Where does Loretto Belong? Loretto Belongs at the United Nations!
The Loretto Community is accredited with consultative status at the United Nations, where we advocate on the international level on issues important to the mission and goals of the Loretto Community at large. Informally known as “Loretto at the UN,” we use our position to leverage and elevate the insight and perspectives of those working on the grassroots level so that they may be heard in the international arena, allowing them to increase their visibility and influence global issues. We also educate about the United Nations and all of the ways we can collaborate with others to bring about positive change. Our work is one way to enact the Loretto Community’s mission of “working for justice and acting for peace” as it extends to both humans and all of God’s creation upon whom we depend for our daily bread.
Loretto’s presence at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City began with Edwin Mary McBride SL, who attended and reported on U.N. briefings for LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) in the 1980s.Then, Pat Kenoyer became interested, and together they created a proposal for the establishment of the official role of U.N. Representative, which was approved by the Loretto Assembly in 1991. Pat served as our first official U.N. Representative, with Edwin Mary as alternate, starting in 1992. From there, Loretto at the UN has expanded thanks to five additional U.N. Representatives and more than 40 volunteers of various ages, and has grown steadily in scope. We now advocate on many issue areas such as climate justice, peacebuilding, social protection, educating global citizens, and challenges facing women and girls. We are a part of numerous committees such as the Working Group on Girls, the Mining Working Group, and the Committee on Migration, all of which work to coordinate NGO (non-governmental organization) voices to maximize our persuasive impact. Typical activities include observing and reporting on U.N. activities, organizing and sponsoring educational events with other NGOs, creating curriculum to educate about the United Nations and acting in an advising capacity to various decision-makers at and around the United Nations.
Our most prominent event for many Loretto members is our participation at the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW), an annual international conference promoting girls’ and women’s rights. Every year, Loretto at the UN engages in extensive programming during CSW during which Loretto Volunteers, Sisters of the Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs), and Loretto and BVM-affiliated high school students come to New York to be a part of the event. While the CSW was greatly reduced this year (from two weeks to half a day) because of the coronavirus pandemic, we still hosted an intergenerational webinar and co-hosted two others. We also have been working hard on events engaging in the annual High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the upcoming 75th General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2020.
If you are interested in learning more about Loretto at the UN, please visit http://lorettoattheun.org/, where you can find information about our mission, past and current projects, and how to get involved. To keep up with our activities, follow our social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.