THE LADIES of LORETTO
by Viga Boland
“The Ladies of Loretto”, unlike her previous two memoirs, is a story Viga Boland always dreamed of writing one day. This memoir is a nostalgic and humorous, tongue-in-cheek look at what it was like to attend a Catholic High School during the years of 1960 – 1965, when the nuns slammed a yardstick ruler on your desk if you were dozing off during Latin and made you kneel on the marble floors while they checked if your uniform wasn’t getting too short. It was the era of teased hair, American Bandstand, the “Twist”. There were no cell-phones or iPads. And when it came to sex-ed, well that just didn’t exist.
If you were a student at Loretto College School (Brunswick) at that time, you’ll recognize some of the teacher’s names. Maybe you’ll even wonder if that student the author is describing is you. But at the same time, you’ll have to forgive the author if some of the details and names are mixed up. After all, that was over 50 years ago now. And the author apologizes, but isn’t to blame, if the nuns pictured in this book aren’t wearing the habits you remember: the author couldn’t find photos on the net of even the school itself back in the 60’s. Remember, there was no internet then.
Below, a video of the formal book launch of “The Ladies of Loretto” which took place on the former convent grounds of Loretto College School Brunswick on May 30, 2015. This event was hosted by the current staff of Loretto College School as part of their Centennial celebrations. Enjoy Viga’s talk about how the book came to be and what preceded it. The video is about 11 minutes along, but at the end, you’ll hear the audience of former classmates and students singing “Blue is the Flag of Loretto” to bring the event to a fabulous close:
Viga hopes all who buy this book will enjoy this nostalgic romp through a time that was gentler in some ways, harsher in others. Whether you attended a Loretto school or some other Catholic high School in the early 60’s, you’ll no doubt relate to many of the feelings, insecurities, and joys Viga experienced. As one reader remarked:
“Viga, what a trip for me. Same education, same years, same mean teachers and adored ones (just different schools). Your book is certainly a true representation of those years at a Catholic girls’ high school . My heart ached throughout for Heidi, knowing what I knew about your home life. It’s incredible that you survived at all. It also makes me wonder who among us at Notre Dame were suffering the same fate. Viga, bravo! Not too long, not too short, just right.”
Add to that comment, this one made by one of the current teachers at Loretto College School:
“Well…it was quite the read! I loved it! It brought back some wonderful memories and continued to make me proud to be a “Lady of Loretto”. Thank you for sending those advanced copies. I started to read it in the afternoon and read an excerpt to my grade 11 class as they saw the cover of the book that I was reading and had several questions. They were excited that there was a book written about their school.
It was so interesting to follow Heidi, (your) journey as a Lady of Loretto. This memoir highlighted how much Loretto has changed (only a few Loretto Sisters left, none of which are teaching, graduation dances, uniforms, the Loretto song…) and how much it is still the same (girls still not fond of the uniforms, shorter hemlines, too short at times, the nuns would be cringing as do I at times, we had a retreat at the centre in Niagara Falls – that was fun especially when we had free time…). When reading your fond, not so fond and humourous memories I could definitely relate, especially to your curiousity about the nuns. We had our art classes in the convent and I was always so curious about the nuns quarters – several of their doors were open and you could see their neatly made double beds, very modest furnishings and at times you would even see one of the Sisters on her bed reading the bible!
I really felt for you on many levels with your situation at home (I’m vaguely aware from your website), and had great admiration for your courage and resilience.
I especially could relate looking back to my teenage years, that awkward phase, and currently as a Loretto teacher, with hopefully the right balance of compassion and toughness, watching the LCS young women go through similar things today sprinkled in with bullying, twitter, tumblr, instagram and snapchat…
There were so many things that captured the Loretto spirit or the “sisterhood” that I hope to recapture during the events for the centennial celebration in the upcoming months.
Your honesty, candour, and humour were greatly appreciated. I definitely admire the fact that you are a published author and ultimately followed and fulfilled one of your passions – writing.
This book is timeless – I made several connections to it and our girls today could learn about their history and would definitely be able to relate. This book will definitely be a resource that I will share with the current and future Ladies of Loretto.”
Well, what do you think? Curious to read “The Ladies of Loretto”? You can purchase the signed and printed softcover version, and/or the electronic version for your KINDLE or iPad or other e-reader in this website’s STORE. Viga Boland thanks you for supporting her by your direct purchase from this website. Enjoy “The Ladies of Loretto” and please leave your feedback on the comments section.