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Monday 19 September 2016

Cause for the Canonisation of Mary Ward

images-3We were delighted to welcome Sr Ann Stafford CJ of the Bar Convent to speak after Mass about the life cause for the canonisation of the foundress of the Congregation of Jesus, Mary Ward. She encouraged us to pray for the cause. Prayer leaflets are still available at the back of the church. Sr Ann also urged us to visit the Living Heritage Project at the Bar Convent and reminded us that volunteers are always needed to welcome the many visitors who come.

The biographical details below are taken from the Living Heritage Website and  can be read in full here.

Mary Ward was born in 1585 at Mulwith, near Ripon, of staunchly Catholic stock. Her two maternal uncles  were Gunpowder Plotters. Mary herself possessed all the qualities of a true Yorkshire woman: courage, tenacity, deep faith, cheerfulness and a forthright common sense. Much of her childhood was spent with relatives, where her spirituality matured in these devout Catholic households.

In 1609 Mary dared to found an order of religious women modelled on the Society of Jesus, with a freedom from religious enclosure and a readiness for apostolic works which would put them at the direct service of the Church. She set up communities and schools in many cities on the European continent, and her members were sent under cover on the English Mission to support the priests.

After her many journeys and struggles in support of her Institute, Mary Ward returned to her native Yorkshire, and lived with a few of the original companions at Heworth. She died on January 30th 1645, and was buried in the churchyard at Osbaldwick where her tombstone, now in a place of honour inside the church, can still be seen.img_2321