Loretto Archives collects, preserves and makes available for research the official records of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM, Loretto Sisters) which reflect the work of the sisters within our Canadian Community. The archives are housed at Loretto Abbey. All visits are strictly by appointment.
Visit our website at:
1. Beginnings: Mary Ward
Mary Ward was an Englishwoman who was born in North Yorkshire in 1585, at a time of persecution for Catholics, into a family determined to live their Catholic faith no matter what the cost. Her greatest desire as a young woman was to be a religious. There were no convents in England at that time and all religious communities had been suppressed by Henry VIII by 1540. Mary travelled to Flanders in France to join an existing community of cloistered sisters. There, it became clearer to her over time that she had a different calling. She returned to London, England to seek clarity about what work God had for her to do. In 1609 she received inspiration in prayer that, whatever her call, it would be to the Glory of God.
IBVM Founder Mary Ward (1585-1645) as a young woman (circa 1609).