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Traveling Together in Loretto

Posted on September 1, 2016, by Pilar Gonzalez CoL

Irma Avila, Nancy Wittwer and Rita Bruegenhagen join Pilar Gonzalez’s students from Loretto Academy in El Paso at the recent robotics competition in St. Louis.
Photo courtesy of Pilar Gonzalez

My Loretto journey has given me nothing but a strong solid Community where I feel supported in my efforts to continue with my mission. I feel loved, no matter what my inadequacies are, and Loretto gives me enough options to keep working for justice.

Every time we have a meeting I feel we stop for as long as necessary from the daily effort of our lives. Then we become fully Loretto, our values alive among us. That helps us to get back in touch with the rest of the Community and feel again that connection that makes us Loretto.

Through this first year as a co-member, I have been able to attend several Loretto Community meetings. This past April 24 we had a Conversation Circle focusing on our Pakistan mission. This was the first time I had the honor to host such a meeting in my house.

At some meetings, we have people that sometimes deeply disagree or agree on the issue being discussed. It is inspiring to me how we are able to have such discussions and to know that that is the beauty of Loretto: being able to express with all your passion (or lack thereof) and still we all are very respectful of each other. That has given me the peace and confidence to know that no matter how different my opinion is, I will be listened to and will be taken into consideration always.

The Pakistan meeting I hosted was very special for me. Some months ago, I started listening about the Pakistan mission and the possibility of the sisters moving from one place to another. I couldn’t “see” or “feel” the great pain and chaos it brought to St. Albert’s, the Loretto Community, teachers or students. I just thought, “Well, we all have to move on and start from the beginning again.” (This was my initial, and, I thought, my final stance on the issue.)

However, after watching the video, the emotion the sisters showed, not only through their tears, and laughs but also in the careful way they chose their words to describe all the work they had done there, suddenly, I felt it was pretty much like me when I know chances are I will not see one of my students again. … Wait! It is even worse because they might not be able to see any of them again. Listening to the Pakistani sisters and seeing their faces made a tremendous impact on me. It reminded me of something Jacques Cousteau said: “You can’t love what you don’t know.”

How true his words are! Yes, yes, we receive emails, written communications about the Pakistan mission. Yes, we are aware that we are collecting some more monies for the water bottles. … This whole video and discussion made me realize how wrong I was about this new transition. Hello Pilar! They are teachers just like you. They feel for their students, parents, teachers and staff just the same way I feel about mine. We are working for exactly the same mission: to bring the best education possible to every single one of the kids we are blessed to teach.

I realize and clearly understand that the Pakistani mission is way more challenging than mine, so far away (geographically) from me, and perhaps I will never be able to help them in an important way. Yet now, I know and understand them better than ever. We are Loretto. Our mission goes beyond borders and languages and cultural differences. We are Loretto, and we will overcome changes because we care for the children, the voiceless and the ones that need us.


Pilar Gonzalez CoL

Pilar teaches fifth-graders at Loretto Academy in El Paso, Texas. She also serves as the school’s FIRST robotics team coach.
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Loretto welcomes you

Learn more or plan a visit to the Motherhouse!