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Sister Loretta Mick, 83, died peacefully on March 20, 2013, in the newly opened Magnificat Unit at St. Clare Convent, Cincinnati, Ohio and in the loving presence of the Sisters living at the Convent. She served faithfully in the ministry of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor for 66 years as a teacher of religion, English, and music at several schools within the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on April 11 in the St. Clare Convent Chapel and burial in the Convent Cemetery.

Edna Martin and Herbert Mick made their home in Hamilton, Ohio and raised their nine children, four girls and five boys, as members of St. Joseph Church and sent their children to the parish school.  Loretta Jean was born on February 20, 1930 as one of the middle children in the large family.  The country was just beginning to heal from the great depression so the young family had to be frugal to provide for everyone’s needs.  Mother Edna had a unique way to prepare her daughters for their future as wives and mothers.  Her kitchen was always a busy place as she gathered the girls around her to teach them how to cook.  She determined that at a special age they could learn to make cookies, another mile stone was baking cakes and finally they mastered the art of making pies.  Of course, those who were waiting in the wings were anxious to learn new skills and tried to talk mom into advancing them sooner than their older siblings, but she maintained her predetermined schedule.

As a young child, Loretta contracted polio, which left her with one leg shorter and weaker than the other.  This prevented Loretta from playing the very active and physical games with her brothers and sisters.  Edna was determined to find an activity where her daughter could excel.   Scrimping together moneys from the household budget, Edna and Herbert were able to purchase a piano and pay for lessons, that proved to nurture Loretta’s natural talent and lifelong love of music.

As Loretta grew in age and grace, she attended Notre Dame High School in Hamilton and there began to discover that God was calling her to religious life.  After graduating in 1947, Loretta left the familiar surroundings of her family home and joined the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor in Cincinnati, Ohio on August 15.   When she received the habit of her Congregation, she was given the name Sister Therese Carmel, the name that her students from the Aspirancy and other early teaching experiences continued to call her until her death.  Sister returned to her baptismal name in the late 60’s when the opportunity presented itself.  Sister continued in the Congregation’s formation program and professed her First Vows on May 3, 1950. Sister made her Perpetual Profession on May 3, 1955.

As a temporary professed Sister, Loretta taught Latin, English, religion and music in the Aspirancy and attended Edgecliff College part time where she eventually earned a degree in Fine Arts.   During an interview with Sister Paula Huecker, Sister Loretta described her love for assisting high school girls to discern their vocation.  The rules that governed student –teacher relationships were very strict at that time and their conversations were to be limited to their studies.  Regardless of the rules the students had personal things that they wanted to explore with an adult.  One student asked Sister Loretta to pray for her sister who was attracted to “a nice young man.”  Sometime later Sister learned that the nice young man was her brother Robert.  The prayers were answered when Robert and the student’s sister were married. 

When Fr. Herman Kenning joined the faculty of the Aspirancy, he became a mentor for Sister Loretta and eventually the two became close friends.  Teaching at various schools and in a variety of settings throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati remained Sister Loretta’s primary ministry until her retirement in 1995.  Her musical talent was shared with the members of the Congregation and visitors who joined the Sisters for Sunday or daily Mass in the Convent Chapel at St. Clare Convent.  Her alto voice helped keep the hymns within the range of most voices.   She taught the young Sisters the basics of music theory and demanded perfection when singing the praises of God.  Sister Loretta had a passionate love for God and the scriptures and earned a Masters Degree in Church Documents and Sacred Scripture from St. Mary/Notre Dame University in 1969.

Following the Second Vatican Council, the Sisters had more freedom to participate in a variety of activities.  Sister Loretta continued to express her musical talent by auditioning for and becoming a member of the choir that performed with the Cincinnati Philharmonic Orchestra in the historic Music Hall.  The choir was composed of people from throughout the local area giving Sister the opportunity to nurture her love for classical music and to learn the music of the great masters.

Having had polio as a youngster, walking was always a challenge, but Sister Loretta was always seen in the hallways with a smile on her face and a hearty laugh when someone shared a funny story or joke.  She showed interest in the activities of others.  As the years carried her into her seventies and eighties, the after effects of polio began to limit her physical activities.  She experienced increasing vision and hearing problems; but you knew that she was always ready to greet visitors with a warm smile and tried as best she could to engage them in conversation.  She moved to the Mercy Franciscan Terrace where she could receive the assistance she needed. 

When the third floor of St. Clare Convent was adapted to provide assisted living for the Sisters, Sister Loretta was one of the first to become a member of the Magnificat Community.   Sister Loretta was delighted to be “home” again.  Ten days after the “big” move, Sister Loretta joined her Beloved Savior in her heavenly home.

Sister Loretta, although we can no longer see your swinging gait walking the halls of St. Clare Convent, we remember you with love.  We can imagine you enjoying all the activities that your disabilities once kept you from performing.  God must have needed another singer, musician and dancer when you were invited to join the heavenly choir and left us with a spring in your step to join your Creator. Now that you see God face to face, please remember your Sisters, family, friends and others whose lives you touched on earth and one day welcome us to join you in the heavenly choir.

Sister Arleen Bourquin, SFP

published may 16, 2013