Let’s Celebrate the 176th Anniversary of  the Loretto Sisters (IBVM) 

On January 23, 2024, The Angel Foundation for Learning will celebrate the 176th anniversary of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) in Canada, which is also the birth date of Mary Ward, the founder of the Loretto Sisters.

Arriving in Toronto in 1847, the Loretto Sisters have a long tradition of educational leadership and support. They founded and led a number of Toronto Catholic elementary schools including St Paul, St Patrick, St Mary and St. Alphonsus, as well as Loretto College School and Loretto Abbey. Both high schools continue to enjoy a close relationship with members of the Order. Bearing the name of its founder, Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School naturally has close ties with the IBVM. 

Did you know that Saint Mother Teresa was also a Loretto Sister? As an 18-year old, she joined the Order at Loretto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland. The TCDSB’s own St. Mother Teresa Catholic Academy proudly carries on her spirit of charitable works in the Scarborough Community. 

Many of the Sisters served as teachers, and principals in TCDSB schools including Holy Family, Our Lady of Lourdes, St Anthony, St Basil, St Cecilia, St Helen, St James and St Martin. 

The Loretto Sisters also have a enduring legacy providing food, clothing, shelter and hope to newcomers. AFL is proud of its partnership with Sister Evanne Hunter and the IBVM to ensure that the Loretto Fund remains viable and is able to help the many students and their families arriving in TCDSB schools from around the world fleeing war, famine, poverty, or persecution. 

Thanks to the generosity of the Sisters, and with the support of those who give to the AFL throughout the year, the Loretto Fund has provided much needed assistance to hundreds of students arriving from Ukraine and other countries over the past year. 

All TCDSB schools are invited to join in the

celebration on January 23, 2024 by:

  • Raising money to support the Loretto Fund

  • Hold a January 23rd, Civvies Day

  • Talking to students about the history and tradition of the Loretto Sisters

  • Remembering the Loretto Sisters in your daily prayers

  • Sharing your school’s connection with the IBVM on social media (Twitter, Instagram) and tagging AFL in your posts.

  • Encouraging students to write congratulatory cards and letters to thank the Sisters for all that they have done, and continue to do, to support Catholic education, and newcomer students and families.

Join Us: January 23rd 2024, for a Special Broadcast to Celebrate the Loretto Sisters IBVM Day

All TCDSB students and staff are invited to join in a special broadcast, January 23rd 2024 at 9:30am , to celebrate the 176th anniversary of the Loretto Sisters in Canada and their lasting impact on TCDSB schools. LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-HiW1hE6Hg

Highlighting the topic of “The Courage of Newcomers”, the broadcast will include a read-aloud story time,

information on the Loretto Sisters’ history and their courage as newcomers, as well as a Q&A panel including students sharing their own personal stories of courage as newcomers.

During the broadcast, you will also hear from John Wujek, the Executive Director of the Angel Foundation for Learning, who will speak to the importance of supporting newcomer students and their families. 

As this day approaches, we encourage you to take a moment to learn more about the Loretto Sisters, their years of service to the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and all the ways you can get involved - including a civvies day where the proceeds go to support the Angel Foundation’s Loretto Fund, established jointly by AFL and the Loretto Sisters to assists refugees and recent immigrants as they settle into their new life in Canada.

We look forward to you tuning in and seeing all that your schools are doing to join in the celebrations! Follow the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-HiW1hE6Hg on January 23rd 2024 at 9:30am to join us.

Check out this short video celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Loretto Sisters (2023):

TCDSB Proclaims January 23rd as Loretto Sisters (IBVM) Day