News and blog

Mary Ward Day goes digital for a day of celebration and challenge

Mary Ward Day goes digital for a day of celebration and challenge

Every year St Mary's School celebrates Mary Ward Day to reflect on and learn from the values of our 17th century foundress, Mary Ward.

As Mary Ward's birthday, 23 January is always a special day at St Mary's. It is an opportunity to spend a day focusing on the values that sit at the heart of our education. These are all values demonstrated by Mary Ward in her lifetime, as a 'rebel girl' of her times - and include justice, celebrating diversity, valuing friendship, encouraging excellence and respecting self.

Despite most of our school community currently learning remotely, teaching staff, students and parents were all determined to keep the spirit of this special day alive in 2021.

Head of Junior School, Matthew O'Reilly introduced his 'favourite day in the school calendar' with great enthusiasm. Reflecting on the fun of previous Rebel Girl Tea Parties he encouraged the school community to once again celebrate together remotely in a dedicated Enrichment Day - setting the routine timetable aside for a day, to focus on the Mary Ward Value: following in Christ's footsteps.

Girls learned about inspiring female saints, including Hildegard of Bingen and Mother Teresa, before working together to create 'class footprint' designs, highlighting a person they find inspiring, and producing individual footprints to proudly display at home.

In Senior School and Sixth Form the day began with a reflective service followed by the Headmistress’ sharing examples of current work of the CJ community around the world during 2020 from providing food, online teaching, a home for orphans, to prayer support for local communities. The girls then engaged with a fun quiz in Tutor time, followed by a day centred around completing various challenges. Students were given a choice of activities and invited to complete them during the morning, before reporting back to tutor groups on their progress. 

Girls were encouraged to plan their approach together. Could form groups complete all challenges set by working collaboratively? Challenges included:

  • Write a letter to Mary Ward outlining girls' education in the 21st century
  • Make a poster to showcase your favourite Mary Ward characteristic
  • Challenge yourself to walk 1,500 steps on one or two legs - reflecting Mary Ward's 1500-mile walk to Rome and back
  • Plan Mary Ward's journey from York to Rome, if she walks 35 miles a day - how long will it take?
  • Write a letter to one of our Mary Ward partner schools in Australia or Zimbabwe explaining life in lockdown Britain
  • Translate Mary Ward's famous 'Women in time to come will do much' into a different language and present on a poster 

Pictures from the day are shown in this gallery, including the continuing tradition of celebrating with chocolate!

Mary Ward Day in Pictures

"Mary Ward Day is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the values that underpin our education in a fun way. By setting aside the routine timetable for one day, girls learn to collaborate, create and challenge themselves in different ways, building the key lifelong skills and attitudes that are central to St Mary's as a High Performance Learning School. Despite the current lockdown, girls and teaching staff have yet again risen to the challenge, to make Mary Ward Day 2021 uniquely special." Kate Latham, Director of Teaching and Learning, Senior School

Mary Ward Values

High Performance Learning