Institute Foundation

The prosperous times were cut short on January 13th, 1631, when the pope Urban VIII signed and published the Bull of Suppression "Pastoralis Romani Pontificis”, one of the toughest Bulls ordered by the Holy See, in which Mary Ward was unfairly accused of being heretic and her Institute was suppressed.
On February 7th, 1631, Mary was imprisoned in Munich by the Inquisition, accused of being ‘a heretic, a schismatic and obstinate rebel against Holy Church'. After this suppression and her imprisonment, eleven foundations were dissolved and 300 nuns were exempted from their vows and sent home. There were nuns from different countries: Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Dutch Belgium, Bohemia, Hungary, Austria and Ireland.
In April, she was released and set out for Rome, where Urban VIII, impressed by Mary Ward’s personality, allows her to open a small house in Rome.
She found herself surrounded by a group of devoted companions determined to work under her guidance wherever it was necessary. In 1609 she returned to Saint Omer with five of them. They led a community life and devoted their life to the young. They founded their first school, which had the same characteristics of the one the Jesuits had nearby. This was the humble beginning of the new Institute she would found.
In 1611, with the help of God, she channels the apostolic work of the emerging Institute. In a letter to the Nuncio, she expresses her desire of adopting the same rules the Jesuits had, both in content and form, excluding only what God prohibits for gender reasons.
After the one in Saint Omer, Mary Ward founded a House in London in 1613. It was just natural that Mary wanted to establish the bases of the Institute for good, and thus, she decided to go to Rome and process the issue personally at the Holy See, that is the formal approbation of the Institute. This happened in 1621.
Mary could speak to the Pope Gregory XV, who said “God has looked his Church at the right time”, and he allowed her to open a school in Rome, an afterwards in Naples and Perugia. Afterwards, she decided to travel to the Catholic Bavaria.
After some years, Mary Wards dies in York. On her tombstone, we can read the following: “Love the poor, persevere in that love, live, die and resurrect with them, this was Mary Ward’s aim and aspiration, who after having lived for 60 years and 8 days, died on January 30th, 1645”.
Apparently, she left this life after having seen how her work disappeared, but at the same time, she was calm and in peace because she accepted God’s Will without asking for anything in return.
Nobody in Rome thought that from that group of faithful companions, there might appear an Institute which would last to the present day.
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