In Australia, one of our main roles has been the leadership of St Mary’s Hall (1918-1965) and then St Mary’s College (1966-2013) at The University of Melbourne, and our presence continues through Loreto providing a chaplain to the College.
Emeritus professor, Dr. Margaret Manion ibvm, one of Australia’s pre-eminent art historians has contributed greatly to the Melbourne University and the wider academic field for many years.
Her scholarship on Medieval and Renaissance art, and in particular the art of the illuminated manuscript, is acclaimed internationally.
In Vietnam, Loreto also runs two hostels providing safety and support to tertiary students from rural areas. With the support of MWIA, Loreto also provides tertiary scholarships to young women providing them with access to an education they would otherwise be unable to afford. Students are provided with funds to cover their university tuition fees and the cost of their books and study materials so they are able to continue their education.
One recent university graduate, Hoa received a scholarship and used it to study Social Work. She now works for the non-governmental-organisation Caritas. Hoa says, I am happy to have such a good job which means I can help many people. So I am very happy and say thank you very much!
Life-long learning is at the centre of the Loreto educational philosophy. Adult Education provides participants with the opportunity to develop confidence and skills while promoting social inclusion. Loreto’s involvement in adult education is broad and wide ranging and includes home tutoring for refugees, support for prisoners, English as a second language and adult faith education.
Sr Therese Lechte ibvm volunteers at St Albans in response to a need to help the school parents with English. Initially it was just with the Sudanese but before long the Vietnamese joined the group and now a Spanish parent is part of the group.
Whatever the challenge, I love being able to help them in any way I can and am always mindful of who and what they have left behind and how strange to them it must be to adapt to our ways.
– Therese Lechte
In Gari-uai, Timor-Leste, along with establishing a Loreto Pre-Primary school, the sisters work with the community to explore other opportunities for learning and community development.
Photos from top:
Margaret Callaghan ibvm and Tran Kim Hoa ibvm with students at a Mary Ward Hostel in Vietnam.
Margaret Manion ibvm and Deirdre Browne ibvm.
Therese Lechte ibvm teaching English at St Albans in Melbourne.
Margie Bourke ibvm teaching English to adults in Gariuai, Timor Leste.