The values of Mary Ward, foundress of Loreto education, were celebrated in the annual inter-schools debating competition between Loreto College Coleraine and Loreto Grammar School Omagh on April 6.
Hosted by Loreto College Coleraine, the competition saw students from Years 8-11 making speeches based on some of the core values of Loreto Education.
Year 8 students were asked to speak for three minutes on either ‘Honesty is always the best policy’ or ‘Mary Ward: a woman for all Seasons’.
Students from Year 9-10 spoke for up to 4 minutes on ‘The importance of good manners in today’s world’ or ‘Mary Ward is possibly the most remarkable woman of the 17 th century’.
Meanwhile Year 11 students spoke for up to 5 minutes on ‘World Peace is an impossible dream’ or ‘Mary Ward is as relevant today as in the 17th century.’
In the Year 8 class, first place went to Peter McCool (Loreto Coleraine) and Shauna Keyes (Loreto Omagh), second place to Aoife McCarry (Loreto Coleraine) and third place to Harry Bucukoglu (Loreto Coleraine) and Rebecca McSorley (Loreto Omagh).
In the Year 9 class, Anna McGinley (Loreto Coleraine) was placed first, Katie Mulholland (Loreto Coleraine) second and Ella Duffy (Loreto Omagh) third. In Year 10, first place went to Hannah McSorley, second to Mia McCormack and third to Ailis Keyes, all Loreto Omagh.
Finally, in the Year 11 class, Orla McGovern and Una McGlinchey were joint first, while Shannon Conway and Zara McGrath were joint second (all Loreto Omagh).
Mrs Siobhan Mullan, Public Speaking Coordinator at Loreto College Coleraine, paid tribute to all th students who had taken part in the competition, commending them on the high standard of their speeches.
* Mary Ward was born into an upper class catholic family; she was the eldest daughter of Marmaduke Ward and Ursula Wright. Even from childhood, Mary Ward knew religious persecution as she grew up in Reformation England, where to practice the Catholic faith could result in prison or death.
Pope Pius XII acknowledged her as a pioneer for women’s role in the church ministry outside the cloister.
In 1822 Loretto House was opened in Rathfarnham, four miles from Dublin. “Loretto House” (the spelling of which changed at the end of the nineteenth century), was a name that was to be used for all the subsequent foundations that came from Ireland. This resulted in the sisters of the Irish Branch of the IBVM (Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary) being popularly known as “Loreto Sisters”.