Home    Society of Mary    About the Ward    Programme    Past Events    Local Shrines    Downloads    Useful Links    Contact Us 

Why the Name?
Article posted 14 May 2012
The North West Ward of the Society of Mary is named for Our Lady of Victories. Behind this is a rather interesting story.

Four hundred years ago the Ottoman Empire was conquering the world. The Moslems had invaded much of Spain and were threatening to overrun most of Europe and de-Christianise Europe. All that stood between the Ottomans and Western Civilization were a relatively few ships and a small complement of men.

In 1571 the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire was sailing westwards from their naval station in Lepanto. A fleet of the Holy League, which was a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, had been dispatched from Messina to engage them. On the 7th October 1571 the two fleets met on the northern edge of the Gulf of Patras, off western Greece. Badly out-manned and out-gunned, the men of the Christian fleet knelt in prayer on their decks, and implored the aid of the Virgin Mary. Knowing how critical the situation was, Pope Pius V had asked the Christian world to pray the Rosary for the success of this defence. As an act of faith, the Genoese Admiral Andrea Doria had kept in his ship's state room a copy of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe given to him by King Philip II of Spain.

After disappointing delays, the League fleet engaged the much larger Ottoman fleet at Lepanto and decisively defeated the main fleet in five hours of fighting. The delighted Pope Pius V attributed this victory to Mary’s intercession, so he established a feast day on 7th October, known as the Feast of Our Lady of Victory, to commemorate it. This Christian victory at Lepanto was considered miraculous at the time and now it is widely regarded as a decisive moment in the history of Western Civilization.

Under her title of Our Lady of Victories, the Virgin Mary became a symbol of encouragement and comfort for those who in their lives of faith found themselves confronted by circumstances they found overwhelming. So at its formation the North West Ward of the Society of Mary chose to adopt this from among her many traditional titles.

The logo of the North West Ward
Our Lady of Victories

The North West Ward of the Society operates in a region between the Pennines and the Irish Sea, and from Cumbria in the north to Chester in the south.

It organises services in various churches throughout the region to commemorate the principal festivals traditionally kept in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Anyone who would like to join us at these acts of worship is most welcome to do so - you don't have to be a member to join in!

News of these and other similar events is circulated via the Society's magazine and members' mailings. But we also operate an email circulation for anyone, members and non-members alike, who indicate that they would like to be kept in touch by this means.

If you'd like to place your email address on that circulation list, please send an email to the Ward Secretary at

Article posted 16 July 2018
We are grateful to everyone who supports the work of the Society of Mary by becoming members. As you know, our membership subscriptions fall due again each January, so if you haven't yet renewed for this year may we invite you to do so? Our Treasurer Gwynne James would be delighted to hear from you! The subscription is now £20, of which £5 supports the activities of the Ward and £15 is the fee for the Society of Mary itself. Our convenient subscription renewal form can be downloaded  < H E R E >  We recognise that some people wish to be associated with the Ward and support it, but would rather not join the National Society. If you would like to become a Ward Associate by donating just £5 per year we would very much value your involvement., and you'll see that there is a space on the form to indicate that this is your preference.

2018 AGM
Article posted 16 July 2018
The Ward's Annual General Meeting this year took place on 14th July 2018 at the church of St Mary the Virgin, Thornton-in-Craven. For some further details, please click  here. 

North West Ward
Article posted 14 May 2012
All our meetings are open to anyone who might wish to come and join our various acts of worship. We hope to be able to welcome you at whatever event you find yourself able to attend. But if you feel you would like to support the Ward by becoming a member, please feel free to download and fill in a fairly painless Application Form and return it to the address given. To do that, please click  here.  The Annual Subscription (which runs for calendar years) is £15 and although a cheque payable to The Society of Mary North West Ward would be perfectly welcome, we would like to encourage you to pay by Standing Order: a convenient form for this purpose may be obtained  here. 

The North West Ward of the Society operates under a constitution which sets out its objectives and the way in which it is organised. If you'd like to read it, please click  here. 

As part of the national Society of Mary, the Ward shares the Society's Rules and Objectives, which you can inspect by clicking  here. 

At its most recent Annual General Meeting the Ward elected a Committee to run its affairs and arrange its programme. Please click  here  to see the Minutes of the meeting, which includes a list of Committee members and also the statement of Account for the previous year.

If you have any queries, please send me an email at David.Martlew@gmail.com
and I shall be glad to find an answer for you.