BY AMY MALTZ
As of today on September 8, 2018 at 1:25 PM I have been a resident of Praxedes house for 3 weeks, 1 day, 16 hours and 25 minutes. In this relatively short amount of time, I can easily say that I am happier and healthier than I have been in well over a year; something that I truly could not have anticipated. Last August, myself as well as the other El Paso volunteers left a wonderful week of orientation at the Motherhouse to move into our new space and build community in a new place. Despite having such an incredible experience encompassed by love, compassion and welcoming at the Motherhouse, I left that week with a feeling of overwhelming dread. I was incredibly excited to explore a new city and continue to connect with my sweet housemates, but every time I thought of beginning my new job at The Opportunity Center for the Homeless, I felt as though my stomach was physically turning itself into knots.
By Melissa Feito
"Loretto gave me the chance to try. To experiment. To learn. And to really give it my all. And that professional and creative direction they’ve afforded me – it’s something I’ve never really had before in my life."
Melissa is back with her final installment for the Catholic Volunteer Network's Serving with Sisters Ambassador Series. You don't want to miss this one. Seriously.
BY JACKIE SCHMITZ
Since our closing retreat at the Loretto Motherhouse, I’ve been contemplating my feelings about Loretto and my year as a volunteer. I’ve also found myself contemplating why it is that people cry when they feel love.
This happens to me a lot, actually, and I’m hoping some of you can relate. When I reflect on people in my life who I love very dearly, and I think about how much I love them, I often spiral into a puddle of tears. It’s a feeling of being overwhelmed at how much they’ve touched me and how much I cherish them. It’s a feeling of undeservedness in which I don’t understand why they’ve shown me such pure kindness and love, yet I’m incredibly grateful that they have. And it’s a feeling of being accepted.
Loretto has made me feel all of these things. And while there are so many people in the Loretto community that are very special to me, I’d like to share a story about a particular Loretto, Barb Mecker.
BY SUSAN NICHOLS
I came into this volunteer year with a mix of excitement and timidness--in love with so many things, yet exceptionally afraid of who I might become. Who am I to believe I am important, I thought, or to believe I have something to say.
My time spent with Loretto has gently invited me to shift my perspective to see myself as worthy. I remember my first time on these grounds, meeting upstairs with the many other volunteers who I did not yet know. Mallory welcomed us by saying, “You can treat this as one of your homes. You can always return, even if you are away for a long time.” The ease of this statement-that the motherhouse as a physical place and Loretto as a spirit was big enough to hold all who needed or wanted to join, left an immediate impact on me. There was such trust that I had a place in this community, even if I myself did not yet trust that I was a part of it.
BY MELISSA FEITO
If there's anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that God is hilarious! She’s so freaking funny. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, just when you’ve let go of the rudder and have let the wind start carrying the sails, she says “Oh honey. Do I have something in the works for you…”
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!
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.