A campaign is gathering pace to have a trailblazing 16th Century North Yorkshire woman declared a saint.

The Church proclaimed Mary Ward "venerable" in 2009, a move often seen as the first steps to being declared a saint by the Catholic Church, and this week an online petition was launched.

From Ripon, she campaigned and worked tirelessly for girls to be educated and insisted in 1617: "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."

She was imprisoned and her work suppressed but through the Bar Convent in York and Mary Ward sisters working in over 40 countries around the world, her campaign lives on.

An exhibition is being launched at the convent and an annual Mary Ward Ecumenical Service is being held at St Thomas’ Church, Osbaldwick, where she was buried in 1645.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The cmapaign is gathering pace to make Mary Ward a Saint

A spokesperson for the Convent said: "Join us to celebrate the trailblazing Yorkshire woman Mary Ward, who is the foundress of the Congregation of Jesus who reside here at the Bar Convent. This is an annual global event that celebrates the life and achievements of Mary Ward between the anniversary of her birth and death, January 23, 1585 to January 30, 1645. 

"Against the odds Mary Ward never gave up on her life’s mission to achieve education for girls and it is thanks to her that the first school for girls opened in this country that offered an education equal to boys. The legacy of Mary Ward has certainly lived on through these walls at the Bar Convent, her global following of religious sisters and around 200 schools worldwide in her name."

The petition can be seen at https://chng.it/yX6w5xsL6W