History of Mary Ward
The Sisters known as the Loreto Sisters belong to the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) founded in 1609 by a twenty-four-year-old Yorkshire woman, Mary Ward. Because of religious persecution in England, Catholics from that country had to seek education in Continental Europe. Mary Ward and her first companions established their first school at St Omer (now in France) in a house, which is still there, although it is now a private residence. In St Omer, Mary Ward and her group became known as the ‘English Ladies’ – a title still used for members of the CJ sisters (formerly IBVM) in Germany and in other countries in Europe. Despite enormous difficulties, Mary Ward set up houses and schools in Bavaria, Austria and Italy in a relatively short time. She moved between the countries mainly on foot. A pair of her rough shoes, and her pilgrim’s hat can still be seen in one of the CJ convents in Altötting in Germany. Many of Mary Ward’s ideas about religious life and about the work to be done by women were so novel in the early 17th century that in 1631 her Institute was suppressed. Mary Ward died in Yorkshire in 1645. In 1650 her sisters had to flee the country again and seek safety in Paris. Eventually in 1677 the Sisters were able to return to York and open a school in the city.
Now, in 2015, the Congregation which has its roots in this original English Foundation is known as Congregation of Jesus in keeping with the orginal desire of Mary Ward to have the name of Jesus in the title of the Congregation. The CJ’s have foundations all over the world and are in close communion with the Irish branch of the Congregation originally founded by Mary Ward.
The IBVMs in Ireland: Teresa Ball
The lack of formal schools in Ireland acceptable to Catholics in the 17th and for most of the 18th centuries led many Catholic families, who could afford to do so, to send their children abroad to be educated. A silk merchant in Dublin, John Ball and his wife had been happy to send their eldest daughter to the new Ursuline school in Cork. However, the Rebellion of 1798 and its aftermath made travel between Dublin and Cork very dangerous. The Ball family decided that their younger daughters Anna Maria, Isabella and Frances, and their son Nicholas, should go to school in England. The girls were sent to the IBVM convent in York. Frances Ball finished her education in York in 1808 and returned to Dublin. She confided to Fr Daniel Murray, a family friend, that she wanted to become a Religious as soon as she could get her parents’ consent.
In 1809, Fr Murray was ordained Coadjutor Bishop of Dublin. He was to become one of the greatest Archbishops the Dublin Diocese has ever had, and was instrumental in the foundation of the Irish Sisters of Charity and of the Sisters of Mercy, the re-organisation of Maynooth College, the foundation of All Hallows College, the introduction to Ireland of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the building of many Churches including the Pro-Cathedral and Westland Row. Archbishop Murray realised that if the Catholic Church was to be revived after the persecution and suppression of the penal days, it was essential to provide Catholic education for the people. He invited the CJ Sisters at York to establish a school in Dublin but they were not in a position to send sisters at that time. It was arranged that Frances Ball would enter the IBVM in York and that she would return to Dublin in due course to set up the first IBVM house in Ireland. Frances Ball now became known as Mother Teresa Ball.In 1821, when Mother Teresa was ready to return to Dublin, Dr Murray bought Rathfarnham House with forty acres of land. The house had been built in 1725 and had been owned by the Palliser and Grierson families. This first community established by Teresa Ball was named Loreto convent. Mary Ward had been particularly devoted to visiting the church of Our Lady of Loreto in Rome. This inspired Teresa ball to name the first IBVM community, ‘Loreto’. This became the popular name for the Congregation with its roots in Ireland.
Before the house could be used by the IBVM sisters, a number of structural repairs had to be carried out. Mother Teresa and two companions eventually moved to Rathfarnham House on November 4, 1822. The name ‘Loreto’ had been used by all houses founded from Rathfarnham over the years since that November evening. Eventually, the Sisters become known as ‘Loreto Sisters’, although their official title remains the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
A school for girls was established in the newly named ‘Loreto House’ at Rathfarnham. Although the Relief Acts of 1782 and 1792 allowed schools for Catholics in Ireland, those conducting the schools still had to get a licence to do so from the local Church of Ireland Minister or Bishop. The licence obtained by Mother Teresa Ball from Henry McClean and Thomas Jones on 16 June 1823, as well as copies of the required Oath of Allegiance to the King taken by Mother Teresa on 6 May 1822, are preserved in the Loreto Archives. The National School system as we know it to day was introduced by the Parliament in 1831 and took some years to become established. In advance of this development, Mother Teresa started what were called ‘Poor Schools’ everywhere she set up a house. By degrees, a number of young Irish women joined Mother Teresa and became members of the IBVM. Unfortunately, consumption claimed the lives of many of these first sisters while they were still young. The cemetery at Abbey House, Rathfarnham bears witness to the great losses of those early years of the IBVM in Ireland, and to the extraordinary courage of women who carried on. IBVM(Loreto) is a multicultural, international Institute founded by an English woman, Mary Ward. We are known informally as Loreto Sisters. From these early Irish roots the sisters are now in many continents of the world. ‘Ours is an apostolic community whose focus is mission. We are a community for dispersion, inserted in the local culture, ready to go wherever we are sent.’ IBVM Constitutions Vol. ii 3.18. ..keeping always in view the greater service of God and the universal good’ Part 1 Chapter VII no. 650
The Missions of IBVM(Loreto) 2015
|Europe:||Albania||Africa & Islands:||Ghana||Asia:||Bangladesh|
|Australia:||Australia||North America:||Canada||South America:||Peru|
IBVM in England
It was poverty that drew the Loreto Sisters to England in 1851. The Irish famine had brought thousands of Irish men, women and children to the big cities of England and Scotland in search of work and accommodation. Initially they lived in crowded and squalid conditions.
Canon Toole of St Wilfred’s parish, Hulme, Manchester was only too aware of their misery and did all he could to alleviate it. He believed that education would enable the children of these poor people to escape from their terrible poverty. He knew that the Loreto Sisters had an excellent record for education in Ireland so he wrote to ask if they would come to Manchester to start a school for his beloved poor children. Mother Teresa Ball responded generously and sent a party of sisters led by Mother Anne Hickie. The sisters took charge of the parochial school and opened a small boarding school to help to subsidise it. The initial years were very difficult, particularly as they faced hostility in the anti-catholic neighbourhood.
In 1856, Mother Margaret Alphonsa Ellis became the new superior in Manchester. The memoirs portray her as “broadminded, full of wisdom, generous and of indomitable courage; in fact a noble and a valiant woman.”Over the years, the school expanded and by 1900 the sisters had charge of a boarding school, and a large Higher Grade day school on the Convent property, plus the Schools of St Wilfrid’s, St Lawrence’s, the Holy Name and Holy Family, a total of over 2300 children. Loreto College continued to provide education for girls of all ages until in 1977 it became a co-educational Sixth Form College, which continues to serve the needs of the Manchester area. It is a vibrant Institution at the heart of Manchester’s inner city regeneration and part of the global network of Loreto Schools/Colleges run by the Loreto Sisters on every continent.
Following the first foundation in Manchester, others were made across England, Scotland and Wales – some were closed as the need arose for the sisters to move into other ministries; but there are thriving schools to this day in Manchester, Altrincham and St Albans.
We Celebrate our Diverse Ministries
As members of the IBVM, we follow the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Our sense of mission is inseparable from our spirituality.
The work of IBVM(Loreto) in the English Province, 2015:
- Spiritual Direction and Accompaniment
- Prayer, Presence and Availability
- Parish and Diocesan Ministries
- Education – schools, young people, adults
- Refugee and Asylum Seekers
- Anti- Human Trafficking mission
- Chaplaincy work in Hospital and Detention Centre
- Preservation of heritage
- Leadership and Governance
- Formation- study
The English Province opened the ‘Courage to Move’ mission in 2004 – one sister has been missioned to Albania website www.albaniahope.com
Courage to Move over the past years has shown evidence that the invitation of the 2002 Courage to Move letter sent by the then Superior General, Mary Wright, was taken seriously. Many new missions are now established and developing in many countries of the world including South Sudan, Bangladesh, East Timor, Zambia and Albania.
Mary Ward Loreto Today
In Albania the IBVM member and co-workers have opened an NGO Mary Ward Loreto to work against trafficking in human persons through direct action, education, and the empowerment of those most vulnerable. MARY WARD LORETO is planting hope with a human rights approach to combating modern day slavery. This challenging mission is implemented through works of justice, education, grass roots action and systemic change. The aim is to eradicate poverty, the prime cause for human trafficking.
Empowering Through Justice, Freedom and Sincerity
Friends of Mary Ward on Mission
The Friends of Mary Ward in Albania had a great meeting this month in Pogradec near Lake Ohrid in Macedonia. We as always, meet together once a month and this meeting involved prayer and reflection to be clearer about our way forward. We were asked to bring one idea into this open discussion on how we see our future as Friends of Mary Ward.
We are a fantastic group. All had great ideas on how we see the future of the friends of Mary Ward. We are a group of volunteers who follow the mission of Mary Ward and we are thinking to do some volunteering work on helping people in need. No doubt we are spiritual people, we pray, reflect and we share together our feelings and our thoughts.
If you want to join us you are welcome.
Week of Mary Ward
As always friends of Mary Ward meet each month. But the meeting in January, was a very special meeting. 23rd – 30th January, is the week of Mary Ward. This is the anniversary dates of her birth and death. We celebrated her life, Sr. Imelda led us in reflection, prayer and we shared together many sayings of Mary Ward. We used the IBVM special prayer and reflection booklet for Mary Ward Week 2016. In the booklet we have one more concrete example of the desire of both our recent General Congregations never to do alone what we can do better together.
Our Questions of the day for reflection was: Is our day to day life only a time lag or do we experience it as a privileged space and a moment for encountering God?
Prayer: God Father, Mother, living in the depths of each human being, give me a new heart and new eyes to seek and find you, as I search in freedom to recognize you in everyday gestures, a just soul to welcome you, and confidence that you may be the truth that fills my life.
The Friends of Mary Ward meet monthly to reflect on the life and spirituality of Mary ward. There are now about thirteen members in the group which include some of the staff of MWL and they have formed a supportive network amongst each other. Some of the themes covered recently have been Mary Mother of God, The Trinity, Trust and Right relations with God and the whole of creation. The last meeting of December was very special for all members of the group. Two of the General Counsellors from IBVM were present in Albania and during this time the prayer for the coming of Advent formed a moving base for the visit. During these meetings we grow in the centrality of Jesus in our lives and our ministries, calling one another to live the prophetic mission of Christ faithfully and with integrity. We need to pray and to act so as to reflect the charism, the face of God, everywhere, on the margins and in the places of power and academia. We know we need to pay attention to the small things, stay on the margins and work with great responsibility because this is how we experience the call of Mary Ward today.
Reflection at the beautiful Eufemia church in Albania
As this month’s meeting of the Friends of Mary Ward would be the last before the holidays, some of the group went on a pilgrimage and mini retreat to Kallmet, where the group could reflect at the beautiful Eufemia church and surrounding area. The theme for the retreat was ‘Trust in God’. We reflected on some of the stages in Mary Ward’s life where she was most challenged. We prayed together, had silence for contemplation and shared our reflections after pondering on some of the pictures of the Painted Life of Mary Ward. We reflected on how her struggles and her faith in overcoming these, could be applied in our own lives. After a morning of prayer we went to a beautiful setting where an established organic restaurant had been developed. The meal was delicious. We ended the day drinking coffee near the sea at shengjin. We were a very happy group on our return home.
“GO WHERE THE NEED IS GREATEST”
Bartimaeus calls out Jesus’ name from the darkness of his own world. How many times have I called out for Jesus, feeling that I am just calling into the vast space around me? Even when those around Bartimaeus tell him to be silent, he calls out all the more. He doesn’t let anyone determine his course of action. His focus is on Jesus and he is not deterred. Jesus recognizes and acts upon the God-given dignity of Bartimaeus. He listens to his voice and asks for what he needs. From time to time in our own journeys we too experience darkness and need help. With deep faith and trust, we can call out to Jesus and voice our needs. He is our light and faithful companion on the road. The more we call upon Jesus, the more Jesus calls upon us to listen to the cries of our brothers and sisters and accompany them to the light. We too can say with confidence, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.”
Questions for Reflection
Jesus asks me, “What do you want me to do for you?” So I ask myself in prayer: What is my greatest need? What are the greatest needs of those around me? Do I value the voice of my brothers and sisters? Do I allow them to share their needs or do I assume that I know what is best for them?
“Accustom yourself in all doubts to cry out,
‘Lord what will you have me to do?”
A NEW HEART I WILL GIVE YOU
AND A NEW SPIRIT I WILL PUT WITHIN YOU
‘Divine Love is like a fire which cannot let itself be locked up because it is impossible to love God and not to want to labour to extend God’s Glory’ Mary Ward
God in my sleeping, God in my waking,
God in my watching, God in my hoping.
God in my life, God in my lips,
God in my hands, God in my heart.
God in my sufficing, God in my slumber
God in mine ever living soul, God in mine eternity.
Show yourself as you are, and be what you show yourself.
Mary Wrad Just Soul 1615
The truthful person is genuine and consistent in herself. She lives out of her inner truth and behaves as she feels in her heart. She shows herself as she is, and hides nothing, because she accepts everything in herself. The truthful person is also always free; for only the truth will make us free. Anyone who evades her own truth needs much energy to hide herself from others – a truthful person compels us to offer the truth of our own hearts. Before her we find the courage to reveal our own truth. You are invited to share any prayers which come to mind.
Circle me this night with your protection, O God.
May Christ the Saviour surround me with his presence.
May the Holy Spirit guard me while I sleep.
And may your holy angels keep watch over me.
Prayers as we Reflect on The Trinity
The response to each prayer is:
Response:Lavdi Atit, e Birit e Shpiritu shenjt.
Si ka qenë në fillim, ashtu tash a përgjithmonë e jetës. Amen
Let us offer our praise and adoration. You are God the creator, giving us richly all things to enjoy. You are Christ the Saviour of the world, who set us free. You are the Spirit of truth and love, who dwell within us. You are holy and blessed. One God, eternal Trinity, be near to us and to the world your love brings to life. Response
We ask you to open wide our hearts that we may welcome the stranger and share our faith with others,
- open wide our minds that we may receive new truth and understand your will
- open wide our doors, that as we have come into worship so we may go out with you to the service of the world
- open wide our lives that through discipline and prayer we may experience your power in daily living. Response
Lord of the universe we praise you for your creation, you have provided us with everything it needs for life and health. Grant that the resources of the earth may neither be consumed by the selfish nor wasted by the foolish but that all may share your gifts. Response
We remember all who bear the responsibility of leadership, for heads of state, ambassadors and political advisers, we think today particularly of the leaders of the different factions in Israel, Syria, and Ukraine; let your will for our world be accomplished through the decisions they make and give them a vision of peace and reconciliation for you lord can find a way when men and women are lost.Response
Lord we pray for peace in the world, create in us a love for peace, not peace that is absent from struggle, nor peace that is blind to injustice but peace that makes whole what now is broken. We remember those who struggle against injustice.Response We remember this morning those who are sick, sad or lonely and those who are brave and patient when things are going wrong. We pray that they may be aware of your comforting presence and know that in your hands they are safe and loved. Response
Lord we pray for all whose life is saddened by the death of a loved one, be with them in their loneliness and let them know that Jesus Christ is the light of the world a light which no darkness can quench.Response
We remember before God those who have died and light a candle to symbolise the light of Christ which eternally shines and brings hope, We remember ……..
Lord we ask you to lead us into the coming week, Help us to believe that you are close by us, keep us from making mistakes and help us never to disappoint you. When we face hard decisions or difficult work, when we enjoy ourselves and have fun with others may we know that you share these times with us. Response
- Bone Breathing’
- Breath Prayers
- Called by God
- O Lord and Ruler — Jesus as Redeemer
- Final Prayer
- The Will of GOD
- Trust in God
- Love of God
- Love of Others
- A Prayer of Thanksgiving in God’s Goodness to me
- Reflection, What would Mary Ward say about this?
Pathways to God, Ignatian Spirituality online
In June the Director of Spirituality for the Jesuits in Britain and the communications office launched PathwaystoGod.org, a new online resource for Ignatian Spirituality. Pathways to God has daily prayers and inspiring reflections. It incorporates the websites for our spirituality centres and prayer initiatives and communities.
Our spirituality ministry is expanding in response to a great thirst for weeks of guided prayer and mission weeks in parishes and chaplaincies. Read more about this excting new site >>
Sayings of Mary Ward
“Divine love is like fire, which will not let itself be shut up, for it is impossible to love God and not to work to extend God’s honor.”
“Love and speak the truth at all times.”
“Show yourself at all times glad and joyful, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
“Cherish God’s vocation in you. Let it be constant, efficacious, and loving.”
“Be seekers of truth and doers of justice.”
“Do not begin by violently attacking what is bad or amiss in anyone, but by showing the beauty and desirableness of the opposite virtue lead them to wish for it.”
“The Felicity of this course was a singular freedom from all that could make one adhere to earthly things, with an entire application and apt disposition to all good works. (Mary Ward’s ‘Vision of a Just Soul’ 1616.”
“Let thy love be at all times rooted in God and then remain faithful to thy friend and value him highly, even more highly than thy life.”
“In our calling a cheerful mind, a good understanding and a great desire after virtue are necessary, but of all these a cheerful mind is the most so.”
“Serve God with great love and liberty of mind”
“Work with great tranquillity, joy and magnanimity, for what is not done in one year can be done in another. “
“Cherish God’s vocation in you.”
“To love the poor, persevere in the same, to live die and rise with them, was all the aim of Mary Ward. (Taken from Mary Ward’s tomb stone, Jan 20th. 1645)”
“Love verity.. the verity of the Lord will last for ever… “
“Refer All To God ..”
Other quotes from Mary Ward, Please click here..
"Be such as you appear and appear such as you be.” “Do ordinary things well.” Mary Ward