Loretta Thome, ASC passed away Friday, March 25, 2011. She was 91, and was a professed Adorer of the Blood of Christ for 70 years.
She was born July 27, 1919, the third child of Matthias and Catherine (Hilger) Thome, and was baptized the same day at St. Mark Church, St. Mark, Kan. Sister Loretta was a 1942 graduate of St. John’s Academy, a predecessor institution of Newman University. She entered the ASC convent at age 19, pronounced her first vows in l940, and her permanent vows in 1945. She celebrated her 70th year as an Adorer in 2010.
Sister Loretta had a long nursing career that began during World War II. She also spent many years ministering in hospitals at Stillwater Hospital in Stillwater, St. Mary in Enid, and St. Francis in Tulsa, Okla.; St. Francis in Carlsbad, N.M., and St. Francis in Washington, Mo.
She returned to the Wichita Center in 1975 and became the ASC community printer and a binder at Newman University’s Ryan Library. She worked at Ryan Library as a staff employee from 1975 to 1982, and continued working for the library as a volunteer from 1982 until it closed in 2002.
According to the obituary provided by the ASC U.S. Region Office, Sister Loretta’s childhood recollections included praying night prayers in German, attending daily Mass on school days, praying the rosary in Lent and October, and participating in the shared chores of the family farm, including carrying water for chickens and pigs, milking cows, and sitting on a horse-drawn cultivator or harrow. The obituary continues:
“She survived childhood illnesses, thrived at dances, parties and teen years’ fun, and said she knew early in life she had a vocation to become a sister. While she was receiving dental care which limited her from traveling too far from home, she told the dentist she was going to St. John’s, allowing her dental work to continue.
So, at age 19, she entered the ASC convent. Her comment sixty-some year(s) later was: ‘Talk about the Spirit being present and in a dental chair!'”
The obituary also notes that Sister Loretta discussed many aspects of her time as a nurse and how much happened or changed, including,
“World War II nurse shortages, 14 to 16 hour shifts, treating polio patients. Working in obstetrics and the nursery was a joy for her. Many patients remained in her memory and communications. Leaving active nursing, necessitated by her increasing loss of hearing, was difficult. She entered a new area: central service supervision. An article she wrote about hospital mergers and central service was direct, practical in content, but it was listening to her stories that were really fascinating. . . .
When she returned to the Wichita Center in 1975, she became the ASC community printer and a binder at Newman University’s Ryan Library then continued as a volunteer for many more years. She treasured a 3-month sabbatical (she said ‘vacation’) in our Brazilian missions. After retiring, she called her inventive activities ‘hobbies’: making rosaries, candles, and candy treats. She gave more time to reading and praying. She participated in community events, played word games with gusto. She believed that everything, everyone brought her God’s blessings. She trusted she could love each person whether she understood or not.
Preceding her in death were her parents, her brothers Wilfred, Raymond and Leo, her sisters Sister Mary Mark, ASC, Marie Meyer and Clara Hearon. She is survived by her brother Frank, her sisters, Delphine Wetta and Freda Andra, niece, Sister Therese Wetta, ASC, and many other nieces and nephews, and her ASC community members.”
Sister Loretta’s body was welcomed at the Wichita Center on Monday, March 28, 2011. In her hands was the rosary that her mother and father gave her at her first profession in 1940. A wake service was held at 7 p.m. on Monday. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday, March 29, in the Chapel of Our Lady of the New Covenant with Rev. Tom Welk, CPPS, as presider. She was buried in the community cemetery following the Mass.