The Year of Consecrated Life began at the end of November 2014 and will conclude on February 2, 2016. The objectives for the Year of Consecrated Life are: gratefully remembering; and embracing the future with hope. To support these objectives we will post one blog per month featuring a religious order currently present in the Archdiocese of Toronto throughout the Year of Consecrated Life.
We begin the celebration by focusing on the first female religious order to establish itself in Toronto, the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I.B.V.M.), commonly known as the Loretto Sisters.
In 1847, Bishop Michael Power, the first bishop of the still new Diocese of Toronto used an ad limina visit to Rome to conduct a recruitment drive for priests and religious in Europe. On June 1, 1847 he visited Mother Teresa Ball at Rathfarnham, Ireland and the two agreed that sisters would be sent to establish schools in Toronto.
Five sisters arrived in Toronto on September 16, 1847 amid the typhus epidemic. No one greeted them upon their arrival as Bishop Power had not yet received the letter (below) detailing their travel plans. Despite the circumstances, they had set up their first residence on what is now Adelaide Street within a week and opened a school.
Within a month Bishop Power had died of typhus. By March 1851, three of the five original sisters had died and were buried in St. Michael’s Cathedral crypt. Another had returned to Ireland. This left Teresa Dease as superior. She took up the mantle of leadership and spent nearly four decades shaping the growth of the I.B.V.M. in North America.
|First page of the entry entitled, "Sisters of Loretto"
PH 31P/228AL, Religious Orders of the Archdiocese of Toronto Album believed to have been created in the 1960s.
In 2009, the Lorettos celebrated 400 years since their foundation by Mary Ward. A display celebrating this milestone was erected in the Pastoral Centre lobby:
|ARCAT staff photo.
The Loretto Sisters currently work in education, the promotion of justice, and ministries of spirituality and pastoral care. They are truly contemplatives in action responding to the needs of the time. For further information on the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (I.B.V.M.) please see their website.
For further historical information please contact the Institute Archives of the Canadian Province.
For information on vocations please contact: Sr. Lynn Cira, IBVM, Loretto College, 70 St. Mary Street, Toronto, ON Canada M58 1J3; Phone: 416-925-2833 ext. 5231; E-mail: email@example.com
For general information on vocations please contact the Archdiocese of Toronto's Office of Vocations.
For further information on The Year of Consecrated Life, please see the November 28, 2014 post on the Archdiocese of Toronto blog.