Our Lady of Loretto Elementary School was first opened in September 1911, in a building one block from its present site along North Union Avenue, Los Angeles, California.
The true meaning of Our Lady of Loretto is Our Lady of the Home. Every image of Our Lady of Loretto is associated with the House of Nazareth, home of Mary, the Blessed Virgin. The House of Nazareth is the symbol of protection for the homes of all Christians.
In August 1921, the Sisters of the Presentation took over the staffing. A six-classroom building was constructed at the present location. The Sisters’ vision for the students was to go where they were needed and to serve in a variety of ministries. The Sisters of the Presentation preached through their lives and worked as missionaries and educators. They collaborated with others and used resources of contemporary culture to further the Church’s mission. In a spirit of joyful hope, they strived for the fulfillment of God’s reign of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace through the diverse experiences provided for the students.
In August 1974, due to personnel shortage, the Sisters of the Presentation withdrew from the school.
In September 1974, the Eucharistic Missionary Sisters took over the administration of the school with Miss Flavia Lopez as the new principal. Working closely with the administration of Miss Flavia Lopez were Miss Hermelinda Oliveros, Vice-Principal and Miss Maria Concepcion Castillo, Religion Coordinator. The Eucharistic Missionary Sisters established a strong foundation of discipline and religious values, which better prepared the students for the future.
In September 1977, Our Lady of Loretto Elementary School added the 7th grade and in the following year, the school set up an eighth grade program.
In September 1980, a kindergarten class was added. It was now a complete Kindergarten through Eighth grade elementary school ready to serve the needs of the community. A lay faculty has staffed Our Lady of Loretto since 1985. In June 2003, after 28 years of service, Miss Flavia Lopez retired as a school principal.
In September 2003, Miss Fidela B. Suelto, Principal, Mrs. Isabel Igoa Kuhn, Vice-Principal and Mr. Miguel A. Solis, Religion Coordinator, assumed the new administration and leadership of the school and officially began spearheading structural and curriculum changes that were necessary to update the school. The new administration has worked closely with the vision of Fr. Walter Miller and Fr. Eamonn Donnelly of the Divine Word Missionaries. Fr. Richard Casillas, SVD came in as the church pastor in January 2004.
The Divine Word Missionaries, founded by St. Arnold Janssen, is a religious order that has been given the opportunity by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to be the mandate of the Order’s mission. The Divine Word Missionaries work first and foremost where the Gospel has not been preached or heard, where the local church and school cannot survive or grow without the help of missionaries. The missionary community brings the Christian message to some of the poorest and most remote areas in the world. The needs of the local churches where Divine Word Missionaries and their service has become vast and diverse. From operating large universities, colleges and seminaries, to staffing hospitals, clinics and specialized communities to care for lepers, to running trade schools and shelters for street kids, to assisting local communities in building chapels - Divine Word Missionaries serve the poorest parishes in large cities of the developing world, and one of them is Our Lady of Loretto Elementary School. The Divine Word Missionaries make the school and its parishioners aware that we are a community of Jesus’ disciples, united in His love and sent by Him to all peoples. They emphasize that the profound needs of all peoples, cultures and races. The Church must be a community that extends a welcome to all people, building a unity that protects and appreciates the richness of diversity.
In July 2012, the Archdiocese sent Fathers Hieu Tran and Cristobal Guardado as diocesan priests came to serve Our Lady of Loretto. Since July 2012 Fathers Hieu and Cristobal have provided physical and spiritual formation for the community. In July 2014 Fr. Hieu was named a Pastor of the community.
In preparation for the huge celebration, a world wide web was created to call in back administrators, educators, parents and students as well as inform everyone about the continuous educational system provided for students and families. Mr. Gerry Gallagher, 1968 graduate created the website www.ollalumni.com in 2006. In May, 2009, the Loretto Alumni Donors (LAD) was created by Connie Paniagua Cruz, Class of 1956, with a goal of furthering the fundraising campaign to benefit the school and its students. Connie Cruz is an active member of the School Council Development Board which began on May 5, 2009.
The school is at 258 North Union Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90026. It continues to spread the Good News by keeping up with a quality education that surrounding communities seek. Our Lady of Loretto believes that a strong Christian education is an advantage for life. It provides not only a strong foundation in academics, but it instills in its students the religious values that are essential in our society today. To assist families in their finances, the school continues to offer scholarships such as CEF, the Catholic Education Foundation, CSF, the Children Scholarship Fund, the Gerry Gallagher Scholarship Foundation and the Loretto Alumni Donors (LAD).
Over the years, the involvement of parents and alumni has evolved to include not only financial support, but also active participation in the many school programs that Our Lady of Loretto offers. The programs include parent-teacher organizations as well as academic and extra-curricular activities.
The school and the church have worked closely in the development of the students’ faith through a strong religion program that promotes living up the Gospel’s calling, message, community, worship and social concern. Many generations of students have passed through the doors of Our Lady of Loretto elementary School. The administration, faculty and staff of the school hope that many of these generations if not all, received the Christian philosophy and strong fundamentals in their elementary education to further the cause of the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Loretto.