Foundations of Our Institute

The Cause for Mary Ward’s Canonization

The Church proclaimed Mary Ward “Venerable” in 2009. She was recognised as a woman of “undoubted heroic virtue” four centuries after her institute was suppressed and she was imprisoned. Mary Ward’s sisters who work in over 40 countries worldwide rejoiced in the public recognition of this prophetic woman.

pictured right © A Sculptural Portrait of Mary Ward (1585-1645) Meliesa Judge, Liquid Metal Studios, Australia,2005.

Now the institute must complete the journey – to make Mary Ward a saint. This involves two major steps: 

1. We must prove widespread devotion to Mary Ward. This means recording and preserving evidence of support in the many places in which IBVM or CJ Sisters, collaborators, associates or friends live and minister. Through a network of contacts world-wide, the Office for the Cause of Venerable Mary Ward endeavours to discover, collate and share this information.

2. We must provide evidence of “extraordinary graces” or miracles received through the intercession of Mary Ward. This requires the investigation of possible miracles, whether medical or other, at three levels. This work is being undertaken by Sister Elizabeth Cotter IBVM, a canon lawyer, who as Vice-Postulator for the Cause, is responsible for its promotion both in the place of any alleged miracle and in the Office for the Causes of Saints in Rome. One miracle is required to satisfy the Beatification process, i.e. the penultimate step, and another to have Mary Ward declared a saint – Canonization.

Update on the Cause:

How can you help?

  • Let the Office for the Cause know of any graces received in the name of Venerable Mary Ward.
  • Promote devotion to her by sharing information with others, e.g., distribute the leaflet or the Relic/Prayer Cards prepared by the Vice-Postulator’s Office.
  • Let us know if you want prayers for someone who is ill (you can contact the Office directly or use the “prayer request” on the website)·  Let us know if you have received a “favour” sought through the intercession of Mary Ward.
  • Write a Personal Testimony describing what Mary Ward means to you, her influence in your life. Encourage others to do likewise.
  • Ask Priests, Bishops, Cardinals, Religious, Theologians, etc. to write a “Letter of Support” for the Beatification of Mary Ward. You can find the guidelines here:

Painted Life and Portrait of Mary Ward (pictured right) © Congregatio Jesu Mitteleuropäische Provinz, München. Foto: Studio Tanner, Nesselwang.

Contact details

Office for the Cause of Mary Ward
Loreto International House
25 Rathfarnham Wood
Dublin D14 H2R6
Telephone: +353 1 4240426
Fax: +353 1 4240430

Sr Elizabeth Cotter IBVM will be delighted to assist you.

Prayer for Mary Ward’s Beatification

God, Creator of all that is good,
we thank you for giving Mary Ward to the Church and to the world.
Impelled by the fire of your love,
she did not shrink from risks,
labours or sufferings.
She lived and worked for your greater glory,
for the good of the Church,
for the nurture of faith
and for the dignity of women.
She was a pilgrim
who spread the joy of the Gospel
A woman for our times.
Grant that through the solemn testimony of the Church
the example of her life may be a light for all who seek God’s will.

Novena Prayer for Healing from Sickness

Lord, (name of person)
whom you love is sick. If it is Your will You can heal her/him.
Your will be done.
You have said,
‘Whatever you ask the Father in my Name, He will give to you.’
In Your name I ask for this grace and I ask through the intercession of Mary Ward,
who sought Your honour and glory in everything and who said:
‘When God grants me a place in heaven, I shall always help you.’
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be Amen.

Any favours received through the intercession of Mary Ward can be reported to Sr. Elizabeth Cotter at the following email address: or to any Loreto or CJ community.

Directing the Cause for the Venerable Mary Ward

Elizabeth Cotter IBVM (Liz) is a canon lawyer who, in November 2015, was appointed by CJ and IBVM Leadership to full-time ministry promoting the Cause of Venerable Mary Ward on behalf of Mary Ward’s Family: The Congregatio Jesu, The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Loreto and Mary Ward Friends, Associates, Collaborators and Co-Workers throughout the world. Liz is from Dublin, and has a background in education at secondary and tertiary levels; she was Vicar for Religious in the Archdiocese of Dublin from 2006-2015 which provided much practical experience in every area of canon law. The Cause work involves networking with the worldwide Mary Ward Family, making this wonderful, prophetic woman more widely known, responding to requests for prayer, distributing relic prayer cards, leaflets, and other material about Mary Ward, investigating possible miracles, and collating information about the innumerable works, missions, and ministries that enrich the world in the name of Venerable Mary Ward.