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Galway nun embraces podcast technology – at the age of 90

When they sent out the memo that retirement was supposed to mean taking things a little easier, Sr Loreto McLoughlin’s must have been delivered to the wrong address.

Having served as a Mercy Sister since 1952, at various times as a teacher, school principal and head of her Order in the Diocese, she first went on to embrace a voluntary career as a literacy advocate – and then she started writing.

More than half a dozen books later and having hit 90 in July, she has now turned to podcasts, with her first series already on Spotify and work already underway on a second one.

The funny thing is that, for someone who has spent 70 of her 90 years as a nun, Sr Loreto doesn’t really like the word ‘nun’ at all; she’s happier to regard herself as a Mercy Sister, following in the footsteps of the order’s founder, Sr Catherine McAuley.

“It was the impression I had of the nuns; that they never married, they never had a home of their own and they never had children,” she says.

“Then when I went to school in Ballinasloe, they were Sisters – and Mother McAuley was a Sister and loved to be out and about among the people and that was more in my mind.”

But for the 90-year-old, who was born Evelyn McLoughlin in Ahascragh, getting out and about has taken on different meanings at different times in her life.

From working in the County Home in Loughrea as a postulant, life as a teacher across the county and becoming school principal in St Raphael’s in Loughrea and working for almost a decade with Galway Rural Development, it was only in what others call retirement that she wrote the first of a string of books.

Now she has embraced a newer medium. Women Made a Difference does what it says on the tin; it tells the story of a host of unsung heroes whom Sr Loreto encountered at various times in her life. All shared two characteristics – they weren’t ever famous, but they definitely left their mark.

Caption: Sr Loreto McLoughlin on the grounds of Croí Nua, the retirement complex for Mercy Sisters, on Rosary Lane off Taylor’s Hill. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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