps; The Lortto Hunger Fund turns 50; Welcoming a new Loretto sister; 2023 Annual Donor Report ... and more
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Loretto Spotlight Video – Maribah Ishaq SL and Claudia Calzetta SL

Maribah Ishaq is excited to pronounce first vows as a Sister of Loretto. In this Spotlight Video, she talks with Claudia Calzetta SL, Loretto’s formation director for Pakistan.

A letter from Loretto President Barbara Nicholas SL

Head shot of Sr. Barbara Nicholas taken outside on a sunny day.

Greetings on this near-summer day. This season seems to have been a long time coming with its intermittent sunny temperatures followed by snowy afternoons or cloudy mornings. All the while, our editor and authors and photographers have been hard at work creating this issue of Loretto Magazine to be filled with stories of Loretto life.

Read the entire letter here.

Jeannine Gramick SL meets with Pope Francis in Rome

A photo of the Pope with a religious sister in habit standing next to him smiling.

Jeannine Gramick SL and friends from New Ways Ministry, the organization she co-founded to support LGBTQ+ persons, traveled to Rome last October to meet with Pope Francis. Jeannine and the pope had been corresponding for some time, and he had expressed interest in and support for her work. When she told him she’d like to meet, he replied, “Your letter made me very happy. I will gladly meet you.” And so began her journey to Rome, along with New Ways Ministry team members Frank DeBernardo, Bob Shine and Matt Myers CoL.

Read the story here.

Students celebrate Laudato Si’ Day

A mostly black and white poster that says "Loretto Mission Possible"

At Loretto Academy in El Paso, Laudato Si’ Day in March was a fun and educational day for students and teachers.

Students created posters focusing on their understanding of environmental challenges and possible solutions. The posters here represent four classes from sixth through 12th grades. Thank you, Loretto Academy, for your efforts and education on behalf of our Earth home.

See selected posters here.

How does our relationship with Earth affect our spirituality? How does our spirituality affect our relationship with Earth?

A circular photo of the earth from space with the text "We live in complete dependence upon an inescapably interconnected world..." wrapped around it.
Photo: NASA

Earth as teacher. That’s what immediately comes to mind when I reflect on how I experience the relationship between spirituality and nature.

Here is one of many life lessons taught to me during the years I lived in Latin America. My teacher in this case was a plant hanging in a basket above the dirt floor of my porch.

A fungus was ruining one of my hanging plants so I trimmed it back, not paying attention to the stems that fell to the ground. A week or two later, I was watering the still-sickly plant when something bright and colorful on the ground caught my eye. The discarded stems were flowering! The water had been dripping onto the stems below. The plant in the hanging basket eventually died but the cuttings I discarded are thriving.

Read the entire article here.

Awake with love for one another and for Earth

8 women standing above, smiling, and looking down at a camera facing the sky underneath a big tree.

How does my spirituality influence my way of living on Earth? I ask myself this as I begin to write. Two minutes of pondering and I remember the mysterious truth of it: For me, there is no longer a “my spirituality,” separate from any other aspect of my life. For me, there is no longer a God to be pleased, appeased, convinced of another’s need. Somewhere along the line, my spirituality became who I am; and God / Love / Source / Divine Mother simply disappeared into life.

Read the entire article here.

Exercise: An encounter with a tree

A closeup of a maple tree with bright green leaves flourishing in the sunlight

Inspired by Belden C. Lane, who says that trees bring us out of ourselves, “reminding us that we aren’t in control, taking us to our knees in awe.” (“The Great Conversation”) Native American Cherokee tribe members refer to trees as standing people.

Approach a tree, gently and with reverence. It may be an old dignified or gnarled tree, or a fresh sapling.

Wait in silence; become aware of the tree’s presence. Once you feel a connection with the tree, you might tell it your story. Maybe you’ll share your wounds and joys. Become silent once more. The tree may share its own story in a tree’s silent language.

Make a regular practice of spending time with trees; perhaps befriend a particular tree. We must reopen dialogue with the other members of creation.

“My Place in Nature”: A powerful exercise developed by Carol Christ, Ph.D. and adapted by Sandra Hareld CoL, Ph.D. may be found here:

Sharing with grateful hearts

Three older women are pictured standing and talking as they volunteer with a food pantry in new Mexico.

Loretto’s Hunger Fund has helped feed the hungry for 50 years. The Stop Hunger Fund, as it was initially called, was established in 1974 in response to worldwide hunger, especially in India, where drought had led to famine and starvation. Loretto Community members were indefatigable in raising money. They babysat, collected aluminum cans, sold paintings and more. Loretto schools collected donations and held bake sales and raffles. (Today, students at St. Mary’s Academy in Denver raise money for the Hunger Fund.) The effort does not let up, offering assistance to groups that provide groceries, stock pantries, serve meals or otherwise feed the hungry. In recent years, donations have helped feed people in the U.S., Haiti, Mexico, Pakistan and Uganda, among other locations.

See photos of a few of the fund recipients and read the full story here.

Feeding the unfed: Loretto responds to famine in India in the mid-1970s

Loretto’s Stop Hunger Fund (now simply called the Hunger Fund) financed the nonsectarian Child-in- Need Project for India which fed starving children in two regions following severe drought and crop failure. Loretto worked with Catholic Relief Services which identified the most urgent needs and oversaw food distribution. In addition, a project was initiated to provide nutritional training once the emergency eased.

Read the whole story here.

Loretto Community members and students bond

A high school student with big black round glasses and braids smiles softly while wearing a dark purple sweatshirt

Nastasia St. Amor Joan of Arc Rivas, a student at St. Mary’s Academy in Denver, and Maria Visse SL, a resident at Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., started meeting when Nastasia was in search of a service learning project during the Covid-19 shutdown. This led to weekly conversations throughout her high school years. Nastasia, a graduating senior, plans to attend college outside of her home state of Colorado, majoring in astrophysics. She says her conversations with Maria have taught her the importance of hearing the perspective of elders and of humbly listening, allowing others to be heard. She believes bridging the gap between generations would lead to a brighter future for all.

Read the whole story here.

Serving in Ghana

An older woman in a blue dress and glasses stands over a young student working on a computer to offer support.

The congregation of the Daughters of the Most Holy Trinity (FST) is a Ghanaian community founded 40 years ago to serve the spiritual and physical needs of the “poorest of the poor” in rural areas of the Kumasi diocese. In November 2009, with Loretto’s help, the FST sisters opened Blessed Trinity Leadership Academy in Kumasi with a pilot group of 11 students. Marie Ego SL said at the time, “This is a precious beginning for young minds so eager to read and learn.”

Read the entire story here.

FST sisters find joy in service

Ghanian religious sisters are shown packing up a silver Toyota truck bed with supplies in order to serve the rural poor in the area.

One of the important ways the Sisters of the Daughters of the Most Holy Trinity spread God’s love is through the Rural Ministry. They travel to remote villages to share education on important topics like preparing nutritious meals; they provide religious support; and they bring donated clothing, food and other necessities to people who need them.

Read more about Loretto co-member FST Sister Frances Emily Owusu-Ansah’s congregation here.

Doctor follows in Ann Manganaro SL’s footsteps, serves in Central America

A pediatrician reaches over a student to show him how to examine an eardrum of a patient.

Inspired by the story of Ann Manganaro SL and her commitment as a pediatrician to the people of El Salvador, in 2020 I helped open a primary care clinic for a community of Indigenous Mayans near Cobán, Guatemala. The clinic is located at Ciudad de la Esperanza (City of Hope), which also houses a school and community center educating 450 children from preschool through high school.

The story of how I came to this medical work in Guatemala began with Ann. While living at a Catholic Worker-inspired home in Denver, Romero House, I heard Father John Kavanaugh talk about Ann’s work in El Salvador, and I was mesmerized. Her story was calling me. I had to do something with my life like she had done with hers.

Read the whole story here.

Our hearts are full: Welcoming a new Loretto sister in Pakistan

A Pakistani sister of Loretto is shown reading a bible passage wearing an intricately patterned outfit.

In the tapestry of faith, the threads of community weave together to create a vibrant and diverse congregation. Our spiritual family is being enriched with the addition of Sister Maribah Ishaq, bringing a renewed sense of joy and connection.

The arrival of Maribah in Lahore, Pakistan, in 2020 was cause for celebration. It was a moment that echoes the teachings of love, acceptance and unity that form the foundation of our faith.

Read the entire story here.

Annual Donor Report 2023

Memorials and Tributes of Honor: January 2024-April 2024

Obituaries

Plantings in honor of loved ones bring new life to the Loretto Motherhouse

Two women are shown planting redbud trees in a garden.

A living tribute is a wonderful way to let our love for friends and family members shine. We might give in honor of a loved one’s birthday, or to recognize a life milestone or to reflect our love for one who has died. Loretto’s Native Tree and Plant Fund offers an avenue to add healing beauty to Earth while recognizing our loved ones (or even ourselves! — are you celebrating a milestone? a gratitude?). Holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are fitting opportunities to show love while honoring Earth.

Learn more here.

Postscript

Dear Loretto Friends,

Loretto’s good work is illustrated in each Loretto Magazine. This issue also includes the Annual Report showing all the areas of our work in 2023 to which donations were made. More than 1,100 people from coast to coast in the U.S., and beyond, made more than 1,800 donations! We are very grateful.

A brightly colored red, blue, green and white woven basket is placed outside with green plants around it.
Photo: Virginia Nesmith

You may have heard of blessing baskets made by weavers in poor communities who are paid well for their work. The baskets are beautiful and come in different sizes. As I thought of all of our donors I envisioned a very large basket. We could drop in donors’ names one by one, filling our hearts at Loretto with gratitude as the basket overflowed.

I am a donor to Loretto. St. Francis’s words, “It is in giving that we receive,” ring true to me. Support to feed hungry people feeds our souls. Support for sheltering people who lack housing warms our hearts. Support to ensure the rights of immigrants reminds us that we are all worthy. Support for planting young trees gives us hope for the future. Support for the upkeep of the Motherhouse makes us all a part of good stewardship. Support for sisters who teach now, and for the retired sisters who taught so many, reminds us of the invaluable gift of education we received.

If we could all get together, we might have a second very large basket. Each donor could drop in a note about what we have received through our gift.

We are all in this together, sharing in the giving and receiving that enables change to occur and love to grow. With overflowing baskets and overflowing hearts, Loretto thanks you!

Gratefully,

Virginia Nesmith
Development Director

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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!