In 1609, 玛丽病房 founded one of the first groups of active religious women in the Church, 圣母玛利亚学院, known in Ireland and throughout the world as Loreto Sisters.

玛丽, 一个英国妇女, was born in Yorkshire in 1585 during the reign of Elizabeth I, when a youthful Shakespeare was trying to etch out a career as a poet and play write.

玛丽 lived in an age of religious intolerance. Her parents were devout Catholics at a time when Catholics were being persecuted for their faith. Her maternal grandmother spent fourteen years in prison because of her catholic faith. Some of her family also held strong political views. Two of her uncles John and Christopher Wright were involved in the Gunpowder Plot, 由盖伊·福克斯领导, 这是一种尝试, in 1605, to blow up the English House of Parliament and assassinate King James I.

Inspired by the deep faith of her family, 玛丽 felt called to follow Christ in religious life. 她加入了圣克莱尔社区. 佛兰德斯的奥梅尔,现在是法国北部. 然而, it quickly became apparent that God had a different plan!  马利亚想要以一种“新方式”跟随基督, free from religious enclosure and ready to step out to new possibilities.

She returned to London and worked tirelessly, 照顾病人, 来访的囚犯, offering catechesis and supporting those struggling with their faith. 许多妇女加入了她的行列, 准备好开始新的冒险了, a quest to follow Christ and spread the message of the gospel. 1609年底, 这六个同伴, 玛丽病房, 玛丽Poyntz, 简布朗, 凯瑟琳•史密斯, Suzanna Rookwood and Winefrid Wigmore left London for St. Omer and opened a school mainly for English emigrants.

At first 玛丽 struggled to find the form of religious life which suited her dream, where the members would be free from enclosure and ready to undertake whatever was needed to support the faith and spread the Gospel.  然而, in 1611, 上帝又以一种特殊的方式介入, inspiring her to ‘take the same as the Society’.  她现在头脑清楚了.  Her rule and way of life for her members was to be based on the apostolic life of the Jesuits.  She wished her members to be dressed in the ordinary clothes of the time, not to be confined by monastic enclosure and, 最有争议的是, to be self governing without any interference from male congregations or bishops.

These demands were in contradiction to the norms of the Council of Trent and presented great difficulty for the leadership of the post reformation church. While the Pope expressed interest in her work, he was prevented by Church law of the time from giving his approval.  玛丽去罗马为自己辩护.  During these years she travelled extensively throughout Europe, 主要是步行, opening new houses and seeking support for her cause. 学校s were established in Belgium, Bavaria, Austria, Hungary, Italy.

然而, despite the success of the schools and local support for their work, the cardinals of the Inquisition objected to her plans and, 因此, 玛丽·沃德本人, 她的同伴, 他们的理想和工作. In 1631, 在红衣主教的坚持下, Pope Urban VIII signed a Bull of Suppression, 谴责玛丽是“异教徒, 对神圣教会的分裂和反叛. 她被囚禁在慕尼黑. Her Institute was pronounced to be ‘suppressed, extinct, uprooted and abolished’.  The schools were closed and the members of the Institute dispersed. While 玛丽 was eventually released from prison, her life’s work had been shattered. With a few faithful companions, 玛丽 returned to her native Yorkshire and died there in 1645.


尽管抑制, 玛丽的一些同伴, 在伦敦, 巴黎和慕尼黑, continued to live together as lay people in community. Under the patronage of the Elector of Bavaria, the school in Munich reopened. These companions kept the vision alive and continued to petition for approval for 玛丽’s dream.  Recognising that this could not be given by the Church, in 1703 they were forced to abandon her controversial proposals and agreed to live by a limited rule based on the Ignatian way of life. They were specifically forbidden to make reference to 玛丽病房 as their founder.  Despite this injunction, they managed to keep her spirit alive. 直到1909年, three hundred years after she began her work, that Pope Pius X eventually lifted the ban and 玛丽病房 became recognised as foundress of the Institute.

今天, 两个教会, 圣母玛利亚学院 (Loreto Sisters) and the Congregation of Jesus (CJ) look to 玛丽病房 as their founder. Their members can be found in many and varied ministries throughout the world, 从爱尔兰到秘鲁, 智利到越南, 从蒙古到南苏丹. 玛丽病房 stands as a beacon of hope for our world today. A woman who loved the church yet was not afraid to speak her truth in the name of God. Her resolute and faith filled spirit shines through all the difficulties of her life. 她生活在真正的内心自由之中. Even when challenged by the church she loved, she never wavered from her vision. Knowing the great gift of God’s love in her life, she assured her followers that their ‘greatness and strength consists in this, that [they] have free and open access to God’.  今天, we as Loreto Sisters endeavour to follow her dream of serving Christ as courageously as she did.