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.
In September 2007, my 8th grade teacher pulled me aside one day to ask if she could submit my name for a scholarship offered by one of the local Catholic high schools. She would handle the nomination paperwork; all she needed was my permission. I said yes, and put the conversation out of my mind. I had just finished my visit to a different high school, confident & happy that it would be my first and only choice. Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later my parents receive a phone call from Nerinx Hall, wanting to set up a time for a scholarship interview and would I like to set up a visit to the school beforehand!
At first I wanted to refuse. I hadn't even heard of Nerinx before, and they certainly weren't going to talk me out of my first choice school, scholarship or no. Mom quickly overruled me, and a date & time were set for my visit and interview.
The moment I stepped through Nerinx's front doors a feeling of rightness washed over me. I felt at home, and the feeling only grew stronger as the day continued. By the time the interview ended, I had been convinced: Nerinx was where I needed to be. To this day I can still tell you who my student guide was, and who conducted my scholarship interview, so strong was Nerinx's first impression on me.
What is it about Nerinx-and Loretto-that makes it so special? For me, it's best summed up by this line in Nerinx's philosophy: "A woman must know her self and her world". Every student that comes to Nerinx is believed to be capable, no questions asked. What a gift that is for a young woman to have during her teenage years! To have teachers and mentors who take you seriously, who help nurture your talents and make your ambitions a reality. That mentality does amazing things for one's self-esteem and sets a wonderful foundation for success. And having met young women from the Denver and El Paso Loretto schools, I can confidently say that this idea isn't unique to Nerinx.
Loretto's gift to all who encounter it is that same belief, that people have in them the capability to make their visions a reality. It's why Loretto continues to be rooted and active in all manners of social justice, why Loretto has thrived for 200+ years. That powerful belief is one that continues to motivate me in all I do, and is Loretto's legacy for all who have been, who are, and who will be touched by Her Spirit.
Mary Louise Pabello is from Creve Couer, MO and graduated in 2016 from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO with a degree in history. Last year, Mary Louise volunteered at the Interfaith Committee on Latin America in St. Louis (IFCLA). This year, she’s helping to represent Loretto at the UN in New York.
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.