Pope Francis Gives the ‘Thumbs Up’!
As the Loreto Sisters in Rome wrote – these photos say it all!
We had tickets to a general papal audience which allowed us to be right up against the barrier in St Peter’s Square. Casa Loreto had brought a large banner with an image and quote of Mary Ward, which was draped over the barrier. It was fortunate that we were so close and that the bright banner helped to highlight our presence among the large crowd! Pope Francis went past in the pope-mobile, then having obviously registered what he had just passed, he turned and with a big smile, gave us the ‘thumbs up’! You can imagine the excitement!
Loreto Province Leader Sister Margaret Mary Flynn and incoming Province Leader Sister Wendy Hildebrand recently attended the Extended Leadership Meeting in Rome – an international gathering of Province Leaders from around the world and the General Leadership Team. The agenda included a very diverse array of issues relevant to the Loreto Sisters and the ways in which we are called “to transform the Church and world .. by seeking truth and doing justice”. Prayer was a constant thread over the days and scriptural reflections and the celebration of mass and other liturgies where symbols, dance and music were intertwined, kept us grounded in the Gospel and our call as Mary Ward women.
Loreto Sister Cecilia O’Dwyer, our ibvm representative at the United Nations, spoke about the urgent need for action to counter human trafficking, to care for the environment and to work towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The human cost of trafficking was brought home to us by Sister Imelda Poole from the English Province who shared her knowledge and experience of trafficking from her work with the team of Mary Ward Loreto Albania and RENATE. It was an, inspiring, and very challenging presentation and her facts and figures made us more aware of the enormity and tragedy of this issue that touches every country including Australia.
The gathering also included an historic occasion – the first ever joint meeting of the two branches of Mary Ward’s Institute – the Congregation of Jesus (CJ) Generalate team and their Provincials from around the world with the IBVM Generalate team and Province Leaders. Historical factors led to the development of these two different branches, but this joint meeting was a significant step in claiming our common heritage as the one institute founded by Mary Ward and strengthened our desire for future union.
Another highlight was our attendance at a general papal audience in St Peter’s Square where he gave us the ‘thumbs up’!