BY JACKIE SCHMITZ
As the end of my year with Loretto approaches, I, like many of my fellow volunteers, am figuring out where to go next and making a leap into a new chapter of my life. While the inevitable feelings of nostalgia and sadness linger as the clock ticks down, I also find myself steeped in excitement for the future Loretto Volunteers. Future Lorettos, here’s some advice on the adventure you’re about to begin.
BY MELANIE FARRELL
When preparing for my year of service it was hard to know what challenges lay ahead. I researched the program, I asked friends about their similar experiences, and I read blog posts written by former Loretto Volunteers. However, I found that there were many ways that people interpret their experiences, so I took every piece of advice with a grain of salt. It was not until I began working at The MICA Project that I was able to identify my own obstacles.
Much of what I do at The MICA Project involves client support. I do this by assisting the attorneys on an administrative end, which requires me to read many client testimonials.
I still remember the first day that I had to read through a client’s case file.
BY MARY LOUISE PABELLO
Many of you reading this are aware that I first encountered the Sisters of Loretto at a much younger age than most Loretto Volunteers do. I attended Nerinx Hall High School in St. Louis, MO from 2008-2012; but what you might not know is that Nerinx and Loretto ended up on my radar completely by chance.
BY JOCELYN TRAINER
In early March, my fellow Loretto Volunteers and myself were afforded the invaluable experience of attending the first few days of the United Nations Conference on the Status of Women (CSW). Full disclosure - I am a huge international relations nerd, and going to the United Nations was a dream come true. There were hundreds of panels to attend regarding a wide breadth of topics, such as the disproportionate effects of climate change on women to modern slavery’s impact on women and girls.
Budding radio journalist and Loretto Volunteer Melissa Feito takes a look at the charism of Loretto in her latest audio doc for the Catholic Volunteer Network's Serving with Sisters blog. Melissa quickly discovers that there really is no single, streamlined definition of the community's charism, but instead a chorus of voices backed by spirit and connection that bring their own gifts and insights to the table. Take a listen!
Dear New Loretto Volunteers,
Congratulations! Amidst the stress of application season and what I’m sure for many of you is your last semester of college, you made it to Spring. And you’ve committed yourselves to a year of personal, spiritual, and professional growth through the Loretto Volunteer program. Take a deep breath, pat yourself on the back, eat a piece of chocolate—you deserve it!
Last month, the 2017-2018 cohort of Loretto Volunteers ventured to the rolling hills of Kentucky for a weekend of relaxation, reflection, and community at the Loretto Motherhouse. It was a much needed respite from the January blues and a time to reconnect with the Loretto Spirit. We ventured in the pouring rain out to the Cedars of Peace Chapel (spend some time here, I promise you won’t regret it), where Mallory handed us each a packet of letters written by members of the Loretto Community. We read to the slow tapping of raindrops against the Chapel windows and I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging. I’m writing to you now to reflect on this sense of belonging I’ve felt during my two years with Loretto and offer some advice as you begin your time in the program.
“The passage of time within our current history, rather than restricting or constricting gospel vision, has revealed its capacity for expansion.”
BY JACKIE SCHMITZ
A year as a Loretto volunteer involves navigating a lot of transitions. For me this year has included a transition from college to post-grad life, a transition into a new home and community, as well as a transition into a new job in a new field of work. Transition periods are difficult because of the large amount of uncertainty they bring, but they also provide room for growth. At this point, I am halfway done with my Loretto year. I’ve already seen so much growth both in my personal and professional life. It hasn’t come without challenges, but I truly feel Loretto has helped me grow closer to the person I want to be.
LoVo Melanie Farrell traveled to the US/Mexico Border last year with a delegation led by members of the Loretto Community. While in Nogales, AZ, Melanie was introduced to several organizations providing services for and leading advocacy efforts with undocumented migrants.
BY MARY LOUISE PABELLO
So many things change in six months. And some stay relatively the same, as was the case for me returning to Nogales for the School of the Americas protest. Eight months ago I made my first trip to the border with Loretto's Latin America and Caribbean Committee–a trip that deepened my understanding of migration challenges as well as my own identity. This second trip was different, obviously, as we were there with a much larger group for a separate (though related) purpose.
“There is a wise madness in these walls.”
BY SUSAN NICHOLS
Of the many qualities I love about the Loretto community, my personal favorite is Loretto’s reckless spirit in the face of injustice. As the quote above shows, Loretto’s spirit demonstrates a daring that allows it to be wise. It lends a refreshing playfulness to encountering power that allows individuals to generate the creativity necessary to create new types of freedoms in the face of sustained oppression.
In Their Own Words
We invite you to get to know Loretto Volunteers and the program here. Volunteers introduce themselves and reflect on their experiences.