Who are Loretto Volunteers? Loretto Volunteers are young women and men (ages 21-30) who are committed to social change. The program is rooted in Catholic social teaching, but volunteers come from many different faith traditions. LoVos are open to exploring spirituality, social justice activism, simple living, and life in community. Most volunteers are recent graduates of undergraduate or master's programs--but that's not a requirement. In addition, LoVos are interested in forming meaningful intergenerational relationships with Loretto Community members. They are ready to take on a full-time job AND put in the time outside of work to develop rich connections and form reliable, trustworthy community spaces.
What do they do? Volunteers work 40 hours per week at a social justice organization in St. Louis, Washington, D.C., Louisville, or New York. One volunteer might work in a gay-positive Catholic ministry, another might work in a women's transitional home, yet another might spend their time running around to different advocacy meetings at the United Nations. Some positions are in organizations run by Loretto members; others are unaffiliated with the community. ALL are rooted in justice and peace work. We pride ourselves on placing volunteers at the front lines of struggles for equality and justice through direct service and advocacy. See our full listing of sites.
What is the commitment? Volunteers commit to 11.5 months of full-time work at their placement while also participating fully in community life in the volunteer home and with Loretto Community members. Intentional community takes time to build, so volunteers commit to weekly community nights with their housemates to explore the program's core values, as well as regular house "business meetings" and monthly Loretto gatherings.
What is the Loretto Community? The Loretto Community is an order of vowed Catholic sisters. The Community also includes co-members, men and women who align themselves with Loretto values without taking formal vows. Founded in central Kentucky in 1812, the Sisters of Loretto opened schools to serve the rural poor. More than 200 years later, they are still committed to social justice through education, but have taken on many other causes as well, including disarmament, pipeline protesting, and immigration reform. The Loretto Volunteer Program is an extension of Loretto's mission to "work for justice and act for peace."
Where do volunteers live? Volunteers live together in community homes called Junia House in Washington, D.C. and Tobin House in St. Louis. We only place one volunteer in New York (usually a second-year LoVo) and they live at Menno House. We are in the process of opening a volunteer house in Louisville, KY!
When do they serve? In 2018-2019, the volunteer year runs from August 10, 2018 to July 26, 2019.
When are applications due? February 1, 2018 is our priority deadline for applications. We will conduct a first round of interviews and placement-volunteer matching after that date. Second-round applications are due on April 1 and we will place applicants on a rolling basis after that date. Feel free to contact our staff at any time to find out if your placements of interest are still available.
Do volunteers get paid? Loretto Volunteers explore the simple life by living on a small monthly stipend. They are paid $125/month personal stipend, and an additional $110/month for food and house expenses, which they are asked to pool into a common pot with housemates. Sharing food expenses builds community and helps keeps costs lower. Volunteers are also given adequate funding to cover the cost of commuting to work, and are offered health insurance. Volunteers often find that a lifestyle with minimal expenses can be challenging but also healthy, sustainable, and life-giving.
Do I have to be Catholic? Absolutely not! Though the program is rooted in the Catholic social justice tradition of the Sisters of Loretto, we proudly accept volunteers of any faith or spiritual background. The program seeks volunteers who are interested in engaging their spirituality, however they define it, during their service year.
My organization is interested in receiving a Loretto Volunteer. What do I do? Email us! We are always interested in expanding our volunteer placement sites in Washington, D.C., St. Louis, and Louisville. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Loretto Volunteer Program email@example.com New York, NY | Washington, DC | St. Louis, MO | El Paso, TX