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

Posted on June 24, 2024, by Loretto Community

How might we honor those we love and also bring healing to Earth?

Two women are shown planting redbud trees in a garden.
Planting in the name of love! Susan Classen CoL and volunteer Esther Hurlburt plant two redbud trees purchased through donations given in honor of Carol Ann Ptacek SL by her family, in addition to a dogwood tree. Susan says, “The Motherhouse has a number of redbud and dogwood trees that are in decline so we are planting clusters of new trees close to the old ones so that they will be well established before the older trees die.” Joe Graves, Motherhouse groundskeeper who cares for the campus trees and has planted many, is not pictured here. Photo: Rachel Brahm

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.

Recently, plantings have been added at Loretto’s Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., in memory of Loretto members. Carol Ann Ptacek SL’s family gave so that trees could be planted in her honor. Carol Ann died in April 2023, and trees were planted in April 2024. Mary Anne Reese CoL, who died in December 2022, asked friends and family to donate to the fund if they chose to give in her memory. Seven donors contributed to the fund. Trees and other plants purchased in Mary Ann’s name were planted outside the Loretto Living Center at Loretto Motherhouse, bringing the healing beauty of nature to those whose windows overlook that area.

A woman is crouched down and smiling towards the camera as she is working in a garden.
Karen Bess, retired landscape architect specializing in native plants, volunteers her time to help design and plant a new garden at Loretto Motherhouse. The trees and plants were purchased in honor of Mary Anne Reese CoL, who died in December 2022.
Photo: Susan Classen CoL

The fund was established many years ago when Anthony Mary Sartorius SL prioritized planting trees at the Motherhouse. Its scope has since broadened. Susan Classen CoL, Loretto’s ecosystem manager, explains, “We’ve learned more about the role, not only of trees, but also of other native plants in mitigating the effects of climate change, and we expanded the fund to include other plant species.” In addition to the plantings mentioned above, fund projects include the renovation of the Motherhouse dining room courtyard and the tree grove.

If you would like to honor Earth and contribute to its healing in a tangible way, you may donate online or send a check to the Sisters of Loretto, 515 Nerinx Road, Nerinx, KY 40049. To donate online to the tree and native plant fund, go to Loretto’s Donate page, select “Other ministries,” and in the comments box on the following page, type in “Tree and Native Plant Fund.” You may also support Loretto’s environmental healing work by donating to the Carbon Reduction Fund. To donate to this fund, select its name from the drop-down menu or add a note to your mailed-in donation. Thank you, as always, for supporting Loretto’s healing work!

To read all the articles in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of Loretto Magazine, click here.


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Loretto welcomes you

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