Sister Loretta Rose


Brick from St. Peter and Paul Grade School

Through Facebook, I tangentially keep up with the news from the grade school from which I graduated in 1966.  None of my classmates from that year like the page, but some of the last names are familiar and I assume to be their siblings.  Through the FB page, I learned that the school had been torn down a few years ago, nothing but a small pile of bricks left for the sentimental such as myself.

A couple of days ago on FB, a woman says she was thinking about my 6th grade teacher – Sister Loretta Rose.  The woman said she knew that she had changed her name to Sister Margaret Zureick – and what’s that all about, new identities, life phases, etc.?


Sister Margaret Zureick

So the woman does some sleuthing and locates this nun who ministers at the St. Joseph the Worker Mission in Elk Horn City, Kentucky.  Here is a youtube link about the place.  That all got me to thinking about a few things.

  • If you do the math, the former Sister Loretta Rose was in her mid-20s and I was maybe 11 when she was my 6th grade teacher.  I always thought of the nuns as being so old.  In fact, looking back with over 50 years hindsight, we are much more of the same generation, nearly peers.
  • Within 10 years of my graduating from the school, Sister Loretta Rose gave up the teaching gig and plopped herself into the economically devastated coal fields of eastern Kentucky.  In fact, the urban blue-collar area of southwest Ohio in which I was raised was, and still is, largely a migrant Appalachian community.
  • To a certain extent, Sister Margaret Zureick and I ended up in a similar places – she in Appalachia, myself in an underserved African-American community in Memphis, supplemented with my  now regular gigs to the impoverished regions of the Peruvian Andes.
  • I have taken a bunch of detours along the way.  By the 6th grade, I experienced the freedom that alcohol brought from my childhood depression and angst.  I bounced all over the country with my self-will run riot leading the way on a path of destruction for nearly two decades until I started down a path of recovery.  Sister Loretta Rose seems to have started out as a young woman with a vision who has lived a life of service from the start – though I suspect the story is not really that neat and clean.

The woman on FB noted that Sister Margaret does not have an FB account, but she got the nun’s phone number, called her, and the good sister remembered fondly her time at our grade school and “talked her arm off.”

I feel a road trip coming on for the eight-hour drive to Elk Horn City to visit Sister Margaret Zureick at the St. Joseph the Worker Mission to find another piece of life’s puzzle.