INSTITUTE OF THE BLESSED MARY VIRGIN MARY Casa Loreto
CONGREGATIO JESU Casa Generalizia
29 March 2016
Dear companions in the Lord
We are writing once again to share with you some of the matters we discussed at our most
recent meeting of the two General Leadership teams.
It is our custom that one group hosts and chairs the meeting, which this time was in Via
Massaua, and the other group prepares the prayer. After the meeting we have supper together
and just enjoy each other’s company, something we have done quite frequently recently,
including celebrating 30 January in Via Nomentana with Mass and supper together, as well as
regular informal visits and times together.
To begin with the present — the joint house of studies in Manila in the Philippines continues to
be a thriving community and place of welcome for others in Manila for a period of time,
including CJs from India currently on the East Asia Pastoral Institute leadership course. There
is also plenty of contact with the newly established IBVM novitiate in another part of Manila.
The joint theologians’ group which began last year with a meeting in Rome has now formed
its own steering committee to map its next steps. These will include an audit of all theological
expertise within the two congregations and, in due course, the creation of some online
theology modules on different subjects, which it is hoped will support both first and ongoing
formation in both congregations.
Formation, whether first or ongoing, is a very obvious place for mutual collaboration and last
year saw a meeting of the Provincials and formators of both branches in Latin America. The
meeting, which was fruitful in itself, took place in Peru, and confined the desire to continue
with a joint formation programme in Latin America.
Last summer also saw the joint Mary Ward Summer School, led by Magdalen O’Neill IBVM
for three weeks in London, with five participants from each branch. All the participants were
invited to attend the summer school in order that they could then act as a resource for their
province/region/part of the world. We have been delighted by how much they all gained from
the experience and by how seriously they have taken the responsibility to “pass it on”. As a
result, we have agreed to repeat the experience in the summer of 2017, with the summer
school being led by two of the participants in the 2015 summer school, under the guidance and
supervision of Magdalen .
As well as the 2017 Mary Ward Summer School, August 2017 will see the second Mary Ward
Lay Conference in York, organized by the CJ English Province and Friends of Mary Ward.
We are delighted that this too will be a collaborative event, bringing together lay friends of
Mary Ward from both branches, together with a smaller number of members of both branches.
Also in 2017, we are hoping that we can time our extended leadership meetings — ie with
Provincial and Regional Superiors — in such a way as to have a couple of days of overlap when
the two groups can come together to consider shared priorities, especially in our mission. It is
likely that this will be during April 2017. 2017 also brings an education conference organized
by the 1B VM schools in South Africa, to which CJ members and lay colleagues in schools will
also be invited. So 2017 is going to be a busy year on the collaboration front!
In the meantime, this year, 2016, there will be a major UN conference in Korea, and at the
invitation of Cecilia O’Dwyer IBVM, who has the IBVM “desk” at the UN, there will be
representation of both branches at that conference later in the year.
In the meantime Liz Cotter IBVM continues to work to build up her contacts and her
administrative base as the Vice-Postulator for Mary Ward’s Cause and she will be in touch
with you all when she has anything promising to report. As one would expect, these early
stages of the renewed process of the Cause are very important but involve much behind the
scenes work to establish the process on a firm foundation. This includes establishing a
contact person for the Cause in each province or region. We understand that not all
provinces or regions have yet responded to this call from Liz and we would urge any
province or region that has not yet done so to do so as soon as possible. It is through this
network of members that Liz will need to operate in the future, both to circulate news about
the Cause but also to distribute material for prayer for the Cause and also for receiving any
news of possible miracles or “extraordinary graces” through the intercession of Mary Ward.
For ourselves, our next meeting is planned for mid-May and there will be at least one further
meeting during the course of the year, after which we will be in touch with you once again.
It only remains for us to ask you all to pray for all of us as we do for you, to wish you all a
very joyful Eastertide in this Year of Mercy and, with Mary Ward, to ask that Jesus may
continue to have us all “in His keeping”