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Our global mission

Mary Ward was progressive and a visionary. Over 400 years her followers continue to be captured by her vision and today her legacy is spread across the globe. Today the two congregations who look to Mary Ward as founder are known as the Congregation of Jesus (CJ) and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) Loreto.

Both congregations with so much to share, are becoming increasingly associated with each other's work and interpretation of Mary Ward's charism. The Irish Loreto Branch, established by Mary Teresa Ball in 1822, expanded during the 19th and 20th centuries.

* In 2002, the Loreto Sisters embarked on the Courage to Move mission - a calling to the whole Institute to rediscover its missionary roots, going back to St Ignatius, Mary Ward, Teresa Ball and the wonderful women who set out by boat to plant the Institute in far off places.

“Ours is an apostolic community whose focus is mission. We are a community for dispersion, inserted in the local culture, ready to go wherever we are sent.”
IBVM Constitutions Vol ii 3.18 

The Reunion Journey

The North American Branch originated from Rathfarnam (Loreto) in 1847, in response to a request for sisters from the bishop of Toronto in Canada. By 1880, this mission had extended to Joilet, Illinois, in the United States. A new Generalate was established in the United States in 1881.

In Canada, the sisters are concentrated in the province of Ontario.

In the United States, the centre of activity is Illinois, most notably in Chicago, with sisters also in Arizona and California. In September 2003, the North American Branch reunited with the Irish Branch, becoming the two provinces of Canada and USA (including the IBVMs in Arizona) within the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto) led by the one Generalate in at Casa Loreto in Rome.

Reunion involved a gift for every part of the Institute: the revision of our Constitutions, which today fulfill Mary Ward’s hope of having the full Jesuit Constitutions, plus a Volume II which speaks beautifully of religious life today and challenges us to live out Mary Ward’s vision in our times.

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