Mary Ward Week 2024: Day 8

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Who is this woman? Eyes fixed ahead set on her goal.

Mary Ward had the courage to opt for the selfless Jesus way on her life’s journey. “To proceed as Christ did… was all the happiness I wished for in this life” she wrote. Like Jesus, her sole purpose was to fulfill God’s will regardless of personal cost. She was willing “to suffer with love and gladness whatsoever trouble or contrariety should happen” in pursuing this. There was no shortage of difficulties, disappointments, and setbacks for her as she attempted to carve out a new way for women religious. She was willing to “bear well all such difficulties as shall happen” in the carrying out of God’s will for her.

For many years I worked in Germany as a social worker for Caritas in refugee work. During this time, I got to know many very committed staff members who worked with heart and soul and passion for freedom, justice and peace, often much more committed than us women religious. Therefore, I was moved by the question: What distinguishes us as women religious? What is the essence of our way of life?

Mary Ward’s whole life was centered on God. For me, “relating everything to God” is the essence of our way of life. As Mary Ward women we relate our whole lives to God. This is our raison d’etre and what we radiate with our lives – that God is the center of our lives and that through God life is complete. In our western world, where faith is dwindling, centering our lives on God as Mary Ward women seems to me especially important. I believe that our Ignatian spirituality gives us the best foundation for this.

As one of the increasingly fewer members in the active apostolic ministry in my home province of Ireland, I am indebted to our older members who model for me those qualities so dear to our foundress. I am inspired by their closeness to God, and their lives of self-sacrifice. They gave their all for the mission of the Institute at home and abroad.

In their later years and with their “eyes fixed ahead,” these wonderful women continue to offer prayerful support to younger members and leadership teams in their apostolic endeavors. I have also been privileged to live and work with international groups of IBVM and CJ women from other continents.

Their commitment and passion in contextualizing and reimagining Mary Ward’s charism for our 21st century world fills me with great hope for our future.

For reflection:

Are my eyes fixed ahead? If so, what do I see?
Am I fearful or hopeful when I look ahead?
Where do I see God’s invitation to me, to my Province/Region, to the worldwide CJ and IBVM families today?

Share your reflection on the Padlet by clicking on the link:

Marica Bašić CJ and Eileen Linehan IBVM

CJ Generalate