Mary Ward’s understanding of freedom was grounded in her sense of personal relationship with God. She believed that each one of us, can have free and open access to God and can find God in the ordinary experiences of each day, if we but reflect on them. This is the truth that sets us free. It is an inner freedom, accepting of self, open to others and trusting of life.
Justice, as Mary Ward describes it, involves personal integrity based on harmonious relationship with God, with other people and with the whole of creation. It is expressed in works of justice, in active participation in the struggle to bring God’s reign to our world.
Sincerity in our communication and relationship with others is an essential characteristic of the personal integrity Mary Ward envisaged. Her ideal was that we should be such as we appear and appear such as we are.
Self-acceptance sets us free from pretence and defensiveness, free to relate honestly and affectionately, and to Love our neighbour as ourselves.
For Mary Ward, verity means integrity and truth, particularly the profound truth of who we are and what gives meaning to our lives, a truth that centres fundamentally on the mystery of God. Hence it underpins the essential dignity of every human being, graced and loved by God, imaging God uniquely and entrusted with freedom and responsibility. At the same time it challenges us to invest our everyday living with value: This is verity – to do what we have to do well. – Mary Ward
Felicity is an attitude of mind, a disposition of the heart which manifests itself in cheerfulness, joy, hope, optimism, courtesy, positive thinking, inner peace and self-acceptance. For Mary Ward, who loved a cheerful giver and a cheerful mind and showed in her own life an extraordinary connection between joy and courage, this felicity springs directly from living out the spirit of freedom, justice and sincerity.
Artwork by Students of Loreto Normanhurst