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From the earliest years of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our founder, Mary Ward and her companions engaged in the works of education, particularly education of women. The five Loretto Sisters who first came to Toronto from Ireland in 1847 opened the first Loretto School in North America with nine initial boarding students. The traditional “free school” for the children of St Paul’s Parish followed soon after. The Loretto Sisters became known for excellence in education and went on to establish private schools in various areas of Ontario. Schools were established in Toronto, Guelph, Niagara Falls, Hamilton, Lindsay and in Sedley, Saskatchewan.


After the Separate School Act in 1863 Loretto Sisters went out daily to teach in a variety of urban and rural Separate Schools throughout Ontario and Saskatchewan.

Today our ministry of education continues to evolve in response to the needs of the times. Loretto Sisters continue to be educators in very diverse settings including:

  • Education for justice, peace and the integrity of creation

  • Educating for personal growth and leadership through workshops and presentations in various community and parish settings

  • Serving the Catholic Community as Diocesan Directors of Religious Education

  • Teaching in university and seminary settings

  • Educating for Christian formation through RCIA and scripture study

  • Teaching English as a second language to refugees and immigrants

Image by Ben White
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