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The Importance of Mary, Jesus’ mother, to Loretto

Posted on August 15, 2022, by Loretto Community

Hail, daughter of God the Father. Hail, Mother of God the Son.
Hail, Spouse of God the Holy Ghost. Hail, Temple of the Blessed Trinity.

Excerpt from morning prayer used at the Holy House of Loreto, Italy, and prayed in Community in the Church of the Seven Dolors, Loretto Motherhouse
A bronze sculpture of a woman looking up and stepping forward with her hands reaching up to the sky. Trees flower behind her.
“Fiat,” sculpture by Jeanne Dueber SL
Photo by Peg Jacobs CoL

From the first rule, written in 1812 by Loretto priest-founder Father Charles Nerinckx, this prayer emphasized his deep devotion to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. It was prayed daily by thousands of Sisters of Loretto. This practice reminded the Sisters of the interdependence with God through Mary under her many titles.

The Aug. 15 feast of Mary’s Assumption is a feast celebrating Mary’s continuing call from God and her frequent “Yes” to that call. This feast is God’s call to Mary to come home, to come to heaven, to bring her joys and sorrows to God who chose her to be bearer of the Eternal Word.

More than 200 years ago, the title of the Community used by the Sisters of Loretto was “Friends of Mary at the Cross of Jesus.” On April 25, 1812, the new members received the habit under that title. The place of that first reception of the habit occurred in Father Nerinckx’s small chapel.

Wooden altar laid with a green and gold cloth, and with bronze and wooden candlesticks.
Altar in Father Charles Nerinckx’s cabin.
Photo courtesy of Loretto Archives
Small log cabin with yellow door and window, on a platform with a split log fence around it
Father Charles Nerinckx’s cabin.
File photo.

The chapel that Father Nerinckx built in Kentucky had the name “Little Loretto” in honor of Our Lady of Loreto in Italy. As was wont to happen, the Sisters’ name changed to the Sisters of Loretto to continue the devotion. But no matter which name the new members were using, the devotion to Mary grew strong and deep in the Sisters’ spirituality.

The feast days of Mary celebrate powerful intentions about Christian living for each Mary devotion brings us closer to the paschal mystery of Jesus. Mary’s life was distinguished, first as Jesus’ mother, but then as a woman of service and a woman of grace.

Next to Jesus, Mary’s response to God was always the most prophetic voice in the Gospels. Join with us this week on Loretto’s Facebook page as we take a look at the importance of Mary, Jesus’ mother, to Loretto.


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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!