General Congregation

The Letterhead and the Logo

When preparing for General Congregation a letterhead (mainly for print materials) and a logo (mainly for web-based materials) were prepared.  You will find an explanation of both below. 

The GC letterhead was designed by Susan Daily IBVM. Here, Sr Jane Livesey CJ explains the meaning behind the image.

The General Congregation (GC) letterhead and logo both find their origins in the Just Soul vision of Mary Ward, the foundress of the Congregatio Jesu and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in 1615.  The Just Soul was the third and last of the three key understandings of Mary Ward that led to her desire to found a congregation of apostolic women religious based on the model of the Society of Jesus. In the first of these, in 1609, known as the Glory Vision, she understood that her vocation was not, as she had thought up to that point, to be a member of the Poor Clare order, but to “some other thing”, as yet unknown, but much “more to the glory of God”.  In the second, in 1611, known as “Take the same of the Society”, she understood that her fledgling congregation should adopt the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.  This was a natural development of her formation in the Ignatian spiritual tradition through a series of Jesuit spiritual directors.

In the third key understanding, the Just Soul, Mary Ward was shown what she called “a certain clear and perfect estate” which was “altogether needful for those who would well discharge the duties of the Institute”.  She identified three characteristic virtues of that “estate”: freedom – that is, the freedom to “refer all to God”, thus being in right relationship with God; justice – not the justice of the law courts but the justice of being in right relationship with others [and today we would include in that creation, “our common home”] and sincerity – that is, “that we be such as we appear and appear such as we are”, being in right relationship with oneself.

For us, the Just Soul and its virtues are the “prism” through which we live out our inheritance as an Ignatian congregation, rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius and with the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus as our particular law, finally granted to us by the Church in 2003, almost four hundred years after Mary Ward had originally sought it.

It is for that reason that those three key Just Soul virtues are integral to our forthcoming General Congregation.  That is why they appear in both the General Congregation letterhead and the logo.  However, of equal significance is that the purpose of those virtues is to better fit us as women on mission in our world – sharing the mission of Christ through our lives and through our ministries.  Being missioned, being “sent”, in companionship with Christ and with one another, is what identifies us as Ignatian women.  The image of the letterhead and the logo tries to reflect our vocation as companions in the Lord at the service our sisters and brothers in our world.  The “dance” of the two figures reflects our belief that we must “co-create” the future of our mission.  It is a shared responsibility and the General Congregation is a significant event in our efforts to co-create our mission into the future, in fidelity to the charism of our foundress, the Venerable Mary Ward.