"What the world needs is a wise, loveable and well-educated woman." - Sister Gonzaga Barry
Spanning more than 400 years, the Loreto education tradition was first inspired by the foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM), Mary Ward, and established in the Australian context by Gonzaga Barry IBVM in the late 19th Century.
Mary Ward was an inspirational leader, believing passionately that "women, in time to come, will do much" and that a strong education focused on girls and women would create "seekers of truth and doers of justice" to take action to improve the world for others.
Loreto schools encapsulate the beliefs and spirit of Mary Ward in delivering an education which inspires strong, passionate and confident girls and young women.
Is it these characteristics that you can see most clearly in our girls and is what differentiates us from other schools.
All Loreto schools in Australia share the same set of values: freedom, justice, sincerity, verity and felicity. These values are at the heart of our educational philosophy and shape our identity as a school.
Mary Ward’s understanding of freedom flowed from her personal relationship with God and her belief that each one of us, in our ordinary experience of life, has access to God's loving care. This is the truth that set us free. It is an inner freedom; an acceptance of self, an openness to and with others, and a trust in life.
Justice, as Mary Ward describes, involves personal integrity based on harmonious relationships with God, with other people and with the whole of creation. It is expressed in "works of justice", in active participation in the struggle to bring about such harmony. We are challenged "to be seekers of truth and doers of justice".
Sincerity is our communication and relationship with others – an essential characteristic of the personal integrity Mary Ward envisaged. Her ideal was that "we should be such as we appear and appear such as we are”.
Closely linked to sincerity is Mary Ward's concept of verity. For her it means integrity and truth, particularly the profound truth of who we are and what gives meaning to our lives, a truth that centres fundamentally on the gift of life and mystery of God.
Felicity is an attitude of mind, a disposition of the heart which manifests itself in cheerfulness, good humour, joy, happiness, hope, optimism, friendliness, courtesy, positive thinking, inner peace, self-acceptance and courage.