About us

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

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.

Photo gardening
Caption pending. Photographed at the Loreto schools, clinic, and community in Maker Kuei, South Sudan.
Province Assembly Part 2 - 2023-4

What Guides us

Spirituality and Charism

As Loreto sisters, our spirituality is rooted in that of Mary Ward, who drew her inspiration from St Ignatius of Loyola - founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). 

Sr.  Mary Delahunty IBVM with children from Loreto Abbey Dalkey.

1st year Camino at well in Dillon's Park, Dalkey
Caption pending. Photographed at the Loreto schools, clinic, and community in Maker Kuei, South Sudan.
Laytown Anam aras -2

She was introduced to his Spiritual Exercises and wanted them to be the foundation of her spirituality and that of her followers.

Mary Ward wanted to bring a feminine perspective to Ignatian Spirituality so that women could live wholeheartedly in union with God whilst responding to the needs of the times. 

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." 

And so, as Loreto sisters we endeavour to be "contemplatives in action” living in a spirit of justice, joy, truth, freedom and sincerity. 

Mary Ward chose a non-cloistered way of living, without a religious habit, even in the early 17th century, in order to move freely in the world of her time.

God inspired her to choose to take the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, to be self-governing, which at the time she was not permitted to do. 

However her Institute was later allowed to do so, and those Constitutions remain the inspiration of IBVM sisters today. The essence of this way of life is through prayer and reflection to search for God in a discerning way and find God’s presence in everything (all things) we do and come across in daily life.

Where we are