Uniting Britain and Albania
Mission Against
Human Trafficking

MARY WARD LORETO is planting hope with a human rights approach to combating modern day slavery. This challenging mission is implemented through works of justice, education, grass roots action and systemic change.
The aim is to eradicate poverty, the prime cause for human trafficking.

History of Mary Ward Loreto 


Mary Ward Loreto: History


The Sisters known as the Loreto Sisters belong to the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) founded in 1609 by a twenty-four-year-old Yorkshire woman, Mary Ward.Because of religious persecution in England, Catholics from that country had to seek education in Continental Europe. Mary Ward and her first companions established their first school at St Omer (now in France) in a house, which is still there, although it is now a private residence. In St Omer, Mary Ward and her group became known as the ‘English Ladies’ – a title still used for members of the CJ sisters (formerly IBVM) in Germany and in other countries in Europe. Despite enormous difficulties, Mary Ward set up houses and schools in Bavaria, Austria and Italy in a relatively short time. She moved between the countries mainly on foot. A pair of her rough shoes, and her pilgrim’s hat can still be seen in one of the CJ convents in Altötting in Germany. Many of Mary Ward’s ideas about religious life and about the work to be done by women were so novel in the early 17th century that in 1631 her Institute was suppressed. Mary Ward died in Yorkshire in 1645. In 1650 her sisters had to flee the country again and seek safety in Paris. Eventually in 1677 the Sisters were able to return to York and open a school in the city.

Now, in 2015, the Congregation which has its roots in this original English Foundation is known as Congregation of Jesus in keeping with the orginal desire of Mary Ward to have the name of Jesus in the title of the Congregation. The CJ’s have foundations all over the world and are in close communion with the Irish branch of the Congregation originally founded by Mary Ward.

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The IBVMs in Ireland: Teresa Ball

The IBVMs in Ireland: Teresa Ball

The lack of formal schools in Ireland acceptable to Catholics in the 17th and for most of the 18th centuries led many Catholic families, who could afford to do so, to send their children abroad to be educated. A silk merchant in Dublin, John Ball and his wife had been happy to send their eldest daughter to the new Ursuline school in Cork. However, the Rebellion of 1798 and its aftermath made travel between Dublin and Cork very dangerous. The Ball family decided that their younger daughters Anna Maria, Isabella and Frances, and their son Nicholas, should go to school in England. The girls were sent to the IBVM convent in York. Frances Ball finished her education in York in 1808 and returned to Dublin. She confided to Fr Daniel Murray, a family friend, that she wanted to become a Religious as soon as she could get her parents’ consent.

FAGVDFHIn 1809, Fr Murray was ordained Coadjutor Bishop of Dublin. He was to become one of the greatest Archbishops the Dublin Diocese has ever had, and was instrumental in the foundation of the Irish Sisters of Charity and of the Sisters of Mercy, the re-organisation of Maynooth College, the foundation of All Hallows College, the introduction to Ireland of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the building of many Churches including the Pro-Cathedral and Westland Row. Archbishop Murray realised that if the Catholic Church was to be revived after the persecution and suppression of the penal days, it was essential to provide Catholic education for the people. He invited the CJ Sisters at York to establish a school in Dublin but they were not in a position to send sisters at that time. It was arranged that Frances Ball would enter the IBVM in York and that she would return to Dublin in due course to set up the first IBVM house in Ireland. Frances Ball now became known as Mother Teresa Ball.In 1821, when Mother Teresa was ready to return to Dublin, Dr Murray bought Rathfarnham House with forty acres of land. The house had been built in 1725 and had been owned by the Palliser and Grierson families. This first community established by Teresa Ball was named Loreto convent. Mary Ward had been particularly devoted to visiting the church of Our Lady of Loreto in Rome. This inspired Teresa ball to name the first IBVM community, ‘Loreto’. This became the popular name for the Congregation with its roots in Ireland.

Before the house could be used by the IBVM sisters, a number of structural repairs had to be carried out. Mother Teresa and two companions eventually moved to Rathfarnham House on November 4, 1822. The name ‘Loreto’ had been used by all houses founded from Rathfarnham over the years since that November evening. Eventually, the Sisters become known as ‘Loreto Sisters’, although their official title remains the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


A school for girls was established in the newly named ‘Loreto House’ at Rathfarnham. Although the Relief Acts of 1782 and 1792 allowed schools for Catholics in Ireland, those conducting the schools still had to get a licence to do so from the local Church of Ireland Minister or Bishop. The licence obtained by Mother Teresa Ball from Henry McClean and Thomas Jones on 16 June 1823, as well as copies of the required Oath of Allegiance to the King taken by Mother Teresa on 6 May 1822, are preserved in the Loreto Archives. The National School system as we know it to day was introduced by the Parliament in 1831 and took some years to become established. In advance of this development, Mother Teresa started what were called ‘Poor Schools’ everywhere she set up a house. By degrees, a number of young Irish women joined Mother Teresa and became members of the IBVM. Unfortunately, consumption claimed the lives of many of these first sisters while they were still young. The cemetery at Abbey House, Rathfarnham bears witness to the great losses of those early years of the IBVM in Ireland, and to the extraordinary courage of women who carried on. IBVM(Loreto) is a multicultural, international Institute founded by an English woman, Mary Ward. We are known informally as Loreto Sisters. From these early Irish roots the sisters are now in many continents of the world. ‘Ours is an apostolic community whose focus is mission. We are a community for dispersion, inserted in the local culture, ready to go wherever we are sent.’ IBVM Constitutions Vol. ii 3.18. ..keeping always in view the greater service of God and the universal good’ Part 1 Chapter VII no. 650

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The Missions of IBVM(Loreto) 2015



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IBVM in England

It was poverty that drew the Loreto Sisters to England in 1851. The Irish famine had brought thousands of Irish men, women and children to the big cities of England and Scotland in search of work and accommodation. Initially they lived in crowded and squalid conditions.

Canon Toole of St Wilfred’s parish, Hulme, Manchester was only too aware of their misery and did all he could to alleviate it. He believed that education would enable the children of these poor people to escape from their terrible poverty. He knew that the Loreto Sisters had an excellent record for education in Ireland so he wrote to ask if they would come to Manchester to start a school for his beloved poor children. Mother Teresa Ball responded generously and sent a party of sisters led by Mother Anne Hickie. The sisters took charge of the parochial school and opened a small boarding school to help to subsidise it. The initial years were very difficult, particularly as they faced hostility in the anti-catholic neighbourhood.

In 1856, Mother Margaret Alphonsa Ellis became the new superior in Manchester. The memoirs portray her as “broadminded, full of wisdom, generous and of indomitable courage; in fact a noble and a valiant woman.”Over the years, the school expanded and by 1900 the sisters had charge of a boarding school, and a large Higher Grade day school on the Convent property, plus the Schools of St Wilfrid’s, St Lawrence’s, the Holy Name and Holy Family, a total of over 2300 children. Loreto College continued to provide education for girls of all ages until in 1977 it became a co-educational Sixth Form College, which continues to serve the needs of the Manchester area. It is a vibrant Institution at the heart of Manchester’s inner city regeneration and part of the global network of Loreto Schools/Colleges run by the Loreto Sisters on every continent.

Following the first foundation in Manchester, others were made across England, Scotland and Wales – some were closed as the need arose for the sisters to move into other ministries; but there are thriving schools to this day in Manchester, Altrincham and St Albans.

We Celebrate our Diverse Ministries

As members of the IBVM, we follow the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Our sense of mission is inseparable from our spirituality.

The work of IBVM(Loreto) in the English Province, 2015:

  1. Spiritual Direction and Accompaniment
  2. Prayer, Presence and Availability
  3. Parish and Diocesan Ministries
  4. Education – schools, young people, adults
  5. Refugee and Asylum Seekers
  6. Anti- Human Trafficking mission
  7. Chaplaincy work in Hospital and Detention Centre
  8. Preservation of heritage
  9. Leadership and Governance
  10. Formation- study
  11. Hospitality

The English Province opened the ‘Courage to Move’ mission in 2004 – one sister has been missioned to Albania website www.albaniahope.com

Courage to Move over the past years has shown evidence that the invitation of the 2002 Courage to Move letter sent by the then Superior General, Mary Wright, was taken seriously. Many new missions are now established and developing in many countries of the world including South Sudan, Bangladesh, East Timor, Zambia and Albania.

Mary Ward Loreto Today

In Albania the IBVM member and co-workers have opened an NGO Mary Ward Loreto to work against trafficking in human persons through direct action, education, and the empowerment of those most vulnerable. MARY WARD LORETO is planting hope with a human rights approach to combating modern day slavery. This challenging mission is implemented through works of justice, education, grass roots action and systemic change. The aim is to eradicate poverty, the prime cause for human trafficking.

Mission, Vision and Values 


Mary Ward Loreto: Mission, Vision and Values


Mary Ward Loreto Foundation (MWL) is a non-profit organization providing development programmes for vulnerable communities in Albania. This organization has as its inspiration the charism of Mary Ward. The core values of Mary Ward Loreto are FREEDOM, JUSTICE and SINCERITY and are derived from the philosophy of Mary Ward a 16th century English woman who was the Foundress of an international religious congregation. The focus of all of the work of Mary Ward Loreto is related to the work against human trafficking. The organization forms partnerships and networks, working with 10 main groups; women in rural and informal regions of Albania, direct action with victims of trafficking, groups from all over Albania raising awareness with those who are vulnerable to being trafficked, Roma children, vulnerable youth, men in poverty, European Network Against Trafficking, pastoral support in prisons and the education project. The board is comprised of highly professional members of the community serving to steer the activities of the organization towards the fulfilment of the mission of the organization. The staff is mostly young, remarkably enthusiastic and constantly learning in order to complete the complex and demanding tasks of each and every activity in the highest possible standards.


Mary Ward Loreto Foundation is planting hope with a human rights approach to combat modern day slavery. This challenging mission is implemented through works of justice, education, grassroots action and systemic change. The call is to eradicate poverty, the prime cause of human trafficking.


The vision of Mary Ward Loreto Foundation is based on the charism of Mary Ward which inspires people to reach their full potential. Mary Ward Loreto will be known, in the local situation, for strong advocacy, operational excellence and will take the initiative to enable vulnerable populations to discover their value through human and economic empowerment. Networking, collaboration and partnerships in Albania and across borders is the key to the accomplishment of the MWL mission. This will end human trafficking, a modern day slavery.


Freedom, Justice, Truth, Hope and Joy.

Mary Ward Loreto: Creative and Generative Networks

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Each Photo Leads to a Project or Network

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Please click on the Photos Above to Read More About Our Work



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 Our Philosophy


The Philosophy of Mary Ward Loreto

Our Vision
The vision of Mary Ward Loreto Foundation is based on the charism of Mary Ward which inspires people to reach their full potential. Mary Ward Loreto will be known, in the local situation, for strong advocacy, operational excellence and will take the initiative to enable vulnerable populations to discover their value through human and economic empowerment. Networking, collaboration and partnerships in Albania and across borders is the key to the accomplishment of the MWL mission. This will end human trafficking, a modern day slavery.

Our Values:

– Excellence
We are ambitious for our beneficiaries not just in the context of vocational excellence but also in the context of human possibilities, and as supporters of this ethic we will stretch hearts as well as minds. We have an unremitting focus on excellence and set the highest standards of academic and personal achievement.

– Truth
Mindful of our Ignatian heritage, we introduce our beneficiaries to a reflective way of thinking and living and encourage seekers of truth who will also search critically for answers to the great questions of life.

We encourage doers of justice who will stand with those on the margins of life and become responsible global citizens and agents of social change, committed to building a better world. We invite our beneficiaries to use their gifts and talents to make a difference both globally and locally and to be men and women of courage who will challenge those accepted notions and modes of society which are opposed to the values for which we stand.

We allow all the freedom to become their best selves and to take charge of their own lives and futures within a learning environment that celebrates diversity and nurtures independence of

We develop relationships that are marked by respect and compassion and characterised by integrity and sincerity

Our places of work are joyful places where each one enjoys their work, learning and flourishing in a safe and healthy environment where the unique value of each individual is recognised and celebrated.

The Learning Experience

Our approach to learning:

-Considers the context of a person’s life.

-Fosters experience that moves a person beyond an intellectual grasp to an affective response.

-Uses an approach that stimulates reflection on the deeper meaning of what is being studied.

-Encourages a person to be open to truth that leads to action.

– Places great value on evaluation which leads to positive feedback.

Our guiding principle is that relationships in Mary Ward Loreto projects will be friendly and affirming and based on respect and compassion. Care for the individual is paramount and each worker will put the person first.

-Leaders operate in a spirit of mutual respect, collaboration and transparency. There is an emphasis on teamwork where the contribution of each individual is sought and valued. There is a presumption of good will by all staff, based on mutual trust.

-Leaders at every level are cultural leaders who are immersed in the Mary Ward Loreto values. They model these values in the way they carry out their responsibilities and have the moral confidence, courage and conviction to inspire their teams to make the values real in everyday

-At the heart of the work of leaders at every level is the development of an environment dedicated to the achievement of personal and skills excellence. We are never satisfied with a lesser good when a greater good is possible. To this end the professional development of staff is given a high priority.

-Leaders establish those structures that are most favourable for releasing creativity, for fostering wise risk taking and for developing the capacity for imagining something new that may diverge from existing ways of thinking and acting.

The Foundation Mary Ward Loreto has as its inspiration the charism of Mary Ward, the fundamental values of which are: FREEDOM, JUSTICE and SINCERITY. The essence of this charism is to respond to the greatest needs in today’s world through education and any other means. In 1609, this young Yorkshire woman left England to follow her call. She broke new ground in her service to those who would otherwise lack sufficient care and nurture, especially in the education of women. She gathered a growing number of young women who shared her vision and commitment for a ministry “in the world”. They took the same constitutions as The Society of Jesus, supported by a spirituality that sought freedom, justice and sincerity in all things. This way of life emphases both reflection and action to serve “wherever the need is greatest”. Her journey to this end was difficult and painful and she died seeing little fruit for her toil.

Her gravestone reads: “To love the poor, persevere in the same, live, die, and rise with them, was all the aim of Mary Ward…” Her example and writings have much to teach us. From these writings we find the essential values of Mary Ward as expressed in this document.


Our Mission Through Social Media



At Mary Ward Loreto we are working to combating modern day slavery.

It is a very challenging mission but we believe that through works of justice, education, grass roots action and systemic change we will eradicate poverty, the prime cause for human trafficking.

Our mission is to empower each human person, with whom we work, for Freedom, Justice and to speak their Truth. This mission is to create a better quality of life for members of local communities, notably vulnerable populations, to claim their human rights to have human dignity. It is to achieve excellence for all. The aspiration of MWL is significantly to reduce the vulnerability for exploitation and the crime of modern day slavery.

Working in networks and partnerships, across boundaries and systems, and not in isolation, has always been the underlying philosophy that has guided MWL. This, we believe, is the best way to effect change both at the local, statutory, national and international level.

We use Social media to keep all of you updated on all our projects and any new developments in the fight against modern slavery. The web site www.albaniahope.com is always updated as well as the Facebook page.

To be closer to you, we have taken the initiative to publish the Newsletter every 3 months. The Newsletter gives updated news and events.In every newsletter we will bring to life many stories of hope and love as people we work with face the challenges which life presents day by day in countries of poverty and conflict.

By sharing news about our projects and partnerships we will widen our reach and achieve an increased response from others working in the same field as Mary Ward Loreto.

We believe that will bring change and new life for all!

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Empowering Through Justice, Freedom and Sincerity