Order of Mary Ward

Mary Ward

Mary Ward is the Foundress of the IBVM who had a vision that women in time would “do great things”. In 1690 Englishwoman Mary Ward (1585-1645) founded the IBVM, the Institute for the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Catholic Order for women that served the community through teaching and pastoral care. Mary Ward opened the first free public school for girls in France and then in England during a time of civil unrest.

“Her life was a strong testimony of this conviction. Within her lifetime, she founded a new religious community that not only served the needs of women in her time, but also continues to do so today throughout the world. In her response to Christ’s call, her faith led her to perform acts of considerable courage. Mary Ward’s vision is as meaningful today as it was back in the seventeenth century. There is a timelessness about her that continues to touch, inspire, and move others to wholeheartedly embrace life with laughter, courage and love for one’s self and others.”
(Sister L. Frederica Boyle, IBVM)

Order of Mary Ward Award

This annual prestigious Loretto Alumnae award, named in honour of the IBVM foundress, is given to individuals who embody Mary Ward’s vision that “women in time to come will do much”. Recipients serve as role models for young women, having contributed to the spiritual well being of others through their ministry, community and involvement in issues of social justice.