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

Loretto Responds to the Gospel Call for 210 Years: One Journey to Everywhere

By Loretto Community / April 25, 2022 /
Pencil drawing of a covered buggy with three passengers in it, with the text "2022 Pakistan. One Journey To Everywhere."

Followers of Jesus have responsibilities, and if they are smart they never do them alone. Loretto has been graced by God to become a community on pilgrimage. We have walked…

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Slaveholding in Loretto’s history: Honoring the sacredness of human dignity

By Loretto Community / April 23, 2022 /
A Black man, looking directly at the camera, stands shoulder to shoulder with a Black woman, whose eyes are closed. The photo has been made to look old, with the words "don't forget me, benna" overlaid in small text on the woman.

We gathered in our home church to see and hear with our hearts a tragic reality about our homeplace, that these grounds have been a place of wounding for many…

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The Sisters Who Left for Chicago

By Susanna Pyatt / February 22, 2022 /
Historical photo of handwritten census document listing Sisters of Loretto in Chicago in 1870

On June 9, 1864, a Sister once lauded as “the idol and admiration of all those under her care” walked out of the Loretto convent in Cairo, Illinois, taking with…

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Ritual of Remembrance and Sanctification at Loretto Motherhouse

By Loretto Community / February 6, 2022 /
Portrait of a Black man overlaid with red and yellow colorwash and text "lightening touches the ground"

The Loretto Community is pleased to share through social media some highlights of the Ritual of Remembrance and Sanctification that took place November 2021 at our Kentucky Motherhouse. Through this…

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“Christmas Always”: A Loretto Heritage Center Christmas Treasure

By Reba Weatherford / December 14, 2021 /
Red book cover. Title reads "Christmas Always and Rosemary's Wish."

The holiday season is once again upon us, and the Heritage Center would like to share one of the many treasures in our collection. The Heritage Center houses a large…

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Take a Break and Discover Rich History of the Loretto Community

By Loretto Community / December 13, 2021 /
Archival photo of a Sister of Loretto with her class in 1890

Located on the grounds of the Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., the Heritage Center houses documents and artifacts from the 200-plus year history of the Sisters of Loretto and Loretto…

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Flames of love and commitment burn on after war

By Loretto Community / December 8, 2021 /
Two women, one Vietnamese and one White, embrace and smile for the camera.

Standing with the adoptees … now grown By Mary Louise Denny SL There is often a deeply rooted need for a sense of belonging. Susan Carol McDonald SL knew this…

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A life lived for the sake of the other

By Christina Manweller / December 8, 2021 /
A woman cradles a dozing infant in this archival photo.

In May 1973, 28-year-old Susan Carol McDonald SL arrived in Vietnam to work with Rosemary Taylor, an Australian nurse who had been caring for orphans and arranging for their adoptions…

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Working toward healing

By Christina Manweller / December 7, 2021 /

Building a preschool in Vietnam Paulette Peterson CoL had started preschools in the U.S., so when she arrived in Vietnam in 1974, she went to work establishing a preschool at…

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A miracle meeting brings sweet tears

By Christina Manweller / December 7, 2021 /
Three men and two women stand together, smiling, for the photographer.

1973, Saigon, Vietnam, New Haven Nursery The newborn was dropped off at New Haven Nursery where Susan Carol McDonald SL was the director. She logged the baby into her register,…

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On the ground as the North Vietnamese army advanced

By Mary Nelle Gage SL / December 7, 2021 /
A young boy sits on the knee of a smiling woman.

Aiding orphans in Vietnam wasn’t new to Ruth Routten CoL, an American Airlines flight attendant who, on her days off, had escorted children from Vietnam to adoptive families starting in…

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Vietnam: answering the call

By Mary Nelle Gage SL / December 7, 2021 /
Three women, one holding a baby stand in a doorway in this black and white archival photo.

‘Get your passport, get your shots; I need help.’ Susan Carol McDonald SL to Mary Nelle Gage SL in June 1973 The Vietnam War gave rise to thousands of orphans.…

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