Loreto Convent and School-The History
Loreto Convent was established in 1881 By Most Rev. Dr Nulty. It was made possible by a member of the community of the Mercy Convent, Trim, Sister Frances Kerrigan. Dr Nulty obtained the site from Lord Greville, the landlord of Mullingar.
On 25th March, 1881 three nuns arrived from Loreto Convent Navan, to take charge of the new institution. It began as a day school and by 1900 it had ten boarders.
The convent has been enlarged several times since. August 1960 saw the opening of an extension that included a new hall, dormitories and classrooms.
In the summer of 1995, the convent made some additional space available to the school, enabling the development of a Careers room, a Prayer room and an extra classroom.
On 5th May 2011, Minister Willie Penrose officially turned over the first sod signifying the start of a major extension / refurbishment programme to take place in the Loreto College, Mullingar.
Work has already commenced on site and will include a new gymnasium, new office space- allowing the current office space to be turned into classrooms, new playing fields consisting of a basketball court and Astroturf, the conversion of the existing canteen into science labs and the general refurbishment of the existing school building.
It is hoped that all 750 students and staff will be settled into their new improved school within twelve to eighteen months.
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.
IBVM Loreto Sisters are women drawn to companionship in the service in the Gospel. Inspired by Mary Ward and the Ignatian spiritual tradition, we strive to support growth into freedom through spiritual ministries, education, and any other works which meet the needs of our times.