The five core values of Felicity, Freedom, Justice, Sincerity and Verity underpin Mary Ward’s spirituality and define our approach to education and social ministry around the world. Grounded in the Gospel and Mary Ward’s own lived experience of faith, community and mission, these values have informed our shared vocation for over 400 years. Today they are a core aspect of the educational approach of Loreto schools in Australia, where a focus is drawn each year on one value and its contemporary expression.
Felicity, Freedom, Justice, Sincerity and Verity weave their way inter-connectedly through our texts, traditions and teaching. They call us to live fully as companions of Jesus, to walk in the footsteps of Mary Ward and to work in friendship with our global family.
Verity, in Mary Ward’s words, embodies integrity, particularly the profound truth of who we are and what gives meaning to our lives. This is centred fundamentally on the mystery of God. It challenges us to invest our everyday living with value and wholeheartedness, searching for what we know is right and important as people of God. Verity asks us to share our light with others and to provide leadership on the journey of life, as seekers of truth.
This is verity – to do what we have to do well.
Mary Ward’s understanding of Freedom was grounded in her sense of a personal relationship with God. She believed that each person has free and open access to God and can find God in the ordinary experiences of each day. This is an inner freedom, accepting of self, open to others and the world, and trusting of life. It acknowledges that personal liberation is essential to human flourishing.
Act not out of fear but solely from love.
Mary Ward’s sense of Justice is integrally grounded in a harmonious and open relationship with God, with other people and with the whole of creation. From an insight we call ‘the just soul’ she believed good works would flow in the person seeking right relationship. Justice is evident in right relationships, in the search for equality, the protection of human rights and our valuing of human dignity. Informed by Catholic Social Teaching and the Gospel, Justice exists in the DNA of our Loreto identity. This commitment is expressed in works of justice and our active participation in bringing God’s kingdom to being in our world.
Be seekers of truth and doers of justice.
Sincerity is concerned with our personal honesty and the way in which we hold ourselves in our communications and relationships. Mary Ward’s ideal was that we examine our interior life and know ourselves as God knows us. Sincerity calls us to live authentically, giving expression to our individual personality. True Sincerity requires us to match word and deed and to reflect our inner selves in our outer actions.
We should be such as we appear and appear such as we are.
Felicity is an attitude of mind and a disposition of the heart which manifests itself in a sense of joy and hope, so evident amongst the early Christians. To live with Felicity calls us to embrace optimism and positivity, whilst knowing that true happiness comes from recognising and understanding the complex richness of our inner life and our response to it. A lightness of spirit, good humour and a love of friendship marks Felicity as a unique virtue in our way of being.
Show yourself at all times glad and joyful, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Feature Image: Artwork by Sr Susan Daily ibvm
Body Images: Artwork by students of Loreto Normanhurst