Mary Ward Day 2019

St Mary’s has its roots in the life of its founder, Mary Ward, a Catholic nun (1585-1645) whose activities led to the founding of the Congregation of Jesus and the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, better known as the Sisters of Loreto, which have established almost 200 schools around the world.

St Mary's Shaftesbury-Mary Ward day 2019

Mary Ward day is usually celebrated on her birthday, 23rd January 1585 and forms part of a week of remembrance. It has been a long-standing tradition at St Mary’s dating back to the nuns. Over the years, the format of the day has developed to foster a sense of community about which Mary Ward was very passionate. There has always been a tradition of inviting one of the nuns to come and speak to the girls and this year we were fortunate enough to have Sister Ann visit us, who travelled down from the Bar Convent in Yorkshire. Sister Ann, who is a St Mary’s alumna from 1964, and returned to the school to work alongside Sister Jane in 1982, attended Mass and spoke to pupils about the origins of Mary Ward and her values.

In the afternoon, all pupils dressed up as ‘Inspirational Women’ from across the centuries (for photos, click here), which was judged by the LVI, followed by an all-school treasure hunt. The long-awaited (and top secret!) school pantomime, Aladdin, entertained the whole school community with its impressive staff cast. Written by the talented Chris Sykes, Head of Drama, we were treated to a humorous tale of Aladdin (played by Mrs Dixon) and his/her quest to marry the beautiful Princess Jasmine (played by Mrs Cheadle). Read more here.

Memories formed on Mary Ward day remain with St Mary’s girls throughout the years and long after they leave the school. It is a day of reflection, laughter and joy that brings the whole school community together.

About Mary Ward

Committed to the education of girls and women, Mary Ward sought to give practical expression to the hope expressed in the gospels of a world of equality and justice. She believed “Women in time to come will do much.” This vision continues to inspire our girls to ‘do much’ – to aim high, not just academically – but to become confident, compassionate young women who play a positive role in society.

Mary Ward’s vision inspired the creation of schools around the world and we are part of a global network of Mary Ward Schools, including St Mary’s Ascot and St Mary’s Cambridge in the UK.