History of the Loretto Academy

Daily Life of the Students

 A typical classroom in the Loretto Academy.
A typical classroom in the Loretto Academy

In the Loretto Crescent Emilia Amador Garcia gives some examples of life at the Academy in the nineteenth century. According to Garcia the students led simple lives of lessons, recitations, and leisure activities. When lessons were recited the girls stood in a row, with the best scholars at the front and those who needed more help in the back. The time of day was measured with the help of hourglasses, and when the grains had moved to the opposite glass, classes were exchanged. In their spare time, the girls read, did fancy work and engaged in conversation. In May, devotions were performed in which the girls presented flowers to the Blessed Virgin, and the congregations said the rosary and sang hymns. During the last week of June, the girls exhibited their sewing and works of art, and performed plays and recitations; and every girl was given a reward for completing the school year.

The Academy's dining room
The Academy's dining room.

Elma Hardin Cain, who attended the Academy from 1934-1942 described life in the Academy in the twentieth century. The girls got up at six a.m. and in complete silence dressed, brushed their teeth, washed their faces, and combed their hair. Everyone would go to mass, then file down to the refectory and stand behind their chairs while grace was said. A bell would signal that students could sit down and talk and visit. After breakfast a bell would signal and the girls would stand up, give thanks, and then go in silence to make their beds. Classes began at eight a.m. and were held for the rest of the morning. At noon the girls would get in line and repeat their breakfast routine which was followed by recreation until one o'clock. Classes were held again until three or three-thirty and recreation was enjoyed until four-thirty or five. After recreation was study hall, and then supper at eight o'clock. The younger girls went to bed after supper, while the older girls would stay up until nine.

Information based on the thesis The Sisters of Loretto in Las Cruces: The Education and "Americanization" of a Frontier Community, 1870-1943 by Wendy C. Simpson.