Larkin Lineage: John Jr-John-Michael Jr-Michael

Sister Loretta "Dolly" Larkin was born September 28th, 1923, to Nebraska State Senator John "Jack" Larkin Jr, and Loretta Ryan Larkin, the third child of their six, with three sisters and two brothers. Loretta entered the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on September 8th, 1941. She professed first vows on March 19, 1944, and final vows on August 15, 1949.

Sister Loretta was an elementary school teacher in Des Moines and Council Bluffs, Iowa; Chicago, Illinois; Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; and Kalaheo and Kealia, Kauai, Hawaii. She was a religious education director and coordinator and served as pastoral assistant in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico; Boulder, Montrose and Arvada, Colorado; and Peoria and Phoenix, Arizona.

Sister Loretta Larkin, BVM (Amata) died December 18th, 2010, in Dubuque, Iowa, and was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Gene and Philip; and a sister, Mary Jane. She is survived by a brother, Jack Larkin, Scottsdale, Arizona; sister, Florence Crompton, Greeley, Colorado; sister-in-law, Mary Larkin, Omaha, Nebraska; and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral Reflections by Gracita Daly, BVM
Marian Hall Chapel, December 21, 2010

When I remembered that Loretta Larkin’s father was a funeral director in Omaha, Nebraska, I wondered what he would think of our beautiful funerals here! Loretta was the third child of John and Loretta Larkin’s six children. Early in her life, her sister called her “Dolly” and the name stayed with her. Now her brother Jack lives in Arizona and her sister Florence Compton and a niece Theresa Barr live in Colorado.

Both Loretta and I entered the BVMs in 1941, so I knew her for a long time. After profession, she taught for many years and then spent 20 years in fulltime religious education and parish ministry. Sister Mary Amata was her religious name.

I read Loretta’s reflection on her own life. It certainly exemplifies what is said in the gospel of today’s Mass. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain. Love one another.” Loretta’s “fruit” remains in the many places she ministered. Loretta’s career was in Nebraska with an interim of eight years in Hawaii. After a year of study, her ministry changed to religious education. In 1979, I was the principal of St. John School in Lincoln, Nebraska. In addition to the 375 children in the school, I supervised the religious education program of 600 children. Overwhelmed, I invited Loretta to take over the religious education program. That was the beginning of her 20 years as pastoral assistant and religious educator in Colorado and Arizona.

In expressing her philosophy, she stated, “I feel strongly that religious education, prayer and liturgical worship must be integrated in homes and in our parishes if we are to build strong faith communities.” Our congregation has lost a true BVM and for many of us, a close friend as well and an example to follow!



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