Who is this woman? Where is she going?
“O take my hand and walk with me. Come and sing my song.”
The words gently urge us to join Mary Ward and continue her journey of determination that God had set for her and her company for some greater thing and for God’s greater glory.
This determination was like the “fire burning” (Jer 20:9) in her heart that the prophet Jeremiah experienced, which was impossible to shut out. Her actions were bold and loud. She set out with boundless faith and unwavering hope on her ventures to give God glory. She was quiet and reflective when hardships came her way. She turned to Jesus in prayer and talked to Him while she moved about doing good, constantly consulting Him as a ‘friend of friends.’ She quietly strode over many years without paying too much attention to all the challenges that were hindering her footsteps. Deirdre Browne, IBVM, in her masterpiece, reminds us to challenge ourselves to move beyond our comfort zone and reach out. If Mary Ward were here physically with us, she would be praying with her feet to reach out to the peripheries and make those there, the center of her life and service. She is inviting us today to do the same!
We were paired with other sisters to write this reflection together, me in South Sudan and two sisters from a CJ community in the Ukraine. Two countries in two hemispheres sharing a hope of peace. Communication had been a challenge, not so unlike in the time of our early sisters. Unfortunately, modern internet servers were not able to serve well in these two zones, and made it impossible for us to express our feelings collectively. The reality in both these countries still remains raw and rough. We are stunned into silence and shock to see how human life is least valued, human dignity is not respected. Women and children are the most vulnerable in all situations in these countries. Every single day is a struggle for the people and Mary Ward women in these communities are constantly challenged by unjust practices embedded within our societies.
Besides doing our share to eradicate these injustices, we continue to be a presence among our community and to be one with them in their sufferings. With all our fragility and vulnerability, with dependent faith in Jesus and following the courage of Mary Ward, we let “the strength of her spirit, the love of our Lord…” keep us going to spread the gospel of justice and peace.
In ‘Lead Us On Mary Ward’ there is a strong invitation to move mentally and physically: Where would my feet take me if I were inspired by the spirit of Mary Ward?
What could boost my courage to set out like Mary Ward with unwavering determination?
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