May Peace Be with Them All

Not far from where I now live are the buildings of the old Catholic Loretto Heights College, opened by the Sisters of Loretto in 1891.  The whole campus has been sold and resold over the years, but the graves of 62 Sisters of Loretto are currently buried on the site in a quiet corner at Amherst and Irving.   They have been fenced off and protected for years in  their quiet corner, but now that the entire campus site is being redeveloped in to low income housing in the old dorms, and retail, other housing sites, with streets and sidewalks…it has been decided by the Mother House to exhume the old Sisters and move them to Mt. Olivet, the Catholic Cemetery in Wheat Ridge.   

There have been many protests…but ultimately, as I’ve told my non-Catholic raised friends, you don’t argue with the Brides of Christ!  😊  Just do it… All in all it will be better for the remains to be joined with other sisters and priests who founded and built this area. Back to their community, as it were.

This morning I stopped by to see if they’d started the project (was on my way to Home Depot), and happened on a representative from the Archdiocese of Denver in charge of the project…it was a serendipitous opportunity to have a long conversation about what’s occurring. It is all pretty fascinating…historical impact, religious rules, neighbors stopping by to talk (guilty)…the people enacting the move are in for a loooong couple-three weeks of work…    …HA

The exhumation begins this next Monday, and will continue each day 7-4, until completed.  Each plot will be hand dug by archaeologists/anthropologists trained in that sort of work.  A Sister of Loretto and a rep from the Arch Diocese will be onsite each day. The graves are almost all over 100 years old, so hard to say if even the pine boxes will remain, but they can determine by soil studies where wood is/was, bones are/were.  There is an unlikely chance they may come across an “incorrupt” body, one that has not decomposed, at which time all work would stop until they determine what that might have happened. Imagine THAT!   Interesting times, interesting work…those jolly ol’ nuns are probably enjoying the show.    I can just hear those high pitched, squeaky old voices singing “Now thank we alllll our Goooood..”

Will keep you posted…this is truly the end of an age…the Sisters of Loretto led the charge in the West in so many ways…all across the West. Determined women devoted to their mission.   Peace be to them in their next adventure. 

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