The Loreto Sisters have traditionally been associated with establishing great reputable schools all around the world. Besides their pastoral work and initiatives in education, the Sisters have also engaged in a wide range of developmental activities.
Mary Ward: A Continuing Source of Inspiration
Mary Ward(1585 - 1645) was the foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a religious order, which has a worldwide presence engaging mainly in the education of girls. The 'Loreto' nuns belong to the Irish branch of the Institute, there being two other branches - commonly called the 'Roman Branch' and the 'American Branch'. The latter also uses the name Loreto as it was originally founded in Ireland.
Mary Ward lived in England during a time of great persecution and hardship for those who remained true to the Catholic faith. As a young girl Mary wished to devote herself to God as a nun, but all the convents in England had been closed down. Therefore, she sailed to Europe and became a novice in a Poor Clare Convent where her life's work would be to pray on behalf of those in need of God's special blessings. However, in time, God revealed to her that her life was to be spent not just in prayers but in active service as well. Thereupon, she gathered a group of likeminded charitable and spiritual women, wives and mothers, to establish the IBVM.
In 1821, an Irish lady, Mother Teresa Ball established the first House of the Institute in Ireland and called it 'Loreto House'. It was from here in 1841, that a group of nuns led by Mother Delphine Hart brought the Institute to India and founded Loreto House, Kolkata.
Let us, Mary Ward's spiritual children, be inspired by her life and strive for the ideals she placed before us through her deeds and actions. These are the everlasting ideals of goodness, sincerity, courage, joy in service and love for the poor.
The seminar – Redefining Development
The seminar – Redefining Development - held during Oct 26th -29th, 2008, proved to be an important turning point in many ways. The participants included sisters and priests from Darjeeling, Kolkata, Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) and a team from Anugalaya (Darjeeling Social Service Society). The seminar, held at the Loreto Convent in Darjeeling, provided a unique opportunity to identify the ongoing development initiatives in a larger context. Thus, participants explored the spiritual basis of their activities, the different approaches in social work, as well as the socio-economic and political context of the Darjeeling hills.
The fruitful discussion at the seminar led to a shared understanding and commitment to using a Community Based Development Approach for all future DMWSC initiatives. Thus, it helped local communities to prioritize key processes of change. The participants also agreed on helping communities access government schemes and resources, initiating a regular system of reviews and working with lay people as animators.
The focus was on the indigenous people of the Eastern Himalayas and the tribes of Central India. The majority of the people living in the Eastern Himalayas are Nepalese, Gorkhalis and Sikkimese with tribes like Lepchas, Bhutias, Rais, Limbus, Magars and Tibetans also residing in the area. Indigenous tribes of Central India include the Oraons, Mundas, Kharias and Santhals.
To foster women and child friendly communities, where they are enabled to make informed choices for their development and growth.
To initiate action that would counteract human trafficking.
To build networks and develop partnerships with friends, students, alumnae, volunteers...