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 


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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

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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.


In 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

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.

Empowering Through Justice, Freedom and Sincerity



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The Friends of Mary Ward spent a day of retreat on June 25th in Laç at the church of St. Anthony of Padua.

We had the chance to attend Mass together, explore the grounds, and gather in community for reflection and discernment. We also discussed the future of the Friends of Mary Ward here in Albania and in communities all over the world. It was a very fruitful gathering full of inspiration and planning for the upcoming year.

Our prayers centered around an attitude of openness, gratitude, and zeal, just like Mary Ward.

We would like to thank the Franciscan Community at the Shrine of St. Anthony for their welcome and hospitality. We look forward to coming back and to what the coming year holds for the Friends of Mary Ward.


“Serve God with great love and liberty of mind.”(Mary Ward).

This year, 6 of Mary Ward Friends in Albania went on Retreat in Rome. For some of us, it was our first time in Rome and was such a great and new experience. The group was very culturally diverse, being from countries all over the world, but all were members of the Mary Ward community.

We have shared and learned about the life of Mary Ward; her written letters, her history, her painted life, her lectures. What made it more realistic was visiting the place where Mary Ward had her clear vision of Never Being Alone in her struggle to found this new and daring congregation for women. It was inspiring being where she stayed and prayed and where she met with the key people who would stay close to her cause.

We felt as if we were back in time and as if Mary Ward were still alive as we walked and lived with her.


The second ‘Friends of Mary Ward’ conference in York, was a great success.

This event gathered together lay friends of Mary Ward from all over the world. Four Mary Ward Friends from Albania joined this event. Sr Imelda Poole (IBVM), was one of the keynote speakers at this conference.

During the conference we listened to the experts on ‘Mary Ward, Prophetic Woman’. We spent part of each day visiting Mary Ward places. These included: Ripley Castle, where she stayed as a child, Ripon Cathedral, where her siblings were baptised, Mulwith, where she was born and raised, Bishop Thornton, a recusant church which contained a stain glass window of Mary Ward, Mount Grace and the Lady Chapel in Osmotherly, where she prayed in thanksgiving for recovery from a serious illness, and Osbaldwick where she was buried.

It was a great pleasure and honor to meet and share our experience with many Friends of Mary Ward from all over the world.

Please click here to find copies of the talks and documents.


Friends of Mary Ward from all over the world will gather in York, from 7th to 12th August, 2017.

The second Mary Ward Lay Conference, organized by the CJ English Province and Friends of Mary Ward will take place in York, this summer. This event will bring together lay friends of Mary Ward from all over the world and four Mary Ward Friends from Albania will join this event. Sr Imelda Poole (IBVM), will be one of the keynote speakers.

We will listen to the experts on ‘Mary Ward, Prophetic Woman’. There will be times for group discussion, visits to Mary Ward places such as the Bar Convent, York Minster, Mulwith, Ripley Castle, Bishop Thornton, Mt Grace and Osbaldwick. There will be a time for meeting and making friends, and time to reflect on who is Mary Ward, the Prophetic Woman for us today.

On August 12th is the International Youth Day: We pray for all young people in the World that they will find purpose in faith, justice, freedom and integrity.

Please click here read the House of Prayer for July and August.

‘Let us pray for all victims of terrorism, for families affected by tragedy and for all the people continue to grieve and are upset by war and terrorism. Let us also pray for those that cause this merciless damage, that they may think of and reflect on their actions and realize the harm they cause, and may be urged to abandon all violence and seek forgiveness. We pray that humanity, in these troubled times, find true and lasting peace, the peace that will only come about when justice and mercy come together.’

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Please click here to read  Mary Ward Week  Booklet 2017.



Friends of Mary Ward on Mission


The Friends of Mary Ward in Albania had a great meeting this month in Pogradec near Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. We as always, meet together once a month and this meeting involved prayer and reflection to be clearer about our way forward. We were asked to bring one idea into this open discussion on how we see our future as Friends of Mary Ward.

We are a fantastic group. All had great ideas on how we see the future of the friends of Mary Ward. We are a group of volunteers who follow the mission of Mary Ward and we are thinking to do some volunteering work on helping people in need. No doubt we are spiritual people, we pray, reflect and we share together our feelings and our thoughts.

If you want to join us you are welcome.

Week of Mary Ward


As always friends of Mary Ward meet each month. But the meeting in January, was a very special meeting. 23rd – 30th January, is the week of Mary Ward. This is the anniversary dates of her birth and death.  We celebrated her life, Sr. Imelda led us in reflection, prayer and we shared together many sayings of Mary Ward. We used the IBVM special prayer and reflection booklet for Mary Ward Week 2016. In the booklet we have one more concrete example of the desire of both our recent General Congregations never to do alone what we can do better together.

Our Questions of the day for reflection was: Is our day to day life only a time lag or do we experience it as a privileged space and a moment for encountering God?

Prayer: God Father, Mother, living in the depths of each human being, give me a new heart and new eyes to seek and find you, as I search in freedom to recognize you in everyday gestures, a just soul to welcome you, and confidence that you may be the truth that fills my life.

Reflection at the beautiful Eufemia church in Albania


As this month’s meeting of the Friends of Mary Ward would be the last before the holidays, some of the group went on a pilgrimage and mini retreat to Kallmet, where the group could reflect at the beautiful Eufemia church and surrounding area. The theme for the retreat was ‘Trust in God’. We reflected on some of the stages in Mary Ward’s life where she was most challenged. We prayed together, had silence for contemplation and shared our reflections after pondering on some of the pictures of the Painted Life of Mary Ward. We reflected on how her struggles and her faith in overcoming these, could be applied in our own lives. After a morning of prayer we went to a beautiful setting where an established organic restaurant had been developed. The meal was delicious. We ended the day drinking coffee near the sea at shengjin. We were a very happy group on our return home.




Welcome to the  offering for prayer and reflection during Mary Ward Week 2019.  Please click the link below to read the booklet:

MWW Booklet 2019 final – English e version

MARY WARD WEEK 2018: MWW Booklet

On August 12th is the International Youth Day: We pray for all young people in the World that they will find purpose in faith, justice, freedom and integrity.

Please click here read the House of Prayer for July and August.

‘Let us pray for all victims of terrorism, for families affected by tragedy and for all the people continue to grieve and are upset by war and terrorism. Let us also pray for those that cause this merciless damage, that they may think of and reflect on their actions and realize the harm they cause, and may be urged to abandon all violence and seek forgiveness. We pray that humanity, in these troubled times, find true and lasting peace, the peace that will only come about when justice and mercy come together.’

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Please click here to read  Mary Ward Week  Booklet 2017.

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                                                            Mary Ward

Mark 10:46-52 They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go on your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.


Bartimaeus calls out Jesus’ name from the darkness of his own world. How many times have I called out for Jesus, feeling that I am just calling into the vast space around me? Even when those around Bartimaeus tell him to be silent, he calls out all the more. He doesn’t let anyone determine his course of action. His focus is on Jesus and he is not deterred. Jesus recognizes and acts upon the God-given dignity of Bartimaeus. He listens to his voice and asks for what he needs. From time to time in our own journeys we too experience darkness and need help. With deep faith and trust, we can call out to Jesus and voice our needs. He is our light and faithful companion on the road. The more we call upon Jesus, the more Jesus calls upon us to listen to the cries of our brothers and sisters and accompany them to the light. We too can say with confidence, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.”

Questions for Reflection

Jesus asks me, “What do you want me to do for you?” So I ask myself in prayer: What is my greatest need? What are the greatest needs of those around me? Do I value the voice of my brothers and sisters? Do I allow them to share their needs or do I assume that I know what is best for them?


“Accustom yourself in all doubts to cry out,
‘Lord what will you have me to do?”
Mary Ward

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                                                     (Ezechiel 36:26)

‘Divine Love is like a fire  which cannot let itself be locked up because it is impossible to love God  and not to want to labour to extend God’s Glory’ Mary Ward


lGod to enfold me, God to surround me,
God in my speaking, God in my thinking.

God in my sleeping, God in my waking,
God in my watching, God in my hoping.

God in my life, God in my lips,
God in my hands, God in my heart.

God in my sufficing, God in my slumber
God in mine ever living soul, God in mine eternity.

Show yourself as you are, and be what you show yourself.

Mary Wrad Just Soul 1615

The truthful person is genuine and consistent in herself. She lives out of her inner truth and behaves as she feels in her heart. She shows herself as she is, and hides nothing, because she accepts everything in herself. The truthful person is also always free; for only the truth will make us free. Anyone who evades her own truth needs much energy to hide herself from others – a truthful person compels us to offer the truth of our own hearts. Before her we find the courage to reveal our own truth.                                              You are invited to share any prayers which come to mind.

Circle me

Circle me this night with your protection, O God.
May Christ the Saviour surround me with his presence.

May the Holy Spirit guard me while I sleep.
And may your holy angels keep watch over me.

Prayers as we Reflect on The Trinity


The response to each prayer is:

Response:Lavdi Atit, e Birit e Shpiritu shenjt.

Si ka qenë në fillim, ashtu tash a përgjithmonë e jetës. Amen

Let us offer our praise and adoration. You are God the creator, giving us richly all things to enjoy. You are Christ the Saviour of the world, who set  us free. You are the Spirit of truth and love, who dwell within us. You are holy and blessed. One God, eternal Trinity, be near to us and to the world your love brings to life. Response

We ask you to open wide our hearts that we may welcome the stranger and share our faith with others,

  • open wide our minds that we may receive new truth and understand your will
  • open wide our doors, that as we have come into worship so we may go out with you to the service of the world
  • open wide our lives that through discipline and prayer we may experience your power in daily living. Response

Lord of the universe we praise you for your creation, you have provided us with everything it needs for life and health. Grant that the resources of the earth may neither be consumed by the selfish nor wasted by the foolish but that all may share your gifts. Response

We remember all who bear the responsibility of leadership, for heads of state, ambassadors and political advisers, we think today particularly of the leaders of the different factions in Israel, Syria, and Ukraine; let your will for our world be accomplished through the decisions they make and give them a vision of peace and reconciliation for you lord can find a way when men and women are lost.Response


Lord we pray for peace in the world, create in us a love for peace, not peace that is absent from struggle, nor peace that is blind to injustice but peace that makes whole what now is broken. We remember those who struggle against injustice.Response We remember this morning those who are sick, sad or lonely and those who are brave and patient when things are going wrong. We pray that they may be aware of your comforting presence and know that in your hands they are safe and loved. Response

 Lord we pray for all whose life is saddened by the death of a loved one, be with them in their loneliness and let them know that Jesus Christ is the light of the world a light which no darkness can quench.Response

We remember before God those who have died and light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ which eternally shines and brings hope, We remember ……..

Lord we ask you to lead us into the coming week, Help us to believe that you are close by us, keep us from making mistakes and help us never to disappoint you. When we face hard decisions or difficult work, when we enjoy ourselves and have fun with others may we know that you share these times with us. Response

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Please click the links to download the Leaflet and A4 sheet.


Please click here to read  Mary Ward Week  Booklet 2017.

Pathways to God, Ignatian Spirituality online


In June the Director of Spirituality for the Jesuits in Britain and the communications office launched PathwaystoGod.org, a new online resource for Ignatian Spirituality.  Pathways to God has daily prayers and inspiring reflections. It incorporates the websites for our spirituality centres and prayer initiatives and communities.

Our spirituality ministry is expanding in response to a great thirst for weeks of guided prayer and mission weeks in parishes and chaplaincies. Read more about this excting new site >>



Sayings of Mary Ward

“Divine love is like fire, which will not let itself be shut up, for it is impossible to love God and not to work to extend God’s honor.”

“Love and speak the truth at all times.”

“Show yourself at all times glad and joyful, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

“Cherish God’s vocation in you. Let it be constant, efficacious, and loving.”                                                                                                  

“Be seekers of truth and doers of justice.”

 “Do not begin by violently attacking  what is bad or amiss in anyone, but by showing the beauty and desirableness of the opposite virtue lead them to wish for it.”

“The Felicity of this course was a singular freedom from all that could make one adhere to earthly things, with an entire application and apt disposition to all good works. (Mary Ward’s ‘Vision of a Just Soul’ 1616.”

“Let thy love be at all times rooted in God and then remain faithful to thy friend and value him highly, even more highly than thy life.”

“In our calling a cheerful mind, a good understanding and a great desire after virtue are necessary, but of all these a cheerful mind is the most so.”

“Serve God with great love and liberty of mind”

“Work with great tranquillity, joy and magnanimity, for what is not done in one year can be done in another. “

“Cherish God’s vocation in you.”

“To love the poor, persevere in the same, to live die and rise with them, was all the aim of Mary Ward. (Taken from Mary Ward’s tomb stone, Jan 20th. 1645)”

“Love verity.. the verity of the Lord will last for ever… “

Refer All To God ..”

Other quotes from Mary Ward, Please click here..


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"Be such as you appear and appear such as you be.”
 “Do ordinary things well.”
                                      Mary Ward