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The Second International Meeting of the Friends of Mary Ward, August 2017

On 7 August 2017 120 Friends of Mary Ward gathered at York St John University in York, England, for the Second International meeting of the Friends of Mary Ward. Participants from both branches of Mary Ward’s institute arrived from every continent and from twenty-five difference countries: Albania, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Kenya, Korea, Mauritius, Nepal, Peru, Romania, ‘Rome’, South, Africa, Spain, Tanzania, United Kingdom, USA, and Zimbabwe. 
We were delighted that both General Superiors, Srs Jane Livesey CJ and Noelle Corscadden IBVM were able to be present throughout the conference as well as three members from the generalate teams in Rome.
The planning committee felt it was important, especially for participants who had never been to Mary Ward country, or who might never come again, to visit those places in Yorkshire closely associated with Mary Ward’s life. Visits were planned within a spiritual context to provide an opportunity to understand Mary Ward better, through being able to hear, see, touch and smell the places associated with her.
On the first afternoon, in the pouring rain (an important element in any visit to Mary Ward’s country), we visited York Minster from there it was on to the Bar Convent. After a guided tour of the new Living Heritage Centre, we celebrated out opening Mass, thanks to our competent liturgists, and then we all enjoyed a buffet supper with members of the Bar Convent community.
Next day, and subsequent afternoons, we visited Mulwith (where Mary Ward was born); Ripon Cathedral (where some of the Ward children were baptised); Ripley Castle (where Mary Ward stayed with her Ingleby cousins as a child – and where we met Mary Ward in person – see photo); Bishop Thornton Church (with its stained glass window of Mary Ward); Mount Grace (the little chapel on the hill where Mary Ward prayed), and Osbaldwick Church (where Mary Ward is buried, and where we were led in prayer by the Anglican Rector). 
Our three main keynote speakers were Sr Gemma Simmonds CJ (Heythrop College, University of London), Dr Elaine McDonald (Dublin City University), and Sr Imelda Poole IBVM (President of RENATE). On the last day Srs Jane and Noelle presented a joint appreciation of where Mary Ward’s Family is today, and Sr Liz Cotter (Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Mary Ward) gave us an informative account of her work on behalf of the whole Mary Ward family.
After the keynote addresses we had time for group discussions, sharing across national groupings, and deciding what and how we would take the experience of the week back home with us.
The title of the conference was: ‘Mary Ward, Prophetic Woman’. Guided and inspired by our excellent keynote speakers we were taken through ways in which Mary Ward was prophetic in her own times, which inspired one participant to share her description of Mary as ‘shockingly modern’. We touched on Mary’s ‘resilience’, on the ‘powerful networks’ she forged, on the ‘boundaries’ and ‘walls’ that cannot be allowed to stand in our way if we are to be authentic ‘bearers of a dangerous memory’. 
In their joint reflection Srs Jane and Noelle focussed on the encounter with Mary Ward we had experienced together; on the reality of our ‘oneness’ as the Family of Mary Ward, which we need to live out of rather than out of irrelevant categories of CJ or IBVM, religious or lay, by which we have traditionally identified ourselves; we were encouraged to ‘cherish God’s vocation in each other’ (to paraphrase Mary Ward’s words); and as family members to start looking up our ‘long lost relatives’ on the other side of Mary Ward’s family. 

This news item expired on 22/11/2017.


From 27 to 30 August all those in Latin Americawe who have been finally professed for less than 11 years gathered in Brazil: Mariana, Clementina, Patricia and María Celia from Argentina; Sueli, Andeiziane and Verani from Brazil and Yamilet from Chile.  Estela CJ from Argentina and Miroslava IBVM from Peru accompanied us.
It was a time and space of meeting each other and our own lives again, of listening to each other and sharing our dreams, our desires, our questions, and also our frustrations and fragilities.  It was a time of discovering each other as sisters and companions on the way, with desires for something different in order to be faithful to the charism of Mary Ward.
The meeting revitalized us and enlivened in us the desire that arose in the meeting of Juniors in 2009 whose motto was “united in dispersion we make our pilgrimage with God’s dream”.
We felt strongly called to remain united, to support and encourage each other to live the gift of vocation received by each one.  We found ourselves challenged and encouraged to risk living our consecration in a different way, in freedom, humanity and reciprocity,  being ourselves, contributing our God-given talents, living connected to our deeper selves and from there in harmony with the cries of the present day world.  Not self-centred but rather, in touch with our dreams and deeper desires to do the will of God and continue building the Kingdom.
We thank the Congregation for this formative space and especially Estela and Miroslava and we would like these opportunities on a yearly basis in order to continue growing together as friends in the Lord.

This news item expired on 12/11/2017.

Members of the Generalate on Consultation visitations

The General Leadership Team finds itself in an exceptional situation this autumn, because four Consultation visitations have to be carried out, both back to back and one after the other. The term of office of three Provincials and one Regional Superior will end over the next few months. According to our Complementary Norms we need to get an overview of the Province/Region and consult all the sisters on finding suitable persons, capable of leading the Province/Region into the future, as a help towards discernment according to our manner of proceeding.
Prisca and Elisabeth are the first to start their journey to the Bangalore Region on Friday, 8 September.   Jane and Elena will leave for Chile a week later and will remain in the province until 30 September.  They will then visit the CJ mission in San Salvador until 4 October. From 11 October until 17 November, Jane and Prisca will visit the Patna Province, while Cecilia and Elisabeth will be in the Korean province. By 2 December all will be back again in Rome.
We hope that everything goes well everywhere, that the flights will be punctual, our conversations helpful, and that no mosquitos disturb!  (Text and Photos/eka) 

This news item expired on 11/11/2017.