Hope was the antidote that brought temporary patches of peace in her life. She hand-fed this hope with music, art, travel, journaling, taking classes, group therapy, and, importantly, with work that gave her contact with people. She courageously sought out four psychiatrists, one psychoanalyst, and two spiritual directors. The poetry of Emily Dickinson gave her an intimate kinship with someone else who had the same struggle. Loretta also learned that Mother Theresa of Calcutta wrote of her problem with depression. St.Therese of Lisieux had bouts of depression before her death that often left her unable to pray. Sir Winston Churchill spoke of “the black dog” that followed him. Despite the depression, Loretta never missed a day Loretta Juras was born at home on Straight Shore of work at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, from Farm, which is on the Choptank River near Suicide which she retired in 1990. She received a BA in Bridge, Cambridge, Maryland, in November 1927. History from the University of Delaware in 1966, Roman Catholicism and a Polish heritage were the bedrocks of the Juras family. Loretta was the sixth of Loretta tried antidepressants when they came on the seven children born to John and Lena Juras. Her market in the 1980’s. Until 1993, when Paxil arrived siblings were Lillian, Florence, Marie, Theresa, Jean, from Europe, she could not tolerate the drugs, Prozac and Leonard, the only brother. The children piled being one of the worst for her. Paxil was not effective into a horse-drawn wagon to attend mass at Our Lady at first. After several months, the pharmacist of Good Counsel Church in Secretary, Maryland. included the prescription “insert.” There she read: Loretta spent her childhood with an overwhelming “Some patients require twice or three times the feeling of being lost, utterly alone, and abandoned. regular starting dose.” After convincing her doctor to Her mother described her as a “nervous” child to increase the dosage, three weeks later the depression explain the anxiety and panic attacks. As early as her eleventh year, Loretta would go off by herself and In 1980 Loretta was professed in the Secular cling to a crucifix, while begging God to “take this Franciscan Order. She has served six years as cross away from me.” Biologically-based clinical Minister of St. Patrick’s Fraternity, five years as depression would be with her throughout her life. Treasurer, and two years as Formation Director. Leaving home at sixteen with ten dollars and a Backed by her own personal experience with spiritual small suitcase, Loretta took the bus to Baltimore, direction, Loretta has been persistent that the where she attended the Baltimore Business College Fraternity have the constant and loving care of a and completed the two-year senior secretarial course in nine months. Her pastor spoke with her about For the past five years Loretta has found inspiration entering a convent, and in August 1948, at the age of by spending an hour a week with a blind friend who nineteen, she entered the Mother House of Glen is paralyzed from the neck down as a result of Riddle Franciscans in Pennsylvania, with her multiple sclerosis. Loretta says she “is as helpless as youngest sister, Irene. They had both stayed for the Christ was on the cross.” Their time is spent with two year novitiate only, when she was advised to Loretta reading to her and feeding her black grapes or return home by a psychiatrist and “wear off the cantaloupe. Loretta also takes Holy Eucharist to habit.” When they returned to Straight Shore Farm, hospital patients and conducts weekly song and Irene had a total breakdown and was sent to a prayer hours at a Franciscan nursing home. psychiatric hospital. With the hundred dollars given Loretta has written of her struggle with depression to her when she left the convent, Loretta left for in a book entitled, Peace, the Finest Gift. She Wilmington after a couple of weeks. There she found continues to study and is struck that one in seven who work and began her search for healing. In less than a have clinical depression will commit suicide. She year, she “found an avocation in writing and invites anyone interested in talking or learning more producing the weekly radio program, Catholic Forum about depression to phone her at 302-571-8503


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