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Celebrating the 175th Anniversary of the Loretto Sisters' Arrival to Canada

September 16th, 2022 marked 175 years of the Loretto Sisters' presence in Canada and their continuing mission to educate and inspire young women. 

St Michael's Cathedral Celebration Day.png
Angel Foundation logo and tagline
TCDSB logo

Our History

The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded by an Englishwoman, Mary Ward, in 1609. She pioneered a new way of religious life for women – ‘contemplatives in action’ within a self-governing congregation, free of enclosure, and responsive to the urgent needs of the time.


Mary Ward’s Institute was brought from England to Ireland in 1821 by Frances Teresa Ball where they became known as Loret(t)o Sisters. In response to requests Teresa sent sisters to India, Mauritius, Gibraltar, and then to Canada when Bishop Michael Power asked for teachers for the growing population of Irish immigrant children in Toronto.

On August 5, 1847 Teresa Dease, Gertrude Fleming, Ignatia Hutchinson, Valentina Hutchinson, and Bonaventure Phelan left Ireland, landed on September 16 at Cooper’s Wharf in Toronto, and began the first Catholic school on September 29. Despite hardships, deaths, and limited resources this small foundation grew to start new missions in Canada and the United States.

Today IBVM Loretto Sisters serve in Albania, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, East Timor, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, South Africa, South Sudan, Spain, Tanzania, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam, and Zambia.

Mother Teresa Dease
Founder Teresa Dease 1820 - 1889

Our Celebrations

On September 17, 2022 a special anniversary Mass was celebrated at St. Michael’s Cathedral, Toronto, in honour of the founding of this mission. View our gallery of photos taken at the ceremony. 

The Angel Foundation for Learning Celebrates the Sisters

On January 23, 2023, The Angel Foundation for Learning and the TCDSB will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) in Canada. Read more about their celebration of the work of the Loretto Sisters on the Angel Foundation Website. Click on the image below to read more on the AFL Website.

Angel Foundation celebrates the Loretto Sisters message

The First Five: Loretto Sisters in Historic Irish Toronto Walking Tour

The walk explored the early history & sites related to the Loretto Sisters and Toronto's early Irish community.  Read more

175th Closing Celebration: September 16, 2023

Our Celebrations
AFL Celebrates IBVM
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