Mary Ward Week

Mary Ward Week Timetable of Events 

Monday 23rd January

         ♥ Mary Ward Thought of the Day
         ♥ Quote a Ribbon

Tuesday 24th January

         ♥ Mary Ward Thought of the Day
         ♥ D.E.A.M. during Tutor Time

Wednesday 25th January
♥ Mary Ward Thought of the Day
♥ Mary A—Wards Day

Thursday 26th January
♥ Mary Ward Thought of the Day
♥ Mary Ward Treasure Hunt 

Friday 27th January

♥ Mary Ward Thought of the Day
♥ Mary Ward Table Quiz in the Concert Hall

Also there are lots of prizes and surprises to be given out during the week so don’t miss out!!!!!

Mary Ward’s Life

Mary Ward, an intrepid Yorkshire woman, was born in 1585, into an England ravaged by religious war where attendance at Mass was considered an offence against the state and the harbouring of priests was treason punishable by death.
As a young woman, Mary followed her desire for religious life and joined a Poor Clare community in St Omer in Flanders (now northern France).
However, it quickly became apparent to her that God was asking ‘some other thing' of her and, having made a vow to join a Carmelite community - should her confessor so direct her, she returned to London.
Here Mary worked tirelessly caring for the sick, visiting prisoners, offering catechesis and supporting those struggling with their faith. A number of women joined her, prepared to associate with her in a new venture.
One morning as she was dressing she received a spiritual gift which convinced her she had a mission. ‘I understood that the work to be done was not a Carmelite convent but a thing that would please God far more and give him greater glory than I can say, but I was not told any particulars about what the work was to be or how it was to be done.'
Towards the end of the year 1609, Mary and her five companions left London for St Omer and began a school mainly for English emigrants.
In 1611 she received further Divine instruction that she should ‘take the same of the Society' and so began her work in endeavouring to establish an Institute for women based on the active apostolic life established by St Ignatius Loyola for the Jesuits.
Her women were to be dressed in the ordinary clothes of the time, would not be confined by monastic enclosure and, most controversially, were not to be under any male Order but were to be self-governing. These demands were in contradiction to the norms of the Council of Trent and presented great difficulty for the leadership of the post-reformation Church.
Mary travelled extensively through Europe, mainly on foot, seeking support for her Institute. Schools were established in Belgium, Bavaria, Austria and Italy.
However, the Cardinals of the Inquisition prevailed and in 1631, a Bull of Suppression was imposed on Mary and her Institute.
Mary, condemned in the bull as a ‘heretic, schismatic and rebel to Holy Church', was imprisoned in Munich. The Institute was pronounced to be ‘suppressed, extinct, uprooted and abolished'. The schools were closed and the members of the Institute dispersed.
Though released from prison and subsequently absolved by Pope Urban VIII, Mary's life's work was now shattered. She eventually returned to her native York and died there in 1645.
Despite the suppression, some of Mary's companions continued to live together as lay people and, under the patronage of the Elector of Bavaria, the school in Munich re-opened.
Despite numerous efforts to gain approval for Mary Ward's dream, in 1703 these women acquiesced to a limited rule based on the Ignatian spirit but any reference to Mary Ward as foundress was forbidden. This prohibition by the Church was not lifted until 1909.
However, in spite of this her memory and spirit remained alive, and today two congregations, the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto) and the Congregation of Jesus, look to her as foundress. Their members are to be found in many and varied ministries from Peru to Vietnam, from Mongolia to Zimbabwe.
Mary Ward stands as a beacon of hope for our world today. Her resolute and faith-filled spirit shines through all the difficulties of her life. She lived with the true inner freedom she encouraged in her followers.
Even when challenged by the Church she loved, she never wavered from her vision of the new way of religious life she was called to develop. And this was to be done with a light, joyful heart.
Knowing the great gift of God's love in her life, she assured her followers that their ‘greatness and strength consists in this, that we have free and open access to God'.

Mary Poyntz (1593 - 1667)

From 1609 to 1627, Mary Poyntz lived and worked alongside Mary Ward. She accompanied her on several journeys between England and Rome during this period. In 1627 Mary Poyntz was appointed the first superior of the community in Munich, and in the late 1630's she once again accompanied Mary Ward on her return to England. When Mary Ward died in 1645, Mary Poyntz and Winifred Wigmore moved to Paris and worked on the first biography of Mary Ward. Mary Poyntz was appointed as successor to Barbara Babthorpe as chief superior in Rome. In 1667, she died and is buried in Munich in an unmarked grave.

Barbara Babthorpe (1592 - 1654)

The Babthorpes were one of the oldest recusant families in Yorkshire and it was while staying with them in 1600 that Mary Ward felt the calling to religious life. In 1609 Barbara Babthorpe joined Mary Ward and the small band of women who had come together as Mary's companions at St Omer, in France. She was named by Mary Ward as her successor as Chief Superior in 1645. Barbara Babthorpe died in Rome in April 1654 and was buried at the English College.

Mary Ward’s Spiritual Life

From her earliest years Mary Ward was a deeply spiritual person. It is said that the first word that she uttered was 'Jesus'. As a young girl she listened to stories of religious life and, although such a way of life was impossible in England, she determined to travel to Europe to become a nun, rejecting several eligible men who sought to marry her. In her adult life she regarded prayer as of the greatest importance: her prayer deepened her life and work and made them holy. The way she met her misfortune, especially the last and bitterest one - the total suppression of her Institute - is a striking proof of the soundness of her spiritual life.