Our Heritage

At Loreto, we believe that overcoming challenges can lead to incredible things. It is through these challenges that our school was born.

Four hundred years ago, English woman Mary Ward faced extraordinary opposition to establish the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) - also known as the Loreto Sisters. Click the link below to learn more about Mary Ward.

In Australia, the foundation was led by Mother Mary Gonzaga Barry ibvm, who in 1875, established Catholic primary and secondary schools in Ballarat. Today, there are seven Loreto Schools in Australia and over 90 throughout the rest of the world.

Loreto Toorak was established in 1924, and continues this worldwide tradition. In each student, our goal is to foster the foundation for a strong and mature faith – in God, herself and in life. With these values, she will be equipped to embrace all the challenges, joys and the adventures that lie ahead in life.

The Life of Mary Ward The Life of Mary Ward (295 KB)



The Name Loreto

“Loreto” was the name given to the first house of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ireland at Rathfarnham and originates from a popular place of pilgrimage on the Adriatic coast of Italy.

Loreto had also been a favourite place of devotion for Mary Ward, who had travelled across Italy several times to visit and pray there. Interestingly though, Mother Teresa Ball - the founder of the Institute’s Irish branch - was unaware of this when she chose the name “Loreto” for her first foundation.

Loreto Crest

It is thought that the Loreto Crest was developed by Mother Teresa Ball, in the 1850s as an expression of her spirituality. The basic shield is the Family Crest of our Founder, Mary Ward.

There are four symbols on our School Crest:

The Cross – The cross reminds us that we love God. And when we see it, we’re reminded to always do the right thing - even when it seems hard.

The Sacred Heart - The Sacred Heart reminds us that the most important thing is for us to love God and one another.

The Loving Heart - The loving heart reminds us of Mary, who is very special for all Loreto girls. When we see it, we remember to say a prayer to Mary.

The Anchor - The anchor is strong and steadfast. It reminds us that there’s always hope for us when we pray.

What do the words on the Crest mean?

“Maria Regina Angelorum”, means Mary, Queen of the Angels.

“Cruci Dum Spiro Fido”, means in the Cross, while I breathe, I trust. This means we will always believe in God’s goodness and know he will always look after us.

Loreto Australia and South-East Asia

The Loreto shared mission involves thousands of people including sisters, colleagues and volunteers who work in Australia, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

So many within our shared mission carry the responsibility of continuing the legacy of our Founder Mary Ward – in the spirit of Freedom, Justice and Sincerity educating young women and responding to the needs of our time.

Click here to visit their website.