On June 13th, five members of our London community went on pilgrimage for the day to St Omer.
When Mary Ward left England to enter religious life in 16some, St Omer was the first place she arrived. Advised by the Jesuits there, she entered the Poor Clares, first as a lay sister. She left the Flemish Poor Clare convent to found a monastery for Englishwomen, and it was there that she experienced, in a very powerful way, God’s call to ‘something different’. A few years later, after some pastoral work in London, it was to St Omer that she returned, this time with companions, to live in community and seek God’s will for their life together. A house on Rue des Bleuets, not far from the English Jesuit College, can therefore lay claim to being the first house of Mary Ward’s Institute!
We had a wonderful day, with beautiful weather, exploring Mary Ward’s St Omer: visiting the Cathedral, where she would have prayed before the statue of Notre Dame des Miracles, walking the streets of the old town, and visiting the English Jesuit College, with its beautiful chapel (now an exhibition space). We also found time to enjoy Mass with the
Benedictine community at the Abbaye St Paul in Wisques, and some good French food! We prayed for the various intentions we had journeyed with: the future of the CJ, various friends who were ill or bereaved, and those whose kind gifts had enabled us to make the day trip. More photos on our gallery page!