Sister Jane Livesey CJ has been elected general superior of the Congregation of Jesus. She is the first British general superior of the order, founded by Ven Mary Ward in 1609, since the eighteenth century.
More than 60 members of the worldwide congregation gathered for the election in the sanctuary of St Ignatius in Loyola, Spain. Sisters from all continents were represented by delegates from Argentina to Zimbabwe, including representatives of recent foundations in Mongolia and Cuba.
British and German sisters from the historic Bar Convent, York and houses founded in Germany in the first generation after Mary Ward (1585-1609) were also present.
Mary Ward was declared Venerable by Pope Benedict XVI, a former pupil of a CJ school in Germany, during the recent 400th anniversary of her order. Members of Mary Ward's Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto) sisters have also been attending the CJ general congregation as observers.
The last English general superiors of the Congregation of Jesus were Anna Barbara Babthorpe (1697-1711) and her sister Mary Agnes (1711-1720), both related to Mary Ward's cousin and early companion, Barbara Babthorpe of Osgodby in Yorkshire.
Sister Jane Livesey was headmistress of St Mary's School, Shaftesbury from 1985 -1998 before becoming provincial superior in Britain, where the novitiate has recently re-opened at the Bar Convent alongside its flourishing conference centre and St Bede's Pastoral Centre. Her election coincides with the anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian uprising, celebrated in Loyola by sisters from the three provinces of Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, which re-emerged from the former Soviet Union after decades of Communist persecution. The congregation delegates continue to discuss their plans and priorities for their worldwide mission and ministry in the coming years.
"These are exciting times for us", said Sister Jane, "with challenging opportunities opening up in parts of the world where the need for evangelization is urgent. With vocations beginning to pick up in Mary Ward's own country as well, it feels good to be part of a religious life that is open to the call of today and tomorrow".
For further news see: www.congregatiojesu.org/en/2011_bulletin_detail.asp?day=21
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