Welcome to the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary Loreto Sisters

We are an international congregation of Catholic religious sisters founded by Englishwoman Mary Ward in 1609. Today, inspired by her vision, we live and work worldwide as companions of Jesus in mission.


"I will give Him what I have and all that I need I will find in Him".

- Mary Ward

"All you do must be done for God - with alacrity and joy"

- Teresa Ball

"Our way to heaven must be to accept all from His hands and to work for Him alone."

- Mary Ward

"Cherish God's vocation in you, let it be constant efficacious and loving."

- Mary Ward

Who We Are

We are the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commonly known as Loreto sisters

What We Do

We are an international, multicultural Institute living and working in many different lands and cultures.

Becoming One

The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) and Congregation of Jesu (CJ), currently two different congregations, are becoming one.

Mary Ward International

MWI is the development network of the Institute for the support of the life and mission throughout the world

About us

The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters) is a female Catholic religious congregation founded by Mary Ward in 1609.

Mary Ward

Mary Ward 1585-1645

In 1821 Teresa Ball, a Dublin woman, brought the Congregation to Ireland. There are Loreto Sisters throughout the world working where the needs are greatest. In Ireland Loreto is well known for its schools.

However, Loreto Sisters in Ireland also work in other ministries such as in hospitals, prisons, prayer and retreat ministry, chaplaincy, counselling and psychotherapy services, youth ministry.

As you visit this website you will meet some of our Sisters working in various locations throughout Ireland and further afield. They will share their lives and ministry with you.

Teresa Ball
Teresa Ball 1794-1861

We are companions of Jesus, women at the heart of the Church, called to follow Christ in a discipleship of love, ready to labour with freedom and joy, that in all things God may be glorified".


Prayer is as essential as the air we breathe. It is the way we acknowledge God and creation in all its glory and wonder; it is our constant source of discernment and wisdom and strength in ministry. (Const. Vol II, 3.5)

Prayer intentions

Please let us know if you have any special prayer intentions. Our Sisters will bring them to their daily prayer.

Cause of Mary Ward
Anam Áras Laytown



Mary Ward Glory vision
Mary Ward “Glory Vision” experienced as she brushed her hair. Painted Life of Mary Ward

Finding God in all things” is at the heart of Ignatian Spirituality.
In our prayer and ministry, we seek God in all things.

O Parent of parents, and Friend of all friends, without entreaty you took me into your care and by degrees led me from all else that at length I might see and settle my love in you”

Mary Ward

The eternal homecoming, the eternal embrace
“The eternal homecoming, eternal embrace” Painting by Clair Dillon

Latest News

The Hand and the Heart Image

Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre mark 10th Birthday with “The Heart and the Hands” publication

“The Heart and the Hands” is a book marking the 10th birthday of the Loreto run Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre (KMWSC) in India. It...

158 years of Loreto Sisters in Wexford

Loreto Secondary School Wexford recently celebrated the presence and work of Loreto Sisters in Wexford for the past 158 years. Mass was celebrated by the...
Chris Goodman 1

Loreto Sister who founded free Wicklow counselling service steps down after 27 years

Read the Irish Independent article here