The Loretto Motherhouse property has been a working farm from the time Fr. Stephen Badin purchased the land in 1794 and named it St. Stephen’s farm. The land became sacred to the Loretto Community when the Friends of Mary at the Foot of the Cross moved to St. Stephen’s farm in 1824. It was from this sacred place that the Loretto journey westward began.
The farm is located in the Rolling Fork watershed and within the larger Salt River watershed. Both watersheds are within the middle Ohio River bioregion. The farm is in the geographic region of Kentucky known as the Knobs. The rocks underlying the soils in Marion County were deposited here between 310 and 500 million years ago when shallow seas covered this area.
Loretto Motherhouse farm (total) 788 acres
Woods (including recent tree plantings) 322 acres
Lakes (Mary’s Lake, Joseph’s Lake, and Badin Pond) 23 acres
Crop land 188 acres
Pasture land 174 acres
Native grasses 36 acres
Wildflowers 17 acres
Building sites 28 acres
In 2012, the decision was made to place 78 acres of Motherhouse farm property in a federal Conservation Reserve Program. The program provides an economic incentive for farmers to take marginal cropland out of crop production in order to be used for conservation purposes.