You are invited to join the sisters at Tymawr Convent, near Monmouth, for a Quiet Day on Saturday, 1 July 2023 lead by Sr. Gemma Simmonds CJ.
The day will focus on Mary Ward: a Radical Contemplative. Mary Ward was remarkable in being one of the first women to believe that women should be actively involved in the apostolic life of the Catholic Church. She devoted her life to developing a congregation of religious women on the Ignatian model. For this she needed, and repeatedly failed to gain, Papal approval. Three times she and her companions walked to Rome from Flanders, over the Alps, twice to try to gain this approval and the third time as a prisoner of the Inquisition following the suppression of her congregation by Pope Urban VIII in 1631. During this period she founded houses and schools in St. Omer, Liège, Trier, Cologne, Rome, Perugia, Naples, Munich, Vienna and Pressburg (Bratislava), often at the request of the local rulers and bishops, but Papal approval eluded her. However, she would not compromise and preferred to face the dissolution of her congregation, imprisonment, the imputation of heresy, and disgrace rather than abandon her conviction that “there is no such difference between men and women that women may not do great things … and I hope in God it will be seen, that women in time to come will do much.”
Dr. Gemma Simmonds is a sister of the Congregation of Jesus. She is a senior research fellow at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology in Cambridge where she is director of the Religious Life Institute, teaching Christian spirituality and pastoral theology. An international speaker and lecturer, she is an honorary fellow of Durham University, past president of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain and chair of trustees of the ecumenical Community of St. Anselm based at Lambeth Palace, London. Gemma is an ecumenical canon of St. Asaph Cathedral in the Church in Wales. She lectured in theology at Heythrop College, University of London from 2005 until its closure in 2018, specialising in Spiritual Direction in the Ignatian tradition and has been a spiritual director and retreat giver for over 30 years. Gemma has been a missionary in Brazil, a chaplain in the Universities of Cambridge and London and a chaplaincy volunteer in Holloway Prison for 25 years. She is a regular broadcaster on religious matters on the BBC, Radio Maria England and other radio and television networks. Recent publications include Dancing at the Still Point: Retreat Practices for Busy Lives (London, SPCK, July 2021).
To book your place on the Quiet Day, contact the Chaplain, email: [email protected] or write to The Chaplain, Tymawr Convent, Lydart. Monmouth NP25 4RN