Make Donation
Home > Ministries > Loretto Extension Service

Loretto Extension Service concludes its Ministry

After many years of gracious service of helping thousands of students receive their high school diplomas, LES concluded its ministry this pasr August. Even though LES was officially closed April 24, 2016, at the Province Assembly, there is still some work to be completed. The Assembly was a good time to celebrate this vital ministry and to thank the founders,  the directors, and the teachers for their  invaluable contribution to this ministry.   

Since the program’s inception, over 60 IBVM sisters and many lay volunteers have contributed to this endeavorin some way whether they were retired or working full time.

Special thanks to you, IBVMs Mary Simpkin (left) and Mary Guillard (right), for their years of dedicated service to the LES ministry from its beginnings.


Thank you also to IBVM Marietta Brummel (left) (right) for her many years of service and direction and to IBVM Betty Crotty continued the ministry until its closing.


From the Archives—
“Loretto Extension Service began in 1968. The concept of providing correspondence courses for high school students originated with Sr. Mary Simpkin, IBVM. Her experience in secondary school teaching and administration made her particularly aware of the needs of students who were unable to complete high school courses and graduate. Although her initial idea was prompted by the increase of students dropping out of school because of pregnancy, other special needs were soon noted: students with long-term illnesses and students needing to make-up credits for other problems.

During the first year, Sister Mary Simpkin, Executive Director, and staff members Sisters Leah Mullin and Patrice Mooney gathered information from the Illinois Department of Education and existing college correspondence schools. The sisters presented their plan to the IBVM General Administration and received permission to begin. Armed with a borrowed $500 and supplies donated by IBVM schools, they began to develop courses of study in Religion, English, Mathematics, and Social Studies. Sr. Jane Cushing became registrar.

The sisters also contacted the Chicago Archdiocesan School Board, addressed the Principals of Catholic Girls Schools at their Fall Institute, and visited every diocesan superintendent in the State of Illinois, as well as contacting schools in the Wheaton, Illinois, area.

The first student enrolled in 1969. Sister Dorothea Harkenrider became the registrar and other sisters worked part time. After a request came from a senior boy who was too ill to attend school, boys schools were included.

In 1979, Sr. Patrice Mooney, registrar, developed a system of numbering students and courses and increased the number of courses. From 1992-2000, Sr. Jane Frances DuCharme, Director, computerized the entire process with the help of a data base program designer. Computerization enabled LES to send out monthly reports for each student and keep pace with the rapid growth of applications from schools in several states.”

Sr. Mary Simpkin joined the staff full time in 1989 and has worked with directors, Sr. Carla Golom, OP, and IBVMs Marietta Brummel and Betty Crotty.

Sr. Mary Simpkin   Sr. Frances DeMott Sr. Frances McCarron
Sr. Mary Simpkin, IBVM   Sr. Frances DeMott, IBVM Sr. Frances McCarron, IBVM Sr. Mary Alfred Guillard, IBVM
  Sr. Marilynn Marsh
Sr. Elizabeth Crotty, IBVM   Sr. Marilynn Marsh, IBVM Sr. Rosemary Lynch, IBVM Sr. Barbara Nelson, IBVM