A memorial Mass for Loretto Sister Elaine (Mary Assumpta) Satterwhite will be celebrated at a date to be determined at the Church of the Seven Dolors on the grounds of Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky. Sister Elaine died June 3 at Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary. She was 84 and had been a Sister of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross for 56 years.
Born March 23, 1934, in Denver, Sister Elaine entered the Loretto novitiate in 1952. She was received into the congregation April 25, 1953, donning the habit and taking the name of Sister Mary Assumpta. She made first vows May 24, 1955, and final vows Aug. 15, 1958. Sister Elaine earned a bachelor’s degree in music in 1957 from Webster College in Webster Groves, a master’s in organ performance in 1963 from DePaul University in Chicago and a doctorate in organ performance in 1976 from the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Sister Elaine taught in the music department at Webster College from 1957 to 1970. She then moved to the Denver area to begin work on her doctorate. Interest in the Civil Rights Movement prompted her to seek and receive a dispensation from her vows in 1972 to teach at Morehouse College in Atlanta. She re-entered Loretto on April 13, 1983, and renewed final vows May 26, 1985.
While at Morehouse, Sister Elaine used sabbatical grants to travel to South Africa and study African music and the social effects of apartheid and racism. She retired in 2000 from Morehouse, then served as Visiting Professor of Music for a year at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa.
In her later years, Sister Elaine also engaged with Loretto’s newest members from Pakistan. She traveled twice to Faisalabad, Pakistan, to live for extended months with the Loretto Community. Sister Elaine moved to Loretto Motherhouse Infirmary in 2017.