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Loretto Showers Volunteers with Necessities, Creative Gifts

Posted on October 1, 2019, by Claudia Calzetta SL

Loretto members and Denver Loretto Volunteers gather at the Denver Aug. 18 shower for fun and Community-building. Clockwise from left are Theresa Kinealy, Anna Koop, Libby Comeaux, Reilly Rebhahnis, Donna Hamburg, Cathy Darnell, Joy Gerity, Jeanne Orrben and Rebecca Krasky. (Photo by Ruth Routten)
From left, El Paso Loretto Volunteers Celine Reinoso, Ana Avendano and Kiara Quintanar proudly display some of their shower gifts. (Photo courtesy of Celine Reinoso)

If you walked into any of the Loretto Volunteer gatherings in St. Louis, Denver or El Paso on Aug. 18 for the annual shower, you would have felt palpable energy, heard cheerful and sustained laughter and seen myriad wrapped multi-colored boxes and even some uniquely wrapped ecological gifts from the Denver Community.

Showers: Community-building events

From left, Carol Colligan and second-year Loretto Volunteer Adele McKiernan share conversation at the Aug. 18 shower. (Photo courtesy of Mallory Daily)

Your taste buds were rewarded with delicious sweet and savory treats or a potluck dinner. El Paso even had a fun round-robin dessert tasting. And because of careful planning by local Community members and Volunteer Program staff, Loretto was celebrating together across the miles.

Even in places where showers aren’t a tradition, such as D.C. and New York, Loretto Volunteers are greeted in creative ways by their local Lorettos. It is a beautiful time for new connections!

Welcoming young people into folds of Loretto

Denver Volunteers enjoy opening up ecological gifts at the Aug. 18 shower. (Photo by Ruth Routten)

Every August, inviting these young people into the folds of Loretto through welcome events truly mirrors what we call community. The following is a description of how this quirky shower idea began and how it has become such a community-builder for Loretto.

The Volunteer shower event began seven years ago when the first group ,of St. Louis Volunteers moved into the Lockwood House. Volunteers needed many household things, and that first year they were deluged with toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies and more.

Since that year the suggested items have expanded, and now Volunteers are the recipients of all sorts of food items, household tools, gift cards and other treats that allow the Volunteers to experience some lighter, fun moments.

Former Volunteers continue to offer support

Barb Mecker, at right, spends time with former Loretto Volunteer Maddy Herries. (Photo courtesy of Mallory Daily)

This year two former Volunteers brought a 25-pound bag of rice because as everyone knows, “rice goes with everything and fills you up” as so aptly stated by the gift givers.

But what has really changed in St. Louis, are the former Loretto Volunteers (LoVos) who live here and continue to support and be present to current groups. Currently 10 LoVos live in St. Louis. This year, we had a total of seven former LoVos who participated in the welcome.

Connecting in other ways

Those that couldn’t make it connected with the LoVos in other ways. They hosted a welcome dinner when Volunteers came back from their orientation at the Motherhouse, acted as tour guides for local orientation of St. Louis, shared helpful hints about Tobin House (residence of Volunteers in St. Louis), the dos and don’ts about car maintenance and, most importantly, ways to work on building and sustaining strong community in St. Louis.

At left, Claudia Calzetta, former Loretto Volunteer Coordinator, gets a warm greeting from Loretto Volunteer Allie Seleyman. Claudia and Allie are in front of delicious key lime pie bars. (Photo courtesy of Mallory Daily)

The addition of the seven former LoVos at the shower created a truly diverse Loretto Community: young and older partygoers and folks with different backgrounds and identities. The flow of the high energy and uninterrupted conversation was a testament to some Loretto members reconnecting with former LoVos and making new connections with Adele McKiernan, Allie Seleyman, Amelie Rode and Gabby Eissner. Our hope and prayer is that other Volunteer cities will someday also have the same vibrant participation from former LoVos, and these locations are well on their way.

Volunteer Program continues to expand

Are we proud of our current and former LoVos — yes! These generous young adults enrich our lives, share our values and continue Loretto’s presence in so many new and varied missions. Loretto has a treasure in the Volunteer Program, and the participation by the Community at these welcome events continues to affirm this love and gratitude.

From left are second-year Loretto Volunteer Amelie Rode and Roberta Hudlow at the St. Louis shower. (Photo courtesy of Mallory Daily)

At the end of the shower in El Paso, the Community blessed the Volunteers and gave each a candle to pray with for the coming year with a promise of mutual love and support.

The Volunteer Program is expanding and growing; Loretto is growing and expanding. Truly, “We give you glory, thanks and praise, O bless our works and guide our ways.”

P.S. Since our three D.C. LoVos and our one New York LoVo didn’t have a welcome shower, help us send them some love from Lorettos near and far! You can send a greeting card or a care package to: Junia House, 434 Buchanan St. NW, Washington, DC  20011, and to Amy Maltz at Menno House, 314 E. 19th St., NYC  10003. We are certain they would all appreciate your greetings and best wishes.

Denver Loretto Volunteers stand on the front porch of their Loretto Volunteer home hear the Four-Points neighborhood. (Photo by Ruth Routten)
Claudia Calzetta SL

Claudia Calzetta SL

Claudia lives in St. Louis and has recently retired as assistant coordinator of the Loretto Volunteer program. Claudia currently merged two of her interests – her love of baking tarts and pies and her efforts to assist the asylum seekers in El Paso, Texas. With the help of friends, Claudia has created a website offering her baking for donations to shelters in El Paso.
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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!