Slaveholding in Loretto’s history: Honoring the sacredness of human dignity
This past November during Loretto’s annual Assembly, the Community came together to honor and recognize those who had been enslaved at the Loretto Motherhouse. Community members living at the Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., gathered in the church for the Ritual of Remembrance and Sanctification featuring art, song, poetry and prayer; it was live-streamed to Community members around the world. Central to the ritual were Ancestor Spirit Portraits, the work of the artists’ group, I Was Here.
More than 50 people were enslaved at Loretto Motherhouse, men and women old and young, with their small children, whose presence at the Motherhouse were noted in the federal census once every 10 years from 1820 to 1860.
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.Genesis 1:27
The ritual may be viewed here. Additional reporting about the ritual may be found here.
Images and ritual by I Was Here, a collaboration of artists making visible a reality hidden in plain sight. We are grateful to the following for their support of this project: The Kentucky Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, South Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts
Read or download the entire Spring 2022 issue of Loretto Magazine here.
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