The Life of Mary Ward
This presentation of the life of Mary Ward is based on extracts from The Gift of Mary Ward written by Christine Burke ibvm.
She became one of the greatest English women of the seventeenth century
– a courageous innovator, a mystic, a holy woman and an inspirational leader.
Shortly after her death, her life story was depicted through a series of paintings. Some have been used to help tell her story here.
Mary Ward’s pilgrim hat and shoes
In 1909 Pope Pius X finally recognised Mary as the founder of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
In 1951, Pope Pius XII paid tribute to Mary Ward as ‘that incomparable woman, given to the church by Catholic England in her darkest and bloodiest hour’; and
In 1984, Cardinal Ratzinger stated ‘With courage and decisiveness she opened the way in her own time for women to work in a new way in the Church….It may be said, perhaps, that precisely now Mary Ward’s hour has come’.
In 2009, Pope Benedict declared Mary Ward ‘Venerable’.
Today, members of Mary Ward’s Congregations, co-workers and thousands of students and friends are found in 45 countries across the world.