Mary Ward Week 2024: Introduction

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Hello! We are Christa Parra, a Mexican-American from the United States Region, IBVM, and Mariana Ojeda, an Argentinian from the Amerindian Province – Latin America, CJ.

We met in Manresa, in October 2022, at the IBVM General Congregation. From the first moment we met, we felt like sisters from the same family. Fortunately, we both spoke Spanish and were able to share our stories and experiences during this historical moment for our Mary Ward family. We witnessed the loving presence and movement of the Holy Spirit throughout GC22, especially during the unanimous vote for Becoming One. We feel that the spirit continues to move and dance with us all over the world in this process.

We were surprised when our sisters, Estela Grignola CJ and Natalie Houlihan IBVM, asked us to coordinate Mary Ward Week 2024. With joy, we began to work together via Zoom and WhatsApp, Christa from the U.S./Mexico border and Mariana from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

We started from the richness of our own experience on the path to Becoming One, and then invited eight pairs, IBVM/CJ, from different parts of the world to meet via technology. At the heart of this proposal was our need to get to know each other, sharing our lives and mission. The question in our song, “Who is this woman?” resonated with us as an invitation to discover how we live the charism of Mary Ward in our different contexts, cultures, and languages.

From these meetings, reflections were born, illuminated, and guided in this dance by the song “Lead Us On Mary Ward” by Deirdre Browne, to whom we owe deep appreciation for her work of art and final reflection. We also thank each member of the Mary Ward family, who generously said “yes” to this proposal to share, from their reality, the call to love and serve God “bringing the gospel of peace”.

We discovered that the reality of each context is different from what we knew or imagined. We realized that there were places where the video call connection was impossible to make and they needed to communicate in another way. We discovered that the richness of the nine languages that we now share is not so easy when it comes to connecting and understanding one another. We learned that international communication requires creativity, flexibility, attentiveness to the different realities of each country-culture, and the desire to listen to each other with our hearts. The process taught us that we truly are interconnected and that what impacts some of us also impacts all of us.

We invite you to pray with the reflections of each day and to share what resonates with you through our Padlet! Click on the link below or use the QR code and join our conversation where you can write, and upload images and/or videos. We hope this will be an easy way to interact with one another and get to know each other better!

Click on the link to hear our song! You will also find the lyrics on the following page. Thank you to Susan Daily for creating the video!

Let us sing and dance our song with God, Mary Ward, and each other as we trust that “all will be well for God is near!”

Esther Finis