Every year IBVM and CJ sisters CJ celebrate Mary Ward week commencing on her birthday, 23 January and concluding on 30 January, the day of her birth into heaven. In different parts of the world, CJ and IBVM communities and friends of Mary Ward met to share, talk and pray together on the material put together in a beautifully illustrated booklet, by Friends of Mary Ward from different countries and members of both branches of the Congregation. This year Sisters Prabina IBVM and Manjusha CJ from India co-ordinated this venture to provide us with lovely reflections for each day of the Mary Ward week.
The members of the Generalate decided this year to make a pilgrimage to places in connection with Mary Ward here in Rome. Sisters of the Roman community and our lay colleagues were also invited. We started the pilgrimage at the church of Il Gesù and the walked in silence to the place where Mary Ward opened a school for poor girls of Rome.
Then we spent some time in the chapel of the Venerable English College. The rector of the College, Mgr. Philip Whitmore introduced us to the history of this place. Four of the first members of Mary Ward’s Institute are also buried here. The prayer focused on one of these four companions of Mary Ward, her own sister Barbara Ward. The climax of 30 January was a solemn Mass in the chapel of the CJ Generalate. It was a joyful celebration of thanksgiving for the life of Mary Ward and all those who walk in her footsteps as sisters, co-workers, and friends in so many countries of the world.
(text: Elisabeth; photos: Františka and Elisabeth)