Educated in Ireland’s National School and at the Presentation’s secondary school, Sister Mary Loretta had a keen sense of the practical. When she learned about the life of Catherine McAuley, she wanted to follow in Catherine’s footsteps and entered consecrated life. Sister Mary Loretta said, “I was also influenced by Catherine’s works in caring for the needy of her time.”
When she entered Mercy in 1952, Sister Mary Loretta was 10 years older than her companions. Her sense of “looking out for everyone” combined with her sense of hospitality guaranteed a warm welcome to guests in Auburn during her time of service as the hospitality minister.
Hospitality and tending to others were not her only characteristics. Sister Mary Loretta was blessed with business acumen. She worked in the business department of Mercy hospitals for many years, first as an assistant bookkeeper, then bookkeeper and finally as an accountant. Auditors always found her work exemplary. At first, Sister Mary Loretta did not find computers “user-friendly,” so she left her work in accounting and moved over to serve in patient registration. Here she had more direct contact with those in need.
Sister Mary Loretta was known to be community-minded. She was willing to go wherever she was needed. She was also gifted with the prayer of intercession. In her later years, she spent hours in intercessory prayer. She would bring the intentions of the prayer list to communal prayer and hold the sorrows of friends and strangers before God.
On her 60th jubilee, she said, “My life has been in the service of the Gospel. God has always given me the gift of His grace.”