December 3, 1917 ~ May 15, 2010
Sister M. Loretta Petit OP died after a short illness at the age of 92 at Hospice on Saturday May 15 2010. Sister was born in Doylestown OH on December 3 1917 the daughter of the late Charles and Celena Petit one of eight children. Sister Loretta graduated from Warren G. Harding High School Warren OH in 1935 and entered the Sisters of St. Dominic of Akron from St. Mary Parish Warren that same year. She made first profession in 1937. Sister Loretta Professor Emerita University of Dayton is a scholar teacher and world traveler. Living in Chicago for ten years she was a member of the team of Dominican men and women who have been writing an integrated history of the Dominican Order in the United States. The name by which the research is known is Project OPUS (History of the Order of Preachers in the United States). In 1994 she authored a book on the first bishop of Ohio Edward Dominic Fenwick O.P. entitled Friar in the Wilderness. This book is significant because it brings out the original foundations of Dominican women and men in the United States. In 2001 as associate editor and co-author of five chapters Sisters Loretta published Volume I of Dominicans at Home in a Young Nation: 1786-1865 The Order of Preachers in the United States; A Family History. Sister Loretta began her teaching career at St. Bernard School in Akron. She was teacher and principal at St. Vincent High School Akron and a faculty member of St. John College in Cleveland. She earned her MA in American History at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC. After receiving her doctorate in Foundations of Education from Western Reserve University in 1966 she joined the University Of Dayton School Of Education in 1968. Sister Loretta was exchange professor at the Catholic College of Education in Sidney Australia in 1983 and at Federal University of Parana Brazil in 1989. She studied Comparative Education at Teachers' Centers London England; Marxist Education in the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China and Church-State Relations in New Zealand. Sister Loretta has served her congregation in many leadership capacities. In 1967 she was appointed Director of Novices. She was elected First Councilor in 1969 and served as a member of the Council until 1973. She was a member of the Education and Apostolate Commission; served as a member of the Elms School Board and a member of the Finance Commission. For many years she served as Assembly delegate and was a member of the Program Committee during 1992-93. Sister Loretta returned to Our Lady of the Elms Motherhouse in 2006 where she continued to perform service in various capacities. In 2007 she celebrated her 70th jubilee as a Dominican. Sister was preceded in death by brothers Cletus George Elmer and Walter; sisters Marcella McMillen Leona Reeves and Marie Hook. She is survived by many nieces nephews grandnieces and grandnephews. Calling hours will be held at the Our Lady of the Elms Convent 1230 W. Market St. Akron on Monday May 17 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. with Wake Service at 4:00. Mass of Christian Burial is on Tuesday May 18 at 9:30 a.m. in the convent chapel. Burial will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery. Memorial donations in memory of Sister Loretta can be made to Dominican Sisters of Peace 2320 Airport Drive Columbus OH 43219-2098.