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History

Two hundred years and counting! Loretto has responded to the call of God to serve God’s people. From children to adults, from elementary to graduate-level education, from eldercare to advocacy for the homelessness and underserved, Loretto has left its mark on the world as it seeks to “work for justice and act for peace.” Learn more about the history of Loretto.

Home » History

Beginning a Conversation about Loretto Slaveholding and its Implications

By Loretto Community / February 11, 2021 /
Carved faces on a bronze plate mark the Slave Memorial at the Loretto Motherhouse.

What the Loretto Community now knows about its practices of slaveholding, 1812-1865, is an unsatisfactory combination of a very few documents, some speculation and good guesses, and a very disconcerting realization that we have a large responsibility to which we have barely attended. This presentation is offered as an inspiration and a prod for Loretto…

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November 11, 1918: War and Pandemic

By Regina Drey SL / November 11, 2020 /

Note from the Editor of St. Mary’s Academy Newsletter: Veterans Day occurs on November 11 every year in the United States in honor of the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918 that signaled the end of World War I, known as Armistice Day.  Thanks to an entry in the SMA annals 102 years ago, we can experience the mix of…

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Loretto’s Legacy Resounds as a Grace and Challenge

By Loretto Community / April 19, 2020 /

Loretto’s first members, Mary Rhodes, Christina Stuart and Ann Havern, began their religious life together on April 25, 1812, a day celebrated as Loretto Foundation Day each year. From the very start in what is now the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the three women recognized the need of children in the area for education and religious…

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Experiencing the Stories: Learning History That Makes Loretto Unique

By Ayla Toussaint / December 2, 2019 /

When I was hired straight out of graduate school as the Loretto Heritage Center archivist, I was ecstatic. As an archivist, my job revolves around saving stories and preserving them for future generations. To do this, archivists collect administrative papers, photographs, personal diaries and writings and a host of other documents.  Women’s history has been…

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Forward, Forward Loretto

By Mary Nelle Gage SL / December 2, 2019 /

“Forward, Forward Loretto. Hold the torch ever firm in your hand. Let the rays of its light lead you onward.  Spreading courage and hope through the land. Thy shining fame has enrolled thy name. With the brightest of all our lights, long may you stand, so proud and grand, our own Loretto Heights.” These verses…

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Bonjour Delayed

By Mary Louise Denny SL / November 1, 2019 /

1973, Saigon, Vietnam, New Haven Nursery  A newborn, male, was dropped off at New Haven Nursery. Susan Carol McDonald was the director/nurse at New Haven. She logged the baby into the register that she kept, as she did with every child that lived at New Haven. “Name: Frank Antoine. Arrival February 6, 1973. From Allambie (another nursery…

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Father Nerinckx’s Kneecap and Other Relics

By Loretto Heritage Center / November 1, 2019 /

By Susanna Pyatt1 When I and the other staff at the Heritage Center opened a trunk said to be full of old chalices in November last year, we little expected what else we would find! The trunk had belonged to Father Charles Nerinckx and contained not just antique church goods, but also two chests of…

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Connections Across Time and Place

By Cathy Mueller SL / October 1, 2019 /

This past May when I attended the meeting of the Union of International Superiors General (UISG) in Rome, I was at the table with Claire Sykes, a Faithful Companion of Jesus (FCJ) sister from London. She asked me if there was a connection between John Nerinckx, who was significant in their community’s history, and Charles…

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Loretto Follows the Santa Fe Trail

By Carole Eschen SL / September 1, 2019 /

Eleanor Craig has been heard to say that, “a few minutes of misery can provide a lifetime of great stories.” The trip following the Santa Fe Trail that 11 of us recently experienced certainly supports this statement. The idea for following the Santa Fe Trail was rooted in Eleanor’s desire to make Loretto’s legacy a…

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Fake News Along the Santa Fe Trail

By Loretto Community / August 5, 2019 /

By Susanna Pyatt In 1867, three Sisters of Loretto – Sisters Kostka Gauthreaux, Alphonsa Thompson, and Isabella Trealler – set out from Kentucky and Missouri to follow the Santa Fe Trail to New Mexico. There they would join other Sisters in the growing work undertaken by Loretto in the American Southwest. The three Sisters traveled…

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Unraveling the Background of Victoria Whitehair’s Sampler

By Loretto Community / June 6, 2019 /

By Susanna Pyatt One of my favorite objects in the Loretto Heritage Center collections is an embroidery sampler signed “Victoria Whitehair, Osage Mission, 1859.” Victoria stitched the English alphabet five times in different styles on a linen background, interspersing her lines with decorative patterns. She joined other female students across Europe and America in creating…

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Deus providebit: Loretto’s Legacy in Texas

By Loretto Community / May 31, 2019 /

By Christina Manweller We were met in El Paso by two sisters in a canvassed-top spring wagon. The driver looked like he had never known soap, water, or a comb. Finally we reached San Elizario after dark the same evening. When daylight dawned upon us, really my impressions were not very encouraging, as it seemed…

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