08th Feb 2022

Together for the cause of Mary Ward

At the beginning of 2022, Sr Liz Cotter IBVM and Sr Elena Gatica Romero CJ met online with the Contact Persons for the Cause of Mary Ward on the 25th and 27th of January 2022.

Here are some impressions of different participants:

Cause of Venerable Mary Ward

The Office for the Cause of Venerable Mary Ward invited the Contact persons – both IBVM and CJ, of the different Province and Regions for a Zoom Meeting – this was the first of its kind!. The Postulator, Sr Elena Gatica Romero CJ , invited the IBVM, South Asia Province to lead the group in prayer. Srs Matilda Lakra & Marilla DSouza IBVM took responsibility. Their effort was much appreciated.

As a member of the team, of ‘Contact Persons’ for the Province, I have been interested in gathering evidence for Sr Elizabeth Cotter IBVM, Vice Postulator for the Cause, of  ‘spread of knowledge and devotion of Venerable Mary Ward’. I was therefore thrilled to meet the other Contact persons on the 25th January, IBVM members, lay Friends of Mary Ward and CJ sisters.

The Meeting brought clarity and  affirmation of what we have already being doing in the South Asia Province to assist the Cause Office and gave us an appreciation for the tremendous work already in progress.

Evidence of prayer to Venerable Mary Ward occurs in

  • Annual Celebration of Mary Ward Week 23-30 January
  • 23rd every month, Day of Prayer for Beatification of Mary Ward
  • Circulating the Formal Prayer Requests to Friends of Mary Ward and IBVM members

Evidence of spread of knowledge and devotion to Venerable Mary Ward is shown by

  • Evidence of prayer to her and through her intercession
  • Evidence of the support of “Prelates of the Church” provided by their letters
  • Annual Mary Ward Report on the Celebration of Mary Ward Week

I am aware that there is much more happening with regard to widespread devotion to Mary Ward. There is, therefore, the need for better communication with the Office for the Cause. In the South Asia Province, a few years ago a leaflet was created in multiple languages and circulated in our communities and institutions. The three prayers in it are used frequently by members at community prayer and at Assembly in schools:

  • Prayer For Mary Ward’s Beatification
  • Through the intercession of Mary Ward : For a Special Intention
  • Through the intercession of Mary Ward : For Healing from Sickness

I was able to identify areas that need further attention and ways to change the format of the Annual Mary Ward Week report for 2022 to indicate number of viewers as most activities were conducted on Virtual platform during this pandemic for the past two years.

I pray for the success of the work begun & pray to our founder to give us her spirit.

Sr Marilla DSouza IBVM
South Asia Province

Next steps

On Tuesday 25th January, and again on Thursday 27th, Liz Cotter IBVM held an international Zoom gathering to convey to us how we can support her in her task to advance the Cause of Mary Ward to the next level. At first, she talked about the status quo of the process, indicating what has happened and what still needs to happen. “Mary Ward belongs to the Church”: it is our task to help prove that our foundress is, not just a pious woman who did something nice for a few people during her lifetime but is a woman who can inspire all today.

The Church has done its part in declaring Mary Ward “Venerable”. The next step is up to us. We must provide a miracle together with evidence of devotion, prayer and support in order to have her beatified.

To be more specific, Liz is collecting evidence of

  • widespread devotion to Mary Ward,
  • prayer to her and help through her intercession,
  • the support of Prelates of the Church (i.e., Cardinals, Archbishops, bishops, deacons, priests).

All of this exists, of course, but we must collate this evidence and make it visible. So, in small sharing groups we discussed ways that might be useful, and developed ideas that might be helpful for our common task. For instance, the visitors‘ book in St Thomas’s church in Osbaldwick where Mary Ward is buried, should be a great source of veneration and international pilgrimage. Many more ideas were shared. All in all, we must be much more active in collecting letters and material, both on local level and on diocesan level.

Liz Cotter is most ideally suited for this process, as she is an expert in canonical law, and because she brings a lot of patience and love to this task at hand. I certainly understood much better what I can do to support her, and will initiate activities in all of our MEP schools.

Through the intercession of Mary Ward may we be able to bring warmth to those who lack love in their life, joy to those who suffer from sadness and above all healing to those who are sick. Give us the light of your Truth and the strength of your Love so that we will be able to make Mary Ward known and make her loved.          (Prayer at the end of the Zoom meeting)

Annette Haseneder
Associate of Mary Ward/MEP

Online meeting on the Cause of Beatification of Mary Ward

The second group of Contact Persons for the Cause of Mary Ward met via zoom on 27 January. They included IBVM and CJ members and friends/associates of Mary Ward from Africa, Asia, America and Europe.

I am grateful for the dedication of Elisabeth Cotter and Elena Gatica to the Mary Ward Cause. It was a great joy to learn first-hand how Elisabeth, the Vice Postulator, is handling the process, with passion, professionalism and great dedication.

During her input, Elisabeth shared with us what she had heard from Cardinal Amato: “Mary Ward belongs to the Church” and therefore we have a responsibility as an Institute to do what we can to advance this Cause. I feel that we have a treasure in our hands that we cannot keep to ourselves.

I was also struck by the question of whether we are living our role of making Mary Ward known as part of our Mission. This question has made me aware of the importance of  actions however small,  in support of the Cause, seeing them as  part of our mission and not as one more action among the multiple tasks of everyday life.

Mary Ward belongs to the Church and to all human race and I want to share the great responsibility of making her known so that her testimony can serve as a “Light” that reflects Christ, helping to illumine so much darkness and lack of hope in people especially the young , both inside and outside the Church. Mary Ward is the heritage of humanity.

I am grateful for the testimony of the group of  sisters with whom I shared because they have helped me to see that much is being done but that there is still a long way to go together, putting all our creativity at the service of this noble Cause.

Mary Ward walks with us to respond to God’s call today.

Esther Villahoz CJ
Provincia de España

Registered Address

IBVM General House. Via Massaua, 3, 00162 Rome, Italy || CJ General House. Via Nomentana, 250, 00162 Rome, Italy