We, Sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, popularly known as Loreto, have as our inspiration and inheritance the vision of Mary Ward. She is our wisdom figure and prophetic foundress (1585 – 1645).
Her spirituality was centered on Jesus and the Gospel. She attempted to initiate an apostolic way of life and active ministry based on the spirituality and constitutions of St. Ignatius.
Many women all over the world owe a lot to Mary Ward. Her vision was that ‘Women in time to come would do much’-
for the service of the Church,
beneath the banner of the Cross,
under the Pope,
for the care of the faith,
keeping God ever before their eyes.
Mary wanted her sisters to be whole people, at peace with themselves, enjoying closeness with God, talking to him about everything and seeing him in all things. In this way, women too, could be of great service to others.
Mary’s ideal was –
a group of dedicated women,
free to move at the service of the Church, wherever the need arose,
their way of life was to be ordinary and simple,
not bound by cloister, common penances or any particular dress,
women were to govern women,
they were to be ever ready for all those tasks which could be done for the salvation of souls, living in the spirit of freedom, service and readiness for any work.
Mary Ward’s main visions were:
The Glory Vision:
1609 – Mary Ward and her sisters would do something that would give God great glory.
Take the same of the Society:
1611 – Mary had a clear sight that she should follow the principles of St. Ignatius in her foundation.
The Just Soul Vision:
1615 – Mary’s vision of holiness was of a person who was completely united with God and His will in justice, combined with total sincerity and spiritual freedom.
Mary Ward believed that if a person’s stance in life is “to refer all things to God” this will bring inner peace and a freedom to respond creatively to the needs of others.
“A singular freedom from all that could make one adhere to earthly things”. (M.W.)
Justice meant having a right relationship with God, with people, with the environment and with the whole of creation. Relationship with others should be honest and loving, respectful of the differences between people, cultures and traditions.
“ We should be such as we appear and appear such as we are.” (M.W.)
Mary Ward believed in the fundamental dignity of the person because each is made in the image of God. Each person has a responsibility to seek for truth.