IBVM Associate, Adrienne Corti, Reflects on participating in May 19th book launch event held in Rome.
I had just booked flights for Rita Mary Cote, another IBVM Associate and myself to go to Italy to celebrate my 75th birthday by returning to my roots. With unexpected synchronicity, the announcement and invitation to the Book Launch of “Teresa Ball and Loreto Education Convents and Colonial World 1794 -1875” by Deirdre Raftery to take place 2 days after our arrival in Rome appeared in an email.
Rita Mary immediately said, “Maybe we could go to the Book Launch.” Why not? After all, we both grew up on stories about Mother Teresa Ball when we attended Loretto Guelph and Loretto Hamilton. We called our longtime friend, Evanne Hunter, IBVM (Loretto Stratford) and asked if she intended to go and she could join us after on our planned 2 week tour of central Italy. So began the adventures of 3 Galloping Girls.
Our first stop was the CJ Motherhouse, our home for our first 3 days. What an open armed, embracing hospitality awaited us, including a card in my spacious bedroom with this quotation of Frances Teresa Ball: “The peace of God surpasses all human understanding”. The next 3 days were filled with heartwarming interactions at meal times and the actual Book Launch, between the IBVM Casa Loreto and the CJ Generalate. We had already in the past been part of meetings where we had met Sisters of the Irish Branch. Being introduced to Sisters of the Roman Branch we truly felt as one and were welcomed as Companions of Mary Ward. It is difficult to describe the intense feeling of belonging to women from around the globe, united by the common bond of our visionary Founders. It was so evident that we are “storyful” people whose lives interconnect and weave together in one great tapestry.
Deirdre Raftery has artistically woven the thread that is Teresa Ball’s outstanding life into this biography. She paints a picture of a woman of strength, vision and confidence who, like Mary Ward was very much immersed in her social world, recognizing the need for girls to be educated. Indeed she proved herself to be an exceptional leader and a whiz at finances as we witness her establishment of 37 Loreto Houses throughout 7 countries by the time of her death in 1861. The biography begins with a Family Tree which gives us a context for her life which in her talk to us Deirdre described in the words of Mary Oliver as her “one, wild, precious life”. Indeed, this is the life each of us possesses. Along with so many who inspire us in our lifetimes we have before us two powerful and tender guiding beacons of hope, Mary Ward and Frances Teresa Ball.
We ended our time with our Companion Sisters with a spirited liturgy in the CJ Chapel still feeling the beat of the accompanying drums calling us to walk boldly the pilgrim path of our Founders. The sumptuous Feast back at Casa Loreto nurtured our spirits as well as our bodies for the road of union ahead of us. We left there for our next stop to be with Francis and Clare in Assisi with most grateful hearts.
Respectfully submitted by Adrienne Corti, IBVM Associate
A special thank you to Adrienne for sharing!