IT is the end of an era for the Loreto Sisters in Ballarat.
The group of eight sisters officially said goodbye to the college as home yesterday, signalling the end of a rich history.
The sisters will still remain closely involved in college life, but for the first time in 137 years they will not live on-site.
As a group they had lived at the Sturt Street campus, known as Mary’s Mount, since it was founded in 1875 as the first Loreto school in Australia.
There are now more than 100 Loreto schools across the country.
The sisters will now live on a Webster Street property, which will be more suited to the ageing group and also free up space for further development at the ever-growing school.
Sister Yvonne Lamerand said there was a sense of mixed emotion at a farewell ceremony held at the school yesterday.
They were also joined by other sisters that serve throughout the Diocese of Ballarat.
She said although there was a sense of sadness that the sisters would no longer live at Loreto, they would maintain strong contact with the school.
“It’s a significant day, it marks a new chapter for the sisters,” Sister Lamerand said.
“The links will be strongly maintained and the spirit will live on.
The school is growing and they need space and we want to help out in any way we can.”
There are plans to construct a new performing arts centre as part of the school’s expansion, which will be located at the former home of the sisters.
Loreto College principal Judith Potter said the sisters made an invaluable contribution to the school.
“The sisters are amazing women,” she said.
“Everything they do, they do it for the love of the students. It’s like having our own personal cheer squad for everything we do.”
The majority of sisters living at Loreto schools across Australia have also moved away from school grounds, or are in the process of moving out.