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Bottom row, left to right: Bette Harris, Anita Miles, Diane Elder, Fr. Greg Goethals, S.J., Kathleen Norris, Kathleen Duncan, Valerie Clifford. Second row, left to right: Teressa Syta, Ann Holmquist, Jackie Smith-Hastie, Anne Marie Scibelli, Rosalind Shumway
Loyola High Mothers Reflect on Lent with Best-Selling Author Kathleen Norris

Loyola High School of Los Angeles, the oldest secondary school in Southern California, hosted more than 110 Loyola mothers, faculty members, and alumni mothers at its February 23 Mothers’ Guild Day of Recollection at Clougherty Chapel. Featuring New York Times best-selling author Kathleen Norris, the theme was “Sunrise to Sunset: Finding the Sacred in Everyday Life.” The six-hour day of Lenten reflection and prayer was sponsored by the Feeley Family Faculty Endowment for Ignatian Spiritual Development.

“During this Lenten time of prayer and renewal, Loyola women come together to be inspired during a special day of reflection. Kathleen Norris’ motivating words set the tone for the retreat, emphasizing how to find God in our simplest daily tasks,” said Fr. Gregory Goethals, S.J., president of Loyola High School. “We are very thankful to the Mothers’ Guild for organizing this special yearly retreat and especially grateful to the Feeley family for underwriting the day which brought such a distinguished writer to our campus.”

Co-chaired by Diane Elder and Kathleen Duncan, the Day of Recollection included:

  • morning prayer
  • two presentations by Norris, followed by Q & A
  • reflection
  • the Holy Mass, celebrated by Fr. Gregory Goethals, S.J.
  • book signing of Norris’ The Quotidian Mysteries, Laundry, Liturgy and ‘Women’s Work’

During her talks at Loyola, Norris emphasized the physicality of human beings and the importance of avoiding isolation in a spiritual ivory tower. “Jesus is more likely to find us not when we are dressed up for Church at our prayerful best,” said Norris, “but when we are resentful and exhausted, in the middle of our daily drudgery, or when we are overcome by suffering and grief…when we are less full of ourselves and more receptive to God.”

Norris is an award-winning poet, writer and author of The New York Times bestsellers The Cloister Walk; Dakota: A Spiritual Geography; Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith; and The Virgin of Bennington where she explores the spiritual life. In 1986, she became an oblate, or associate, of a Benedictine monastery, Assumption Abbey in North Dakota. Subsequently, she spent two years in residence at the Ecumenical (now Collegeville) Institute at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota. Widowed in 2003, Norris divides her time between South Dakota and Honolulu, Hawaii.





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Loyola Institute for Spirituality (LIS), founded in 1997, is located in Orange, CA. LIS provides many programs and services for individuals, parishes, and dioceses throughout Southern California and beyond.