Loretto Motherhouse


There are riches buried in these Marion County, Kentucky hills. Take, for instance, the Loretto Heritage Center, and its archives. Visitors may tour the Heritage Center, a world-class museum where the richness and heritage of the Sisters of Loretto are on full display. And visitors can access the archives, a carefully preserved collection of artifacts dating to frontier Kentucky. Don’t underestimate either one!

The Loretto Heritage Center is made up of two complementary halves, the archives, and the museum. The archives preserves Loretto history’s primary source documents from which the museum’s exhibit narratives were developed. And the museum, in turn, serves as the publicly accessible face of the Heritage Center.

The Catholic Sisters of Loretto and Co-members continue, to this day, their global activities. Justice and peace intervention, teaching, environmental issues, global hunger—there are Loretto Community members tackling these issues from Pakistan to Podukville, Anywhere at this very moment. And that’s what they’ve been doing since the Loretto Community founding in 1812. 

And that’s what you’ll learn about when you tour the museum. Walk through the doors and carefully designed exhibits will let you walk through history with the Loretto Community. Careful…don’t get placed behind a chainlink enclosure at a 1960s protest. And a carefully placed request gets you access to the archives, the documentation of the history exhibited in the museum. Journals, books, photos, documents, artwork, maps, furniture, statues, paintings, family history—the scope of it all can be daunting. But remember: It’s all carefully organized, categorized, preserved, accessible. 

Research topics can include things like:

~Genealogy research for family members of Sisters of Loretto.

~Early pioneer schools the Sisters of Loretto founded and staffed across the United States.

~Transitions in Catholic sister life following the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

Information you need to know…

How do you get there?

The Loretto Community in Marion County, KY, is located at 515 Nerinx Road, Nerinx, KY.


Regular hours:
Tuesday-Friday: 11 a.m. – Noon, and 1 – 4 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Winter hours (December-February):
Tuesday-Friday: 11 a.m. – Noon, and 1 – 4 p.m.
Saturday/Sunday: by appointment

The Museum is closed New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, July 4, Thanksgiving, Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

There is no charge for admission to the center, although visitors are welcome to make a donation. The center is wheelchair-accessible.

Group tours

For large groups, or for group tour arrangements it’s recommended you call the center’s director, Eleanor Craig, at (270) 865-5811, extension 3151.

To access the archives

To make arrangements to access the archives, contact the center’s archivist, by calling the same number, (270) 865-5811, extension 3151.

Other information

The website for the Loretto Heritage Center: https://www.lorettocommunity.org/about/motherhouse/heritage-center-archives/

The Loretto Heritage Center’s new blog can be found at  https://www.lorettocommunity.org/tag/loretto/

Heritage Center Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LorettoHeritage/

Heritage Center Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lorettoheritage/

And there’s even more for the visitor One thing you, the visitor, need to understand. When you visit the Loretto Heritage Center at the Loretto Community in Marion County…well…there’s much more to this thriving “community” than you might think.

~The Loretto Community has been a steward of its 788-acres since 1824. Driven by the Loretto Community Land Ethic, the acres include a working farm, woods, wildflower fields in conservation, and a Timber Stand Improvement Program.

To learn more, or to arrange tours, contact Cody Rakes, director of farm and land development, by writing motherhousefarm@gmail.com.

~The Loretto Community offers retreats on its beautiful Central Kentucky acres. The retreat centers website is www.lorettoretreatcenters.com/.

 For Knobs Haven retreat information write JoAnn Gates at knobshaven@yahoo.com. 

For Cedars of Peace retreat information write Susan Classen at cedarsofpeace@gmail.com.

~The Loretto Community in Marion County is home to world-famous artist Jeanne Dueber. 

The Jeanne Dueber Art Gallery page can be found at www.lorettocommunity.org/who-we-are/loretto-motherhouse/jeanne-dueber-art-gallery/.

And there’s much more…walking and hiking opportunities, musical performances in the stunning Loretto Motherhouse church, and outdoor sculpture viewing. The best way to try and get a grasp of it all is to visit the Loretto Community website, which can be found at www.lorettocommunity.org.