Tuesday, August 6, 2013


From Gethsemani I continued my trek down the road to Loretto.  Loretto is the home of my mother, Anna Elizabeth Queen, but I don't know the area well.  By the time I was born in 1950 her parents had died and her stepmother and sisters lived elsewhere.  When my stepmother, "Nannaw"(Regina Young Queen), died in 1962 I remember attending her funeral at a little church in Loretto, and lo and behold, up on a hill I recognized the church: St. Francis.

I also thought I remembered that her husband, Will Queen and his wife, Georgie Veronica Cambron (my grandmother) were buried there.  I spent some time walking around the cemetery looking at the stones.  I could not find a Queen among them but there were plenty of Cambrons.  Maybe I'm mistaken, and the graves are at St. Mary's and not St. Francis.

I gave up looking for graves and headed over to the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Loretto.  These sisters came to Kentucky about the same time all the other Catholics were coming - the early 1800s.  They did not teach at the schools I attended so I did not know them well as I was growing up.  According to the history on their website, they taught the poor children.  I came to know the Sisters of Loretto through Sister Mary Luke Tobin SL ("Luke") and her friendship with Thomas Merton, which I have written about on my louie blog:
The Mary Luke Tobin Connection
Merton and the Nuns
Merton's Last Words
These are my kind of nuns.  They get it.   (In recent news: Along with the monks, these sisters are refusing access to their land for a gas pipeline - Courier Journal article is HERE.)

I had been over here a few years ago and wanted to look again at the artwork of Sister of Loretto, Jeanne Dueber.    Scattered around the grounds of the Motherhouse, and overshadowing the few pious statues, are these wonderful whimsical sculptures ...

 ... even the flowers are sculpted!

But the real thrill for me are the magnificent shapes that Sister Jeanne has fashioned from the branches and trees of Kentucky.  It is as if she has recognized a Truth in the land itself, and made that manifest in her creations.

These are on the front porch of the gallery, powerfully capturing the passion of humanity with the stuff of the earth.

Mind you, I'm walking around these grounds by myself, occasionally running into somebody and nodding a hello, but basically free to do whatever I wanted.  No one to ask what I'm up to or ask permission for anything.  All the doors are unlocked.

So I head up the creaky, winding stairs.


Much of the large art looks to be made for Churches or large settings, but there are small sculptures too.  The large sculptures have prices in the thousands of dollars.  You are asked to pay for your purchases by putting a check in a shoe box on the way out. 

I turned out the lights as I left the gallery.

Here are some more photos that I took at the Loretto Motherhouse that I like:

By this time I was hungry so I stopped at the store in Loretto.  The man working in the meat department made me a country ham sandwich on white bread with Miracle Whip.  He wanted to know who I was but didn't remember any Queens.  He was a Miles.  I had seen a lot of Miles over at the cemetery.  Cost of the ham sandwich and a bottle of tea: $3.10.


  1. powerful sculptures! astounding how the gallery operates.

    1. I think it is one of those secret places. Definitely off the beaten path.