Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Institute of Mary; Loretto Nuns; The English Ladies
Founded by Mary Ward at Rome, 1633; reconstituted from her first congregation suppressed in 1630.
Pioneers of the unenclosed orders for women, the founder and her companions met with little encouragement before Pope Clement XI approved their Rule, that of Saint Ignatius, in 1703, when they numbered six foundations.
The work of the Institute is educational (primary, secondary, and university), principally for girls.
Owing to the variety of names and the independence of branches and houses, the essential unity of the Institute is not readily recognized, e.g., the Irish branch of Loretto Nuns, founded from the York establishment in 1822, has its own mother-house at Rathfarnham and special constitutions approved by the Holy See.
The several generalates into which the Institute has been split up are those of Bavaria, Austria, Mainz, Ireland, and Toronto (Canada).
The institute has 228 houses, including training colleges, boarding and day schools, technical schools, an institute for the deaf and dumb, and orphanages in England, Ireland, Germany, Rumania, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Spain, Africa, India, Australia, the United States, and Canada.
New Catholic Dictionary