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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

Answering the Call To Serve: Loretto Missions in Latin America

By Loretto Community / May 10, 2021 /
Archival photo of two sisters in habit waving from the door of a plane.

At the Loretto Assembly in 1958, six years after the last Sister of Loretto returned from China, Loretto members called for the Community to continue its work in the missions. The pope had called for religious congregations to send personnel to Latin America. And Loretto answered.  Just as we did before sending our Sisters to…

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Loretto Foundation Day Celebration 2021

By Loretto Community / April 27, 2021 /
Rustic cabin with a porch is seen through a greenish lens. Image text in upper left reads "Foundation Day 2021 Sunday, April 25th" Loretto Community patch in green, lower left. "The Spirit of 1812" in lower right.

Loretto celebrated its Foundation Day – April 25 – with memories, snapshots, reflections and sharing, including this video on “The Spirit of 1812.” Enjoy!: 

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Loretto: A Community on Pilgrimage, Following God’s Call Together for 209 Years

By Loretto Community / April 19, 2021 /
Rustic cabin with a porch is seen through a greenish lens.

Loretto has been graced by God to become a Community on pilgrimage. We have walked together and believed in each other on every journey we have undertaken. Some journeys are impossible to do alone. On occasion, one person would be called to a new work. She would do it and return to tell the story.…

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The Mission Bell Repair

By Sister Anndavid Naeger SL / March 9, 2021 /
A large bell hangs outside on a wooden beam held up by two wooden posts. A cross sits atop the beam.

“We found the large cedar tree in the holler near the Valley House,” said Robbie Lyvers. It had been felled during what then Gov. Steve Beshear had called “the biggest natural disaster in modern Kentucky history — the ice storm of January 2009.” Robbie, along with Joe Graves, worked for days to get the tree…

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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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