Who are the Loretto Movement? Jill Weber - 11 Sep 2018
My first exposure to the Loretto movement was several years ago, just outside Madrid.
I was leading a workshop on New Monasticism, and as the attendees entered, I was dismayed to see some were wearing clerical collars...
“Oh no!” I think, “Here I am leading a workshop on monasticism, and there are proper Catholics in the room who know loads more about it than I do!”
I swallow my intimidation and give the workshop my best shot. After the session, a man named Patrick approaches me.
“I am so excited we have these things in common!” His eyes are warm. “You must come to visit us sometime - we’re building a House of Prayer in Salzburg! A community of nuns have leased us a six storey building, and we are creating a centre for prayer and discipleship.”
A year later, I take Patrick up on his offer and visit the Salzburg Loretto House of Prayer.
“I hope you can be open hearted towards us crazy Catholics!” Patrick says, as he shows me around the facility. It’s still under construction, but in Patrick’s mind the dream is already a reality.
As we step carefully around the drywall and cabling, I see it through his eyes:
“Here is where our discipleship training school classrooms will be. Here are the dormitories for the students. Here is our prayer chapel and here is where are going to build a cafe for the community!”
The House of Prayer and the community that inhabit it are a combination of many different influences: YWAM, 24-7 Prayer, IHOP, Alpha, and charismatic Catholicism.
Loretto itself is a decades-old Catholic movement, dedicated to discipling young people. Their primary vehicle for this is prayer groups, scattered across Austria and beyond, spilling over the country’s borders.
Every Pentecost they gather eight thousand or so young adults in Salzburg to pray, play and obey.
Years ago, one of the leaders of Loretto was given a copy of Pete Greig’s book, Red Moon Rising. Since then, Loretto communities have added weeks of 24-7 Prayer to their rhythms.
A fast friendship between Loretto Movement and 24-7 Prayer was born and over the last few years we have spent much time with each other, visiting each other’s communities and attending each other’s events.
We’re so excited for the European Conference in Vienna this October in partnership with Loretto. Catholics and Protestants in the upper room of prayer, glorifying God and bringing forth His kingdom together.