Joliet Catholic Academy students were greeted with a surprise when they returned to school on last Friday, Aug. 19, for the first day of full classes. Upon entering through the school’s front doors, just to the left in the main hallway stands a new statue of St. Clare of Assisi.
The statue honors the memory of Sr. Loretta Tures, O.S.F., who served both St. Francis Academy and Joliet Catholic High School faithfully. It was generously donated by relatives of Sr. Loretta; Joseph and Mary Tures Grimes; John “Jack” Tures; Frances Tures Naal; Donald and Phyllis Tures; and George Tures.
The inscription on the statue reads:
In Memory of Sister Loretta Tures, O.S.F.
Principal of St. Francis Academy 1956-1958
St. Clare of Assisi in your Love and Holiness please protect our students.
Sr. Loretta taught History, Math, and Religion at St. Francis Academy from 1944-1952. From 1956 until 1958, she served as the principal of St. Francis Academy. Later on, she was fixture in the Guidance Office at Joliet Catholic High School from 1974-1990.
Sr. Dolores Zemont, O.S.F., general superior of the Sisters of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate, said, “This statue honoring Sr. Loretta is fitting because she ministered at both St. Francis Academy and Joliet Catholic High, the two co-founding schools of Joliet Catholic Academy.”
St. Clare of Assisi renounced her wealth as a young girl and became one of the first followers of St. Francis of Assisi. She founded the Order of Poor Ladies of San Damiano, which was renamed after her death to honor her as the Order of St. Clare.
St. Clare was canonized in 1255 by Pope Alexander IV. St. Clare was designated as the patron saint of television in 1958 by Pope Pius XII, because, when St. Clare was very ill, she could not attend Mass and was reportedly able to see and hear it on the wall in her room.
She is also the patroness of eye disease, goldsmiths, and laundry. Clare is often pictured carrying a monstrance or pyx, to commemorate the time she warded off soldiers at the gates of her convent with the Blessed Sacrament.
St. Clare’s feast day is celebrated on August 11. (Information on St. Clare can be found at www.catholic.org/saints)