Teresa Ball (1794-1861)

Teresa Ball (1794-1861) brought Mary Ward’s Institute to Ireland. In 1822 she opened the first house in Rathfarnham and called it "Loreto House".

The "Loreto" name was used for all foundations that came from Ireland and the Sisters were known as "Loreto Sisters".

Under Mother Teresa Ball's leadership, the Loreto Order expanded throughout Ireland and eventually overseas. She founded numerous convents and schools in Ireland, England, India, Canada, Australia, and other countries.

Go and set the world on fire with the love of God"

Teresa Ball

Teresa Ball collage


In Ireland, during the 17th and 18th centuries, Catholic families who could afford to do so sent their children abroad to be educated.

The Ball family, wealthy silk merchants in Dublin, sent their daughters, Anna Maria, Isabella and Frances to the Bar Convent in York run by the Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who drew their inspiration from the spirit and ideals of Mary Ward.

Having finished her schooldays, Frances returned to Dublin in 1808. She felt a deep desire to follow Christ in the religious life and confided in a priest friend, Daniel Murray, who later became Archbishop of Dublin. He realised it was essential to provide Catholic education for the people.

He arranged for Frances Ball to enter the Novitiate in York and be trained by the Sisters there, so that in due course she could return to Dublin and set up a house of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ireland.

The peace of God surpasses all human understanding"

Teresa Ball

Teresa Ball

Education in Ireland

Frances Ball, now known as Sister Teresa, returned to Dublin with two young religious sisters. In 1822 they moved into Rathfarnham House, renaming it Loreto in honour of the Holy Family, whose house, it is said, was miraculously transported from Nazareth to Loreto in Italy.

The following year, 1823, the Sisters opened a boarding school and a free day school for the local children. The latter, Loreto Primary school Grange Road, continues to thrive to-day.

Frances Teresa Ball received many requests to open schools in Ireland and abroad. By the time of her death, she had opened thirty-seven schools in Ireland and had also sent Sisters to India, Canada, England and Spain.

As well as supporting the work of education, Loreto sisters today serve in many other ministries throughout the world, answering the call to go where the need is greatest.