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The Sisters of Loretto have had a major presence in Kentucky and in Marion County in particular for hundreds of years. From their beginnings, they have sought to better the communities in which they work in a number of ways.
Some of those ways have been more prominent than others, such as their work as educators. Visitors are welcome to walk around the grounds of the Motherhouse, located just outside Loretto. They offer retreat space for groups and for individuals as well.
But another service they offer has been more subtle.
Over the last 15 years, the Motherhouse has been a haven for budding musicians and seasoned professionals. When a musicologist willed a piano to the sisters in 1995, they wanted to find a way to share it with others.
After a performance by two music professionals from the University of Louisville, the Motherhouse quickly became known, at least to Kentucky's music educators, as a place where musicians could be nourished. Today, instructors, students and visiting performers from as far away as Europe and Asia have demonstrated their talents for the nuns.
The church at the Motherhouse offers incredible acoustics. All the musicians contacted by the Enterprise spoke about how good the environment is, and more than one talked about the way the sound comes back to them as they are playing.
The audience, while often small, is both appreciative of the performers and knowledgeable about music. The Sisters of Loretto have several musicians, music teachers and music fans within their community.
Members of the public are welcome to attend these performances as well, although very few of them - of us - actually do.
But as much as anything, the Motherhouse provides an opportunity for musicians to grow. It allows them to share their work with others. It provides them with feedback, and it allows them to gain experience performing for an audience, which is something most, if not all, musicians desire.
The next time you see a notice for a concert at the Motherhouse in our community calendar - and we know there will be more - look at your own schedule. The concerts generally last about an hour, maybe a little longer, according to Sr. Mary Swain, who serves as the master of ceremonies for the performances. It would be worth your time to attend at least one.
It's been said that music is good for the soul. Maybe the Sisters of Loretto are helping prove it.