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To Listen and Learn: Loretto Confronts Racism

Posted on June 4, 2021, by Loretto Community

From the founding of Loretto in 1812 to today, Loretto has sought to live out the meaning of these words, “We strive to bring the healing Spirit of God into our world and we commit ourselves to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression, and deprivation of dignity.” (“I Am the Way,” Loretto’s Constitutions, #33) 

For more than 200 years, the Loretto Community has remained focused on justice for all. In recent years, Loretto has asked its membership to consider the following: “We ask that all Loretto Community meetings include in their evaluations a question such as ‘In our actions (decisions, teachings, use of resources) have we acted to promote the rights of the poor and people of color?’” 

Loretto members have committed to engage in a “period of deep reflection, study and action during which time we will confront our own ingrained racism and, at the same time, reach out in solidarity and friendship to communities of color in support of justice issues.”

Stone memorial with bronze plaque that reads "In Loving Memory of Oblates and Other Slaves of The Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross"
The Loretto Slave Memorial was established April 25, 2000, at Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., to honor enslaved persons at Loretto locations, including the Motherhouse.
Memorial by Roberta Hudlow SL. Photo by Donna Mattingly SL

The call goes beyond the Loretto Assembly resolutions that have committed us to do the “critical work of recognizing racism as a systemic, structural cause underlying … multiple situations of injustice” with a “focus on the intersection of racism, migration and climate crisis.” 

We grieve with the citizens of Charlottesville, Atlanta, Florissant, Minneapolis, Portland, Waukegan and so many more places. We mourn with all who have lost loved ones, with all who live in fear, with all whose dignity is threatened by hate and violence. We lament the racism that continues to afflict our communities and threaten the values that we hold dear.

We acknowledge our own complicity in institutional racism. We commit ourselves to cleanse our hearts and rid our land of this evil. We promise to pray for our country and the world and to continue to use our voice and our energy to build God’s beloved community.

The Loretto Community, joining with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and many other faith communities, condemns racism in all its forms, whether it be the violent acts of the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacist groups or the daily acts of hate and discrimination that diminish us all.


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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!