Loreto Normanhurst is a congregational Catholic school, which is under the care of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM), also known as the Loreto Sisters. It is part of a worldwide tradition of over four hundred years of educating young women. Mary Ward founded the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1609. Explore pages in our Archives section to find out more about the life of Mary Ward and her vision which underpins our school.
Mother Gonzaga Barry, an Irish pioneer of the IBVM, formed the Institute’s first Australian community at Mary’s Mount in Ballarat in 1875. Seventeen years later, she brought the IBVM to New South Wales when she established the first Sydney Loreto in Randwick in July 1892. Loreto Randwick taught day students and was home to thirty boarders, under the care of Mother Dorothea Frizelle. Within five years, however, the nuns were looking for larger premises.
As Mother Gonzaga Barry approached the property on Pennant Hills Road on a rainy day in June 1896, the sun burst through the clouds and formed a beautiful rainbow over the estate. Reverend Mother voiced her delight; her quest was over. The extensive property was purchased for the Loreto boarders and the foundation stone was laid on 28 February 1897.
"What the world needs is a wise, lovable and well-educated woman”
Mother Gonzaga Barry IBVM.