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Mary Ward had  courage  as  she  listened  to  God’s  dream  unfold  for  her.  She listened to God’s call and courageously responded. ‘Jesus’ she heard, ‘Jesus’ she repeated. She listened to His deep dream within her, courageously following where He led – over the seas to St Omer, seeking His will only, seeking His truth alone. Courageously leaving the Poor Clares’ and sailing back to England, searching for His will – ‘Glory Glory Glory’, she heard as she combed her hair. Go and bring God’s love to all. Courage to found in St Omer, ‘Take the same’ confirmed her Way. Liege founded and to Rome over the Alps, via Loreto, to get her rule confirmed. Opened schools in Rome, Naples and Perugia. Went to Munich. Houses and schools closed in Rome and Italy. Imprisoned in the Anger Convent, Munich, suppression of all houses and schools. Back to Rome. Back to England, to York, where she died, with, ‘Jesus’ on her lips. ‘To love the poore… was all [her] ayme.’

Challenges she encountered:

  • Opposition to her vocation, uncertainty, disillusionment, physical hardships
  • Cold, hunger, sickness, no money. She had little support, opposition to her form of religious life. Lack of understanding from clergy, Jesuits and Rome
  • Suppression of houses, Civil War, physical

Her response:

  • Prayer, Contemplation, Penance, Discernment, Forgiveness of her enemies
  • “To be placed with Christ” was her prayer. She
  • She searched for the will of Was open to something new – she trusted,

was faithful and remained cheerful. “Mirth at this time is next to grace.” 1631

  • She prayed and worked for the spread of the

“We must await God Almighty’s time and leisure for we must follow not go before Him…” Rome 1629

“Let us sing and thank God for His infinite loving kindness.” Heworth 1645

“Have great courage and confidence in God, and seek to be solid and grateful to God for giving you such a vocation…” Instruction, St Omer 1614

My response:

I need courage as I listen to God’s dream unfold for me today A radical shift in religious life as we have known it…

A time of transition… Circles of trust…

Laudate Si…

Intercultural life as a sign of prophetic hope…

(XXI UISG Conference 2019)

Vision statement (IBVM ELM)

“In the now, we claim the freedom of the boundary-breaking love of Jesus. As people in exile, we embrace uncertainty and in our quest for oneness, we seek new ways of being for mission”.

What seeds of hope are you sowing?

What act of courage can you do today in memory of Mary Ward?

“With real strength and courage do what is seen to be good in all circumstances in which we are placed , not letting ourselves be deterred from this good by any opposition .”


Deirdre Bannon IBVM, Rosemary Bannon IBVM, Philomena Collins IBVM, Maura Hamill IBVM and Geraldine McNickle IBVM (Ireland)


Carla Bellone