a review of Christian spirituality
|July 2012|| Vol 51 No 3|
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Playing within the Rules
In this special issue, which focuses firstly on the life and work of Mary Ward, Gemma Simmonds offers a biographical sketch situating Ward in her times. How were women best to exercise ministry within a Church that was busy implementing the reforms of the Council of Trent? Answering this question would prove to be no straightforward task.
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Mary Ward’s Dilemma: The Choice of a Rule
Mary Ward was deeply influenced by her contact with Jesuits, and wanted to take their Constitutions for the group of sisters she was forming. Mary Wright asks what other religious rules might have been available to her, and why she ultimately rejected each of them.
'Hither I Must Come to Draw': Mary Ward and the Ignatian Constitutions
The Jesuit Constitutions were composed to guide the lives of an order of male priests. Why then was Mary Ward so insistent, against considerable opposition, that they were applicable to the situation of her own fledgling congregation? Brian O’Leary, author of a recent study of the Jesuit Constitutions, addresses this puzzle.
‘Take the Same’—But Differently: Mary Ward’s Appropriation of the Ignatian Charism
Mary Ward lived at a time when observance of the Roman Catholic faith in England was subject to a host of sanctions, small and great. Gill Goulding sees this context as a key to understanding how she needed to reappropriate and reinterpret the Jesuit Constitutions in the attempt to implement the experience in prayer that had led her to them.
Mary Ward and Jesuit Myths
If Mary Ward’s principle aim in life was to found a congregation of sisters living a mobile apostolic life on the Jesuit model, she failed. It took another three centuries before the Church was able to countenance such a possibility. Philip Endean argues that is it precisely this experience of repeated failure that shaped her appropriation of Ignatian spirituality, in a way inaccessible to the highly successful Jesuits of her time.
'Ineluctable this Shimmering:' The Principle and Foundation
At the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius Loyola offers a world-view for all that follows, in his ‘Principle and Foundation’. Adaptation and application remain central to working with the Exercises to this day. Here Janet Ruffing asks what this key Ignatian text might look like from a contemporary eco-feminist perspective.
A Beguine’s Spectre: Marguerite Porete (†1310), Achille Gagliardi Sj (†1607), and Their Collaboration Across Time
Three centuries before Mary Ward another woman, Marguerite Porete, also fell foul of the church authorities, having argued for a freedom of spirit that they regarded as a severe threat to orthodoxy. At the end of the sixteenth century an Italian Jesuit, Achille Gagliardi, was moved by these controversial ideas, and so represented them in ways, Juan Marín argues, that then influenced much of the spiritual writing of the next hundred years.
An Abridgment of Christian Perfection
Here, in our ‘From the Ignatian Tradition’ strand, we present extracts from An Abridgement of Christian Perfection, a seventeenth-century English translation by the Benedictine abbess Mary Percy of the influential work of Achille Gagliardi, to which Juan Marín’s article refers. In them he explores the idea of that ‘annihilation’ of the devout soul needed if growth in Christian living is to be achieved.
A Dialogue across Time: Julian of Norwich and Ignatius Loyola
For a dedicated reader, in Oonagh Walker’s experience, ‘The texts of a lifetime begin to talk to each other, and unlikely voices hold dialogue across centuries’. Here she describes one such dialogue, that between Julian of Norwich, the fourteenth-century anchorite and mystic, and Ignatius of Loyola, as revealed in his Spiritual Exercises.
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