In our cinemas and the liturgical readings this week, we are reminded of the key role Mary of Magdala played in the leadership of Jesus’ friends after his death. Honoured by Pope Francis as the ‘Apostle to the Apostles,’ Mary leaves the empty tomb with courage and eagerness to convey the message to all, that Jesus has triumphed over death.
Among Mary Ward’s many gifts to the Church and the world are these same gifts of courage and leadership. Mary Ward’s own spiritual development was influenced by female servants, relatives and local martyrs and she takes her place among a long line of formidable Christian women leaders from North East England, including Hilda of Whitby and Saints Aelffaed and Eanflaed – relatives of early Christian kings.
One of her great insights included the desire that her communities be governed by women. In claiming, honouring and befriending the woman leaders in our tradition we are strengthened and inspired in our own practice of leadership – in our families and communities and in the complex organisations that are our churches, schools, ministries and religious institutes.
Across the coming weeks, Province Leaders of the Institute will be attending an Extended Leadership Meeting in Rome to reflect on current leadership practice, priorities and concerns and undertake forward planning as a world-wide, international Institute. We pray for the same gifts of courage and leadership in our own time.
Wendy Hildebrand ibvm
Loreto Australia & South East Asia