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  • Writer's pictureIBVM Canada

Celebrating 175 years in Canada

Updated: Nov 1, 2022

Mission is at the heart of who we are, and love is the driving force that urges us on.


The Journey to Canada: August 5 to September 16, 1847 Dublin ∙ Liverpool ∙ New York ∙ Albany ∙ Rochester ∙ Toronto

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.

Founder Teresa Dease 1820 - 1889

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.

Watch a special celebratory Eucharist held at St Michael's Cathedral, Toronto on September 17, 2022.

and love is the driving force that urges us on.

and love is the driving force that urges us on.

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