There was a full house at the Gardiner St Gospel Choir Mass Sunday 30th January for the blessing of a portrait for the church of Mary Ward, foundress of the Loreto Sisters. Dublin and Wicklow Loreto schools were well represented as teachers and chaplains brought many of the 5th and 6th years, including bus loads from Crumlin (where the director of music at the Mass – Aidan Greene – is the music teacher, pictured here with Sr Moira McManus), Bray and Beaufort. Present also were a large representation of Loreto Sisters, including the Provincial, Sr Noelle. Celebrant and PP Donal Neary SJ paid tribute to the work of the sisters in education noting that the Jesuit church was a fitting place for the celebration given the strong link between Jesuit and Loreto Spirituality and Mary Ward’s wish to take on the Jesuit Constitutions. Speaking after the gospel, St Therese Larkin said “This year marks the 400th anniversary of Mary’s inspiration to live fully the Jesuit way of life. God’s desire for her Institute was fulfilled in 2009, 398 years after he gave her the idea! Following God’s call led Mary to being imprisoned, labelled a heretic and her/our congregation being suppressed, the kernel of the problem being that she was a woman. A woman who believed that women were equal to men and they equally could do great things!”
And she recalled that Mary Ward’s “first decision to give her life to God in this way was made as she listened to a lady who worked in her family home relate the story of a nun who had given scandal. Not far removed from our day! She concluded that ‘God loves and leads in time of scandal as in other times.”
There were good reports from the pupils at the Mass, which was a fitting end to the Mary Ward week in the schools. The Gospel Choir Mass is celebrated each Sunday in Gardiner St Church at 7.30 p.m.