The charism of any group within the Church is the gift given to that group by the Holy Spirit, to enable the Church to fulfil its mission.
Mary Ward’s vision for her Congregation was unacceptable to the Church of the early 17th century. She saw a clear role for women as apostolic religious. To enable this, she required that her group be (i) un-cloistered, and so free to meet the needs of the people, (ii) not dressed in religious habits, living an ordinary kind of life and, most significantly, (iii) be self-governing and so free to respond to the call of the Holy Spirit wherever that may lead in sharing the good news of the Gospel. To support this work, God led her to choose the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola, namely, that her sisters be contemplative in their prayer and lives, even in the midst of apostolic activity.
Today, 400 years later, we are asked to be that same gift to the Church of the early 21st century. Hence our charism is to be contemplative women, responding to the needs of the world in such a way that the good news of God’s love be known and embraced. Our call is to live simple lives, to focus our energies on where we see the greatest need, paying particular attention to those forced to live in poverty and distress.