For followers of Jesus and friends of Mary Ward, promotion of justice and just relations are at the heart of our faith.
The scriptural sense of justice goes well beyond fair play. God’s justice is always linked to compassion to bring about a more humane and caring world based on right relationships. This is the justice Mary Ward named as one of the three characteristics fundamental to her company. She knew God loved her, and her response was love. She saw that all good works would flow from a heart transformed by love. So she calls us to let the love of God, as revealed in Jesus’ life and actions, animate us and ensure our relationships are right, with God and neighbour and all of creation. This requires inner freedom, to bring our whole life before God and find God in all. And it requires integrity – great honesty with ourselves and with others. Then we will be “just persons” apt for all good works – or advocacy and assistance wherever these are needed, all flowing from love, not self-service.
– Christine Burke ibvm and Margaret C. Honner ibvm
Social justice is the practice of looking at the political, social, economic and religious structures and decisions through the eyes of the most vulnerable in society and working with them to respond. The Loreto Sisters are active champions of justice and freedom, advocating for equality in access to health and education and promoting careful stewardship of all creation. The Global Mary Ward Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) ministry is an invitation to be more active and sensitive to JPIC issues at the international, intercultural, environmental and inter-religious levels. In 2014, at their General Congregation, members of the world-wide Institute adopted Five Calls which encapsulate the spiritual core and contemporary challenge of our mission. At this meeting a corporate stance on Trafficking in Humans was also ratified and an ongoing commitment to address this justice issue is maintained by an international network of Mary Ward Sisters and through IBVM support of Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans, Talitha Kum and Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation.
Mary Ward’s network is represented at the United Nations by delegates from the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Congregation of Jesus. Within our Province, justice related activities are co-ordinated through the Loreto Justice Network. Our advocacy, service, outreach and justice initiatives are influenced by the Gospel mandate, the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching, the Sustainable Development Goals and the priorities of the Institute.
In keeping with our Province Mission Statement, Loreto Sisters are involved in a range of justice, service and outreach activities and advocate for the most marginalised in our society. Through Mary Ward International Australia and Fundacao Loreto Timor-Leste, the Loreto network supports local and global projects. These projects are supported by many generous friends of Loreto, past pupils and our school communities.
Justice is lived out in our prayer and protest, action and advocacy, debate and dialogue, research and writing, outreach and outpouring of love. Let us all be seekers of truth and doers of justice. – Mary Ward
In a world of inequality and oppression we stand with those exploited in any way by unjust systems and structures. Of particular concern to us are injustices that prevent women and men from becoming fully and freely the human persons God created them to be.
– IBVM Constitutions Vol ii 2.8
Feature Image: Photographed by Sr Susan Daily ibvm