Three Sisters of Loretto left Santa Fe, New Mexico, on June 22, 1864, and on August 1 opened St. Mary’s Academy as a school to counter the wild atmosphere of Denver City.
The sisters were valiant models of Loretto’s “pioneering spirit” undertaking an arduous five-day journey in a crowded mail coach from Santa Fe to found the school.
Sister Johanna Walsh’s diary gives a glimpse of starting SMA: “Well, school opened with quite a number of pupils, large and small, (twenty) and though we were so few, we were obliged to receive as many boarders as space could accommodate, Father Vicar General having promised their parents this advantage. We had to do everything ourselves. No help to be had just then. So with boarders and day scholars, classes of different grades in the school, music lessons and all the accessories of day and boarding school confronting us, we had besides to apportion all the house work and cooking, and reserve time for our spiritual exercises. Now, all this seemed enough to puzzle the head of an engineer. But no engineer being at hand, we made use of our own heads, and indeed, not only our heads, but our hearts and souls, to solve the problem. The expectation of shortly recruiting our number animated our courage, though it had reason to flag many times before that help came, still we went on quietly, as best as we could.”
To find out more about Loretto, visit the Loretto Community website.
My child takes great pride in his school. “St. Mary’s Academy,” he always recites the whole name!