By: CMM Evelyn Fugazzi, SCN
Loretta Mueller the oldest of four children. She had diphtheria and strep at the same time and almost died when she was in the sixth grade. Born during the Depression, her family was poor. Her father was a candy maker by profession and during the Depression not many people had money for candy. So he painted and put in coal for other people and worked at various other jobs to provide for his family. Her mother helped by doing wash, stretching lace curtains, and cleaning an office in the evenings. She would take one of the children with her to help. As a young girl Loretta would run errands and clean houses for neighbors in order to help out. Loretta’s parents gave the family what they could afford and while in grade school, she remembers going camping several times with a youth group.
After graduating from high school, Loretta wanted to attend the University of Cincinnati. Her mother and father told her they couldn’t help financially but that she could live at home without paying rent. She was the first in her family to attend college and to drive a car. In order to pay the expenses of college, she umpired softball, refereed basketball, and volleyball games. In 1949, she graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bs. Ed degree in physical and health education. After Loretta entered the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in 1956, her novice director, Sister Lucille Russell, started a sports program for the novices and that was the beginning of Sebastian Court. She was able to get donations from Bethlehem Academy in Bardstown, Ky.
Sister John Loretto made first vows in 1959 and her class was the first class to be in the Sister Formation Program. Since she had a degree, she was sent to teach eighth grade at St. Joseph School in Bardstown, Ky. She remembers taking a taxi back and forth to the school. She later taught in Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. In the summer of 1967, she was appointed director of Camp Maria. In August, 1967, she went to St. Mary’s Academy in Leonardtown, Md. as resident advisor of the junior and senior boarders. Her other assignments would include Belize, Nazareth, and India. She is now retired and resides with Sister Mary Monica Boll in Holly Springs, Mississippi. She states, “One can become busier after retiring!” Now she fills her day with volunteering to take people to the doctor, conducting Communion services, cooking meals, taking care of the house inside and out, and during the summer months she gives Mission Appeals for the SCN Community. Her life’s goal is to help those less fortunate and her prayers always include those living in poor conditions and situations.
Sister John Loretto says of her ministry, “I am very grateful for the many opportunities that I have been fortunate to experience while living in the Community of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. I have loved all my ministries and would have a hard time picking one that would be my favorite, but working with the Mayan Indians in the jungles of Belize, was the most life-giving for me. While in Belize, I was appointed Pastoral Administrator for 29 villages. Transportation there was a unique experience. At various times I rode a mule, truck, boat, shanks mare, and even a helicopter to make my rounds. The cooperation and welcome from those beloved people made it all worthwhile!”