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6ThedistinctivespiritofLoretoeducationinEnglandhasbeenshapedbyasuccessionofstrongwomenwhoweremarkedbycourageintelligencevisionandaloveofGod.ThenamesofmanyoftheseLoretosistersareknownonlytothosetheyhaveinfluencedintheclassroomsandstaffroomsofforexampleAltrinchamManchesterandStAlbans.ThenamesofthreewomenhoweverwholaidthefoundationsandsetthedirectionthatLoretoeducationwouldtakeinthiscountryarewellknowntoalltheLoretofamily.ThefirstofthesewomentheVenerableMaryWardcamefromYorkshireandfoundedintheseventeenthcenturywhatlaterbecameknownastheInstituteoftheBlessedVirginMary.Theothertwox13FrancesTeresaBallandMargaretAlphonsaEllisx13wereIrishintheircontactwithEnglandinthenineteenthcenturytheywerepartofalonghistoryofIrishinfluenceontheEnglishfaithstretchingbacktothesixthcentury.Maryx19sdesirewastorespondtotheneedsofthetimeandtoprovideaneducationappropriatetothedifferingneedsofherstudents.Muchofwhatsheintroducedwasinnovativeandchallengedmanyoftheprevailingviewsof17thcenturysociety.Perhapshermostcontroversialbeliefwasthatwomenshouldbegiventhesameeducationalopportunitiesasmen.MostclergyofthetimesawwomenasweakandasasourceoftemptationtheyweredescendantsofEvex13x18thelasttobecreatedandthefirsttosin.x19Fortheirownandmenx19sprotectiontheyneededenclosureeitherbymarriageoraconventwall.IncontrastMarybelievedthatifonlymenwouldstopmakingwomenbelievetheycoulddonothingthentheywouldbeabletodogreatthings.Shewroteofherdesiretoprovidegirlswithx18theeducationinschoolsandcommunitieswhichwillseemmostsuitableforthecommongoodoftheChurchandtheirownparticulargoodwhethertheychoosetospendtheirlivesintheworldorinreligiouslife.x19Inlightofthecontinuingoppressionofwomeninpartsofourworldherambitionsforwomencontinuetohavemuchrelevance.Theschoolsshefoundedhadareputationforexcellence.Marydemandedhighstandardsfromherteachersandbelievedinsupportingthemtothehiltinachievingthosestandards.Muchcarewastakeninchoosingappropriateteachersinsupervisingtheirworkandinprovidingtrainingforthem.Herdreamwastosetupschoolsinhernativelandandshewroteoftheneedfortheseschoolstobeofthehighestpossiblestandardx18ifdoneitmustbesoperformedasbettercannotbe.x19MARYWARD1585-1645THEROOTSOFLORETOEDUCATIONINENGLAND