Unbind him and let him go free!
This year all Loreto schools are celebrating the Loreto Value, Freedom. As you may know, there are five Loreto Values – Justice, Sincerity, Verity, Felicity and Freedom – and we rotate through them, one each year. This does not mean that we ignore the other four in any given year, for they are all centred in the Gospels and together provide a sure path into authentic Christian spirituality. But this year we will give particular attention to Freedom. As a Gospel-centred value, lived and taught by Mary Ward, the freedom we embrace in our Loreto communities has a particular meaning and invites us into a particular worldview, understanding of self and way of living.
The idea and indeed the lived reality of freedom may seem quite straightforward at first. But there’s more to it than meets the eye! Freedom means different things to different people, dependent upon their circumstances in life. There are many kinds of freedom in our world that we hold dear and that are part of what we consider to be basic human rights: freedom to vote, to travel, freedom of speech, financial freedom, freedom to practise religion, freedom from gender restrictions, from discrimination, freedom to be educated, to choose a career, a partner, to choose who to marry, whether to marry or not, just to name a few. These are what we might call good freedoms. Sadly, as we know, these are not granted to everyone in our world and our responsibility as Christians is to work towards ensuring these freedoms for all people. Catholic Social Justice Teaching calls us to ‘repair the world’, and in this task it has a particular emphasis on ‘the preferential option for the poor’. There is also another kind of freedom, often expressed in a defiant ‘I can do what I like’ attitude. This attitude seeks to dismiss any authority, any parameters around one’s own words and actions, often without reference to a greater vision or teaching, or due process of discernment of right and wrong within the parameters of that vision. The issue, however, with this attitude to freedom is that it usually impinges on the freedom of others.
So what is the freedom Mary Ward lived and left as her legacy to us?
Ms Kerry McCullough
Liturgy and Spirituality Co-ordinator