By MARNIE McALLISTER
Record Assistant Editor
NERINX, Ky. — The Sisters of Loretto dedicated an updated and expanded Heritage Center late last month as part of their bicentennial celebration. The center, located in the former auditorium on the motherhouse grounds in Nerinx, Ky., was opened to the public on April 30.
It includes museum-quality exhibits depicting the sisters’ history and ministries and an archive where documents and other artifacts from the sisters’ history have been preserved.
“It is our hope that it’s a place where people will come to visit to celebrate their heritage as well as our heritage,” said Sister Cathy Mueller, president of the Sisters of Loretto. “I would think people in the area would appreciate seeing something that was started here in Kentucky. It would be a wonderful place to bring a class studying the history of the area or even a religion class — to see how something begins and how it evolves.”
The center features an audio-visual room where three videos currently are shown; a pictorial timeline of the sisters’ history and several exhibits that show artifacts and photos from the sisters’ past.
In the center of the main exhibit room stands a black habit, formerly worn by one of the sisters, displayed on a mannequin. A special display and mirror allows the viewer to see a reflection of themselves in the habit.
Another exhibit contains the desk and a few other items that belonged to Father Charles Nerinx, a Belgian priest who helped the first sisters to form their community and wrote their rules. Other displays show photos and histories of the sisters’ many schools, foreign missions and the work they’ve pursued to the present day.
Two Apple computers also have been set up in the center to collect archival information from today’s sisters and co-members. They are invited to enter information about themselves and about their work with the Loretto community.
The center also highlights the community’s heritage with several art-pieces created by sisters and co-members.
The community’s archivist, Sister Kate Misbauer, said the center has not yet established regular visiting hours, but individuals and groups are invited to call the motherhouse to make an appointment. Several sisters serve as tour guides. The motherhouse may be reached at 270-865-5811.