The Loreto education tradition spans 400 years, inspired first by the founder of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM), Mary Ward, and grounded in the Australian context by Gonzaga Barry IBVM in the late 19th century.
For both these women their passion and commitment to educate women to be seekers of truth and doers of justice, was fired by their belief in the God of love made known to us through the person of Jesus. This belief in God, who creates each person with endless potential and with equal right to participate fully in our world, lies at the heart of the Loreto Education Mission Statement:
Loreto schools offer a Catholic education which liberates, empowers and motivates students to use their individual gifts with confidence, creativity and generosity in loving and responsible service.
Each of the seven Loreto schools, governed by Loreto Ministries, is deeply committed to this shared mission. The leadership of our schools is supported by dedicated teachers, parents, and past students guided by their school boards.
In addition, the Loreto Sisters work with the people of Gari-uai, Timor-Leste and manage a pre-primary school and community development centre.
Loreto has played a significant role in tertiary education. From the early days when Gonzaga Barry founded a teachers’ college, the Loreto Sisters and their colleagues worked in tertiary and adult education throughout Australia.
In Australia, one of our main roles was the leadership of St Mary’s Hall (1918-1965) and then St Mary’s College (1966-2013) at The University of Melbourne. Our presence continues through membership on the College Board.
In Vietnam, Loreto manages two hostels providing safety and support for tertiary students from rural areas. With the support of Mary Ward International Australia, Loreto offers tertiary scholarships to young women giving them access to affordable education.
In Gari-uai, Timor-Leste, along with the establishment of a Loreto pre-primary school, the Sisters work with the community to explore other opportunities for learning and community development.
Loreto’s involvement in adult education is broad and wide ranging including home tutoring for refugees, support for prisoners, English as a second language and adult faith education.
Mary Ward Grants
In order to promote the dignity and role of women in church and society, the Mary Ward Grant was established in 2000 to support specialist or post-graduate study of theology, spirituality and pastoral ministry. Consideration is given to applicants completing under-graduate study. See below for further information on Mary Ward Grants.