The 1631 Bull of Suppression destroyed the first Institute Mary Ward had tried to found, but it could not destroy her companions’ determination to persevere in the form of apostolic religious life to which God had called them.
In England, communities survived in London and York, where the foundation of the Bar Convent in 1686 ensured that Mary Ward’s commitment to the education of girls would continue to flourish. Adaptations were made in order to survive, with some of the communities becoming semi-monastic in lifestyle at various times, but despite these compromises, the memory of Mary Ward and her vision for the congregation remained alive.
In 1877 the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as it was then known, was finally approved by the Church, but not with the full Ignatian Constitutions for which Mary Ward had struggled. It took another century before her sisters were able to ‘take the same as the Society’. This did not take effect until the General Congregation of 2002, when we changed our name to the Congregatio Jesu, to reflect Mary Ward’s desire that her congregation be called by the name of Jesus.
All that is not in him and for him will pass away in time.