by Nancy Pineda-Madrid, PhD, Loretto Academy (El Paso) ’77
Nancy Pineda-Madrid is Assistant Professor of Theology and U.S. Latino/a Ministry at Boston College.
I graduated from Loretto Academy High School in 1977. As I look back over my life since then I am quite confident that I have had no educational experience that has influenced my life more than my years at Loretto. Loretto took seriously the importance of developing the whole person in an integrated manner by encouraging me to focus intensely on my own intellectual development, by fostering in me a deep appreciation of the humanities and the arts, and by calling me to prayer, my interior life and an ongoing relationship with God. At Loretto I learned that women could pursue and become whatever they put their minds to. Today I am one of a still limited number of Latina Catholic theologians in the United States and I teach at Boston College.
During my years at Loretto I met and studied with a number of girls from Ciudad Juárez and grew greatly in my appreciation of my own Mexican heritage. It was an enormous privilege to study with them, one I am grateful for to this day. In teaching us to value the whole person, Loretto took seriously the geographical and cultural context of the borderlands and instilled in me a love of this land that has had such a foundational impact on my identity. Recently I published a book entitled Suffering and Salvation in Ciudad Juárez, which no doubt grew out of my love for this land of my youth and early adult years.