The Ladies of Loretto

The Ladies of Loretto



by Viga Boland

“The Ladies of Loretto”, unlike her previous two memoirs, is a story Viga Boland always dreamed of writing one day. This memoir is a nostalgic and humorous, tongue-in-cheek look at what it was like to attend a Catholic High School during the years of 1960 – 1965, when the nuns slammed a yardstick ruler on your desk if you were dozing off during Latin and made you kneel on the marble floors while they checked if your uniform wasn’t getting too short. It was the era of teased hair, American Bandstand, the “Twist”. There were no cell-phones or iPads. And when it came to sex-ed, well that just didn’t exist.

If you were a student at Loretto College School (Brunswick) at that time, you’ll recognize some of the teacher’s names. Maybe you’ll even wonder if that student the author is describing is you. But at the same time, you’ll have to forgive the author if some of the details and names are mixed up. After all, that was over 50 years ago now. And the author apologizes, but isn’t to blame, if the nuns pictured in this book aren’t wearing the habits you remember: the author couldn’t find photos on the net of even the school itself back in the 60’s. Remember, there was no internet then.

Below, a video of the formal book launch of “The Ladies of Loretto” which took place on the former convent grounds of Loretto College School Brunswick on May 30, 2015. This event was hosted by the current staff of Loretto College School as part of their Centennial celebrations. Enjoy Viga’s talk about how the book came to be and what preceded it. The video is about 11 minutes along, but at the end, you’ll hear the audience of former classmates and students singing “Blue is the Flag of Loretto” to bring the event to a fabulous close:



Viga hopes all who buy this book will enjoy this nostalgic romp through a time that was gentler in some ways, harsher in others. Whether you attended a Loretto school or some other Catholic high School in the early 60’s, you’ll no doubt relate to many of the feelings, insecurities, and joys Viga experienced. As one reader remarked:

“Viga, what a trip for me. Same education, same years, same mean teachers and adored ones (just different schools). Your book is certainly a true representation of those years  at a Catholic girls’ high school . My heart ached throughout for Heidi, knowing what I knew about your home life. It’s incredible that you survived at  all. It also makes me wonder who among us at Notre Dame were suffering the same fate.  Viga, bravo!  Not too long, not too short, just right.”

Add to that comment, this one made by one of the current teachers at Loretto College School:

“Well…it was quite the read!  I loved it!  It brought back some wonderful memories and continued to make me proud to be a “Lady of Loretto”.  Thank you for sending those advanced copies.  I started to read it in the afternoon and read an excerpt to my grade 11 class as they saw the cover of the book that I was reading and had several questions.  They were excited that there was a book written about their school.

It was so interesting to follow Heidi, (your) journey as a Lady of Loretto.  This memoir highlighted how much Loretto has changed (only a few Loretto Sisters left, none of which are teaching, graduation dances, uniforms, the Loretto song…)  and how much it is still the same (girls still not fond of the uniforms, shorter hemlines, too short at times, the nuns would be cringing as do I at times, we had a retreat at the centre in Niagara Falls – that was fun especially when we had free time…).  When reading your fond, not so fond and humourous memories I could definitely relate, especially to your curiousity about the nuns.  We had our art classes in the convent and I was always so curious about the nuns quarters – several of their doors were open and you could see their neatly made double beds, very modest furnishings and at times you would even see one of the Sisters on her bed reading the bible!

I really felt for you on many levels with your situation at home (I’m vaguely aware from your website), and had great admiration for your courage and resilience.

I especially could relate looking back to my teenage years, that awkward phase, and currently as a Loretto teacher, with hopefully the right balance of compassion and toughness, watching the LCS young women go through similar things today sprinkled in with bullying, twitter, tumblr, instagram and snapchat…

There were so many things that captured the Loretto spirit or the “sisterhood” that I hope to recapture during the events for the centennial celebration in the upcoming months.

Your honesty, candour, and humour were greatly appreciated.  I definitely admire the fact that you are a published author and ultimately followed and fulfilled one of your passions – writing.

This book is timeless – I made several connections to it and our girls today could learn about their history and would definitely be able to relate. This book will definitely be a resource that I will share with the current and future Ladies of Loretto.”

Well, what do you think? Curious to read “The Ladies of Loretto”? You can purchase the signed and printed softcover version, and/or the electronic version for your KINDLE or iPad or other e-reader in this website’s STORE. Viga Boland thanks you for supporting her by your direct purchase from this website. Enjoy “The Ladies of Loretto” and please leave your feedback on the comments section.

1964 Graduation Class, Loretto College School Brunswick, Toronto, Ontario

1964 Graduation Class, Loretto College School Brunswick, Toronto, Ontario


  1. Heather Lamb
    Heather Lamb May 3, 2015 at 8:52 pm .

    Viga Boland’s third memoir, Ladies of Loretto, is a light-hearted, sometimes poignant, trek through the adventure that is called high school. Viga’s story of teachers she feared and catty girls who tore her down, along with shared laughter and triumphant victories, take each of us back in time to those days when we were trying to find ourselves and our higher callings.
    We feel the same trepidation she had when she entered Loretto College; who will be her friends; who will be her enemies? We commiserate with Viga when she has those “fat” days. We cringe with embarrassment for her when she is called to account by the teachers. We wait for the punishment of the nuns, as she did, and sass back in the classroom, passing notes and looking for the admiration of our peers, right alongside her. We see Viga grow over the years of her school career into an ambassador for the College. We see the blossoming of respect she gains for these bewildering creatures called nuns. We see her find confidence in herself and her abilities.
    Ultimately, we come to realize that Loretto College wasn’t such a bad place to be after all. And, as promised, most of the girls emerged as ladies– ready to conquer the world!
    I heartily recommend this book to anyone looking for a nostalgic return to the good old days. You won’t be disappointed. Kudos once again, Viga!

  2. Georgina Black
    Georgina Black May 8, 2015 at 1:55 pm .

    I enjoyed reading your book “Ladies of Loretto” so very much Viga. Because I was there in Loretto Brunswick 1961-1963 it brought back so many memories – not only of the school but of the times. I related to so many of your feelings too and your experiences and have no doubt that the students of today go through the same. After all, the times may change but our human essence is basically the same. I worked for two years and then returned to another Catholic girl’s school – Notre Dame – to do my last two years. Time was a factor here as it was less than a ten minute walk to ND. I’ll always remember the long haul out to Brunswick Avenue – streetcar, subway, bus and then the long walk up the avenue. But back to your book – a wonderful read Viga and thank you so much for sharing your memories with us and enkindling our own.

  3. Antoinette Fracassi
    Antoinette Fracassi May 23, 2015 at 7:05 pm .

    I haven’t read the book yet, but am looking forward to it. I’m in the graduation picture! Will you have copies to sell a the centenary ?

  4. The Ladies of Loretto Book Launch
    The Ladies of Loretto Book Launch May 25, 2015 at 5:59 pm .

    […] THE LADIES of LORETTO […]

  5. Leona (Alexandra) Zadoyko
    Leona (Alexandra) Zadoyko May 29, 2015 at 3:45 pm .

    So I picked up the book from the post office on my way to work Wednesday morning. Decide to open the envelope when I get there. Hey, I’ll just thumb through it. Oh well lets just read the opening. Good thing no customer stampede. Four hours later, I had travelled through memory land. Absolutely an experience that brought me back to my teens. To realize that we as a collective sisterhood, all experienced the same educational life so to speak. The similar fears and joys of high school life, the similar depictions of our entourage. The years may have been different, the experiences the same. This is not only your memoir, it is every Loretto graduate’s memoir and if not, it truly is the story of the ’66 graduating class. Congratulations!! You captured the Loretto Ladies in all their glory. (Please note, two spaces between each sentence – that’s all I remember of typing class).

  6. Rita Bailey
    Rita Bailey June 1, 2015 at 10:30 am .

    What an enjoyable romp down memory lane! Viga, you have captured the teenage mind-set perfectly. I attended LCS from 1964-1969. Many outstanding teachers come to mind: Mrs, Culligan, Mr. McKenzie, Mrs. Regan, Sr. Aloysius, Sister Elaine, Mrs. Kearns, Mrs. Metcalfe, Miss Dunn, Sister Noelle. Others whose names have escaped me. One nun, who put me to sleep, said “If you are bored, dear, you are a boring person.” Some were brilliant teachers, some most definitely were not, but they all left their stamp. I can see Mr. McKenzie giving us a challenge in calculus or algebra, saying, “Stand if you know the answer!”

    And who could forget our school anthem, Blue Is The Flag?
    Thanks for the memories, Viga. I feel 15 again!

  7. Raffaella (Raf) Di Cecco
    Raffaella (Raf) Di Cecco June 11, 2015 at 12:26 pm .

    Hello Viga. I just saw the grad picture for 1964 and realized you were in my sister’s year. Her name is Maria Rosaria De Pasquale. I graduated in 1963. My maiden name was Raffaella DePasquale. I am looking forward to reading your books. I will order them on line. Be well.

  8. vigaland
    vigaland June 27, 2015 at 1:18 pm .

    Got a story to share with us about your days at Loretto College School Brunswick like this student shared (see blog post here: Send it to me via this website … and sign up to receive my blog posts about “The Ladies of Loretto”.

  9. Barbara
    Barbara June 27, 2015 at 1:49 pm .

    I finished reading Ladies of Loretto yesterday, and loved it. Despite the setting being Catholic, all high school students would relate to the emotional ups and downs in this book. When you purchase a copy of Ladies of Loretto, there’s no doubt you will LOL! A perfect mix of clowning and conflict, LOL touches on the many hilarious but often self-loathing experiences during author, Viga Boland’s, high school years at a Catholic institution. Her comical interactions with strict nuns and escapades with pretty peers will leave you yearning for more. Typical of Viga’s self-deprecating wit is the following snippet from her book:

    “When Betty arrives to pick me up, I want to die. She’s wearing a beautiful powder blue dress with a big crinoline underneath, the other most popular style on Bandstand. It fits snugly on her petite waist before fanning out. Her hair is teased. She looks like Sandra Dee in “Gidget”. My hair is teased too but I look like San Jaffe on Ben Casey.” Page 58.

    Ladies of Loretto is an addition to her first two memoirs, No Tears For My Father and Learning To Love Myself. Ladies of Loretto only hints at the vile incestuous years Viga endured at the hands of her father which continued throughout her time at Loretto College School Brunswick, but fully revealed in her book: No Tears For My Father. Desperate for her classmates to never discover her horrific secret, most were unaware of her struggle until recently, when Viga took center stage as guest speaker at a Loretto College School fifty-year reunion. There she revealed her tormented past to her fellow students and teachers who had come to hear her speak. What a shocking eye-opener that must have been!

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