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Spotlight on Loretto wisdom women

Posted on March 1, 2023, by Joy Jensen SL

Editor’s note: We are featuring interviews of Loretto Community elders. We are grateful to the sisters and to Joy Jensen for sharing wonderful snapshots of our beloved Community members.

The Loretto Living Center at Loretto Motherhouse is home to interesting Loretto Community elders. The purpose of this series is to shine a spotlight on the lives of resident elders, women of wisdom. As the interviewer, I gave each person two questions ahead of time to think about:

1) What was your favorite mission ministry or job before you retired?

2) What is important to you at this time of your life?

Carol Ann Ptacek

Photo by Stacy Ballard

Carol Ann began by answering the question about her favorite mission: “Every mission was my favorite because each one had its own individual challenge. I was in El Paso for 20 years, in Denver for seven, and I have been here since 1992. In El Paso I taught for three years, sometimes full-time, sometimes part-time. I taught Latin and religion, following Mary Ann Cunningham, which was a feat and a half. I worked at Nazareth Hall in El Paso as an aide. In 1968-1970 I went to New York City for graduate school in nursing, and I got my RN and my master’s in science and nursing. Then I went back to El Paso. From 1970 to 1988 I was the director of nursing right from graduate school. I set up the nursing program since we did not have anything set up.

“In 1988 I went to Denver and worked with Damien Mary Simmons. Part of the building was set up for people who needed some nursing care, like personal care with some assisted care. After Denver I came here and worked three years in this Infirmary. Then I went to the convent for 20 years and helped the sisters in whatever they needed health-wise. I retired in 2015, after 45 years working with the elderly.”

For her second question Carol Ann explained, “It’s a hard time with the coronavirus because I can’t visit the sisters and be a support to them like I did before COVID-19. I call myself a volunteer. What’s important now is that I have more time for prayer and rest. My health has diminished greatly, needing to call for help for every move.”

Eva Marie Salas

Photo by Stacy Ballard

Thank you to Mary Margaret Murphy for supplying the following information.

I am humbled to try to capture briefly the significance of Eva Marie Salas’s 16 years as principal of Colegio Loretto in La Paz, Bolivia. Under her leadership the school was known for the outstanding education provided to girls from diverse economic backgrounds. Students became leaders, critical thinkers and activists who challenged the political system. As a result, there was increased concern for the sisters’ safety because they planted the seeds of social justice and were involved with their students in social justice activities. In the end the decision was made to transfer ownership of the school, and the sisters would return to the United States.

After returning to the States, Eva keenly felt a responsibility to their students. The sisters left, but their students, with a profound commitment to social justice, stayed. Eva was concerned about the consequences the students and their families might suffer. Because of this she, lovingly known by the students as Evita, adopted a line from “The Little Prince” for her mantra, “You are responsible for whom you tame.” She carried this responsibility deep within her and made a firm commitment to continue to pray for the students at Colegio Loretto.

Anthony Mary Sartorius

Photo by Stacy Ballard

Anthony Mary says her favorite mission was teaching. “I’ve taught everything from kindergarten to adult ed. I enjoyed the fifth and sixth grades. When I started getting involved with the adults, that was good, too.

I don’t think I did too well with little tiny children.” She showed me the award for Outstanding Secondary Educators of America, 1973. “But I think I spent my whole life teaching. Like here at this place, I’ve continued my teaching. I’ve used the episodes in my life as teaching. I’ve been out of the mainstream of education because I became coordinator at St. Louis and here a couple of times.”

In answer to the question about what is important at this time in her life, she said, “I guess learning to deal with what comes in daily life. I think that’s the best thing I can think of. Difficulties arise more than they did before, and I’ve learned to live with what life deals you. And I can say that building on the relationships that have begun is important, and trying to enrich those and be enriched by people.”


Joy Jensen SL

Joy is a vowed member, and she resides in the Motherhouse infirmary. Previously, Joy was a community organizer in St. Louis at St. Alphonsus Liguori “The Rock” Church, a historic Catholic church with a predominately African-American faith community. She also did some teaching at St. Louis University after receiving her doctorate. She enjoys reading American history and spy thrillers. Joy also enjoys knitting.
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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!