Mary Ward Week 2024: Day 6

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Who is this woman? What is leading her on?

I am Cecilia and I live in Myanmar as a missionary. My life in Myanmar as a missionary is a big challenge for me. As the political situation is becoming worse, the economy is going from bad to worse with no end in sight. Many people are starving and are suffering since the coup in 2021. Although I want to do more for the poor, it is hard to be active in public. The military government is very reluctant to support poor local residents because it believes that many of the anti-government forces are among the poor. I worry about my safety when I distribute rice and oil to the poor and when I provide educational opportunities for children. I have to be careful when I visit such areas. Should I just live peacefully in this situation? I work with children and youth in slum areas and I frequently think of Mary Ward – if she lived here what would she do? I compare my current situation with Mary Ward’s situation.

The song “Lead Us On, Mary Ward” gives me a clear answer. “What is she saying to us?” Listening to the song, I am deeply comforted and happy because I feel what I am doing is in keeping with Mary Ward’s dream. And the song tells us “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the gospel of peace”. I know that this is a place of great challenge and danger, but it is also a deeper place to which Jesus calls us. Therefore, I will step up to the challenge! I will walk with Jesus and Mary Ward in this dark situation. “All will be well, for God is near.”

Cecilia Lee CJ

Moving to Australia to study theology, my current ministry is to cultivate knowledge and insights in academia. I study and live an ordinary life, finding myself sharing the hidden life of Jesus in the small village of Nazareth. For thirty years, he lived and worked quietly among his family and neighbors, being remembered not for his greatness but by his ordinariness. Reflecting on this mystery, I have affirmed the importance of ordinary life and the importance of family and community – those whom God sent to me to take my hand and walk with me.
When I listened to “Lead Us on Mary Ward”, the phrase “take my hand and walk with me” stayed with me for days. It is an invitation to overcome the notion of strangers: “I” versus “you” and “we” versus “they” to build a circle of friends. And yet, the unity in companionship does not necessarily mean “a drop dissolves into the ocean” but rather the simultaneous realization of deeper individuality. As Teilhard de Chardin asserted: “True union differentiates”. Joining this circle of friends and following Mary Ward’s footsteps in bringing the gospel of peace, I felt the call to be not merely a messenger but a channel of peace, starting with being at peace with who I am and where I am. And I believe that genuine peace from within is one of the most vivid, contagious, and powerful witnesses of the gospel of peace.

Tran Tuyet Trinh IBVM

For Reflection

What is challenging you in your place? Where is Jesus calling you?
What would Mary Ward do if she were in your situation?
How do you experience Jesus’ presence in the sacred space that he invites you to be?

Esther Finis