Show yourself at all times glad and joyful, for almighty God loves a cheerful giver…
Over four hundred years ago, Mary Ward, the foundress of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, left us a sure and certain pathway into authentic Christian spirituality and living. The Values she spoke of, and indeed lived, are a well-trod way into the heart of all that Jesus taught and invited us into. Those Values are Sincerity, Justice, Freedom, Verity and Felicity.
This year all Loreto schools in Australia are celebrating the Value of Felicity. This means that as a Loreto community – staff, students and parents – we have embarked upon a journey into just what it means to live in the way of Felicity, as Mary Ward understood it and lived it herself. What a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon and deepen our own Christian stance in life and our fleshing-out of what we are called to. I say this because the way of Felicity is firmly grounded in the Christian spiritual tradition, and following this path will surely take us into the heart of what it is to live a deeply Christian life.
Our Loreto Schools Mission statement has some wonderfully uplifting words about what Felicity is. Felicity, we are told, manifests itself in joy, cheerfulness, good humour, happiness, hope, friendliness, courtesy, positive thinking, inner peace, courage, optimism, open-heartedness, light-heartedness and self-acceptance. These are what we might call the symptoms of Felicity. They are attractive qualities, I’m sure you’ll agree. It’s easy to warm to Felicity! However, the more I reflect on Felicity the more I am aware that it is possibly the most demanding of Mary Ward’s Values because we can’t possibly sustain all that without something very primary and essential to us that we are rooted in and from which we draw, day by day, amidst the oft-experienced chaos, or mundaneness, or the surprises of life.
Ms Kerry McCullough, Spirituality and Liturgy Coordinator