Recent News

The Louie Bluie Festival Offers Diversity Dimensions


By Maureen O’Connell My volunteer involvement with an annual festival here in Campbell County, Tenn., called the Louie Bluie Festival is just one of many examples throughout Loretto of efforts to make good things happen in communities. The annual Louie Bluie Festival honors the life and legacy of Howard Armstrong (stage name “Louie Bluie”), an African-American man raised in the town of LaFollette in Campbell County in the 1920s and ’30s. Howard left LaFollette to pursue music and became an internationally known blues and string musician, an accomplished artist and a Renaissance man. He spoke seven languages fluently, including Italian … Continue reading

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First Nerinx Hall High School Loretto Circle Retreat a Success


By Noeli Lytton After Beth Blissman finished leading the first Loretto Circle Retreat, she had fired up Nerinx faculty and Loretto Volunteers to connect with Earth more deeply. Oct. 1 at Rock Haven, an Ecozoic center just outside St. Louis, 18 people explored a walk through cosmic history, tracked features of the natural world and committed to an action plan. Planned by Nerinx Hall High School faculty member Jen Staed and her committee, the retreat was the first among many projects that the Circle is preparing for the year. (Noeli Lytton is a Nerinx Hall teacher and Loretto Circle member.)

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Congratulations, Helen!


Interchange joins in congratulating Helen Santa-maria, who is a 2016 Woman of Impact in El Paso. She was honored in September at the El Paso Country Club.

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Happy Anniversary, Earthlinks!


EarthLinks is celebrating its 20th anniversary! Congratulations to founders Cathy Mueller and Bette Ann Jaster OP, who started this nonprofit in downtown Denver that links persons who are homeless or economically poor with Earth and with one another. View the video about EarthLinks at https://youtube/eozxKnHw3VY.

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Well Done, Interfaith Voices!


Sept. 24 Interfaith Voices was awarded first place in the radio/podcast category at the annual awards banquet of the Religion News Association. The award was specifically for a story on Buddhism in China. This officially atheist government, which once destroyed temples and jailed religious leaders, is promoting — and sometimes even funding — a resurgence of Buddhism in China, the Chinese variety, not the Tibetan variety. The story was reported “on the ground” in China by Ruth Morris, who was living in China at the time, and is now a producer at Interfaith Voices in Washington, D.C. Ruth, who speaks … Continue reading

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Stro’s Banners Reflect Message of Border March


A vibrant group of 11 representing Loretto attended the October marches and rallies at the Convergence at the Border of Nogales, Mexico, and Sonora, Ariz. Events took place on both sides of the border. Loretto participants reported that the marches and rallies had been inspiring. One of the biggest crowds, they said, gathered at the Eloy Detention Center rally. More pictures and an article on Loretto at the border will be in the December issue of Interchange.

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Marian Middle School Answers Question ‘What About the Girls?’


By Barbara Roche Back in 1999, in response to Nancy Wittwer’s question “What about the girls?” seven communities of women religious and several laywomen in the St. Louis area joined forces to start Marian Middle School. The school’s goal is to break the cycle of poverty beginning with a challenging, top-notch middle-school education for girls from low-income families. On opening day in 2000, 14 courageous and dedicated young women began their Marian journeys. On Aug. 3 this year, 75 students began the school’s 17th year. Marian students come from 25 different ZIP codes in St. Louis City and County and … Continue reading

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LCWR, MMS Come Together for Girls


Aug. 27 the local St. Louis Area LCWR invited Marian Middle School President Mary Elizabeth Grimes to make a presentation at its annual workshop for women religious. The workshop theme, “Building the Beloved Community in the Age of Black Lives Matter,” allowed Grimes to talk about Marian’s history and its current mission in the context of addressing racial inequalities (in this case, unequal access to quality education). As one participant wrote, “I am so happy that I am from one of the religious communities that has helped to fund Marian Middle School since the start. … Your presentation clearly showed … Continue reading

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Maryam: A Self-Portrait


By Theresa Kubasak Maryam is a talented young woman from Syria who was very active at the Ad Dar Center where I volunteered in Istanbul. Maryam made this self-portrait in an art class there and participated in a theater group led by a Syrian actor. She was part of my Girls’ Ramadan Group. Maryam and her family made the decision to take a boat to Greece hoping to travel to Germany. Unfortunately they never made it and have been stuck in Greece for several months. This decision is in contrast with Wafaa Abu Elula who traveled to the United States … Continue reading

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LEN Retreat — Saving the Planet, Bit by Bit


By Cathy Hartrich (Editor’s Note: Cathy Hartrich is a member of Loretto Circle, St. Louis, and serves as chairwoman of the theology department at Nerinx Hall High School.) What an honor it was to celebrate Loretto Earth Network’s 25th anniversary with LEN’s founders and devotees alike in Denver Aug. 19–21. Alongside Loretto Community members and friends at this retreat were such notables as Fletcher Harper, founder of Green Faith, and Miriam Therese MacGillis, founder of Genesis Farm. Was it paradoxical or God-incidence that the retreat took place in the exquisite, lush setting of the Loretto Center in the Havern School … Continue reading

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