Rooted in the Triune God

From the days of her childhood, Mary Ward seemed to have been rooted in God; for her God was always, ‘the beginning, middle and end of all our good’. Her whole life was tended to the Father whose glory was once revealed to her (1609) as the ultimate end of her life and work . her desire to follow Jesus is revealed in her own words ‘to proceed as Christ did was the portion of grace I only desired for my part and all the happiness I wished for in this life’. She attributed to the Spirit of God that ‘Zeal for souls out of love for the Divine glory’ which burned in her heart and in those of her companions.
Her members are expected to be ‘contemplatives in action’ which means being recollected and absorbed in God in the midst of the crowd. This requires of them to be women of prayer – rooted in the Trinity. Caught up in the tangled activity of daily life and treasuring all the details of the time and place, they find, taste, smell and touch a loving God who wonderfully labours in the world.

Eucharistic Centred

Mary Ward drew inspiration and strength from the Blessed sacrament and she wanted that her companions should at all times have recourse to this open access to God. The same Christ who called us for mission unites us at the table of the Eucharist. It is in community and personal adoration that the members experience unity since the chief bond to cement the union of members among themselves and with their head is the love of God our Lord.

The Glory of God; Service of our neighbour

The fundamental vision with which Mary Ward set forth to begin her Institute was, the “Gloria Vision’ of 1609. Even before the congregation took concrete form it was given its distinctive mark- our work is to be for the glory of God. Human need was her starting point. She would labour for the glory of God, and the one aim of her life was to be the praise and glory of God in everything, hence she was committed to her apostolic vision of helping souls. The emphasis on ‘service of neighbour’ and ‘helping souls’ came from a profound conviction that grew with her in her personal faith history. She was influenced by the Christ of the Spiritual Exercises – Christ in action, who went through the towns and villages to proclaim the saving power of God.

Total availability

“Our Institute must marked by the asceticism of ‘availability’. The basic motivation behind this availability is love and a pure intention of serving God, sincere ‘zeal for souls’… we are here for others; the heart of our mission is the service of mankind” – this was the message of the General Superior to the whole Congregation in 1980. Mary Ward’s response was an unconditional availability of faith and hope, a total surrender of her person to the will of God.

Freedom, Justice, Sincerity

Mary Ward in her vision of the ‘Just Soul’ speaks of the three fundamental virtues which became the focus of our apostolic spirituality. ‘Freedom from all that could make one adhere to earthly things, with an apt disposition for all good works…’This is what Mary Ward wanted for herself and for her companions. Justice is the fundamental relation between God and human being, a kind of personal integrity springing from a state of righteousness in the sense that human being is as God wishes him/her to be. Sincerity highlights one of Mary Ward’s soundest instincts, ‘to do ordinary things well.’ Sincerity means that our words do not contradict out thoughts; this requires “that we be such as we appear, and appear such as we are.”