Day 1: 23 January 2022

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‘It was shown me with clearness and inexpressible certainty … that some other thing was determined for me, without all comparison more to the glory to God.’ (Mary Ward)

‘Seek first the Kingdom of God and his Justice and everything else will be given you as well.’ (Teresa Ball)

Mary Ward was born to a recusant family in Yorkshire in England in 1585 when Catholics were forced to practice their faith in secret. From an early age she felt that God was calling her to religious life and for years she experienced great inner doubt about how God wanted her to respond to His call. In time she realised that her call was to work for God’s greater glory through the service of others and this was to do ‘some other thing’.
This new way was to be characterized by the virtues of Freedom, Justice and Sincerity – ‘A singular Freedom that could refer all to God’. This foundation led her sisters to ministries suitable for the time, i.e. the education of girls and women and working for the Catholic faith – with an openness to all things congruous to the times. Mary’s great concern was to discern how her members could harmoniously combine love of God and the close following of Christ with an active loving service of others. This mission of hers continues in her worldwide Institute today.

Teresa Ball was born into a silk merchant’s family in Dublin in 1794 and sent to the Bar Convent to receive a Catholic education. On Teresa’s return to Ireland from York two hundred years ago, Ireland was emerging from centuries of repression and a need was felt for Catholic schools.

In reality Mary Ward’s and Teresa Ball’s lives are similar, in that both launched out into the deep in boats: one to St Omer and the other to York, not knowing where their risk and faith was taking them. Yet both in their time discovered that the appropriate needs for ministry were the education of girls and the care of the faith. Teresa was ready to take up this important task, firstly in Ireland and then worldwide.

Today, the companions of Teresa Ball and Mary Ward continue now and into the future, finding new ways of answering God’s call in a spirit of courage to move beyond our boundaries to where the need is greatest.
As a result of our daily encounter with Jesus do we appreciate our own giftedness and channel our energy towards change?

Does our life today show God’s glory and inspire others to use their gifts in service and love?

Sr Philomena Dowd IBVM & Siobhan Murphy – Irish Province

Esther Finis