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January 27

St Angela Merici - January 27

Saint Angela Merici

Educator, Virgin, Foundress Of Ursulines

(1474 – 1540)

“Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family.

Saint Angela Merici

Saint’s Life Story

Orphaned and Raised by Her Uncle

Angela was born to a family of minor nobility on March 21, 1474 at Desenzano, a small town on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda in Lombardy, Italy. When she was ten years old, Angela and her older sister, Giana Maria, were left orphans. Angela, her sister and brother were raised by their wealthy uncle, Biancozi, in the nearby town of Salo, Italy.

Death of Her Sister

Angela’s sister died quite suddenly and she was deeply upset. In Angela’s first ecstatic experience, the Blessed Mother appeared with Angela’s elder sister, Giana Maria. This put her mind at rest regarding the salvation of her sister, who had died suddenly without receiving the sacraments.

Franciscan Tertiary

Angela became a Franciscan tertiary at 15. She lived austerely, sometimes eating only bread, water, and vegetables once a week. From this time onward, she wished to possess nothing, not even a bed (because the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head).

Returned to Desenzano

When her uncle died, the 20 year0-old Angela returned to live at Desenzano to make a life for herself. She was convinced of the need for women to be educated in their faith. So, she converted her home into a school where she daily gathered all the girls of Desenzano to teach them the basics of Christianity by giving them giving catechism lessons. Although Angela was small of stature, she had a great spirit, charm, and beauty capable of attracting and leading others. She and her friends began to regularly and systematically teach their young, female neighbors.

Started School in Brescia

Angela’s own success in teaching the catechism in Desenzano led to the invitation from a wealthy couple, whom she had once helped, to begin a school in Brescia.   Angela had the special gift of being able to remember everything she read. Also, she spoke Latin well and knew the meaning of some of the hardest passages of Scripture, which led to her being sought out for counsel. In Brescia, she was brought in touch with the leading families. Angela became the center of a circle of devout men and women whom she inspired with her great ideals.

Lost and Regained Her Sight

During a pilgrimage to Holy Land, while visiting Crete, Angela was struck blind. This did not interrupt her trip, however, but she continued on the journey, visiting the shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she still had her sight. On the way home, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was miraculously restored at the same place where it had been lost.

Denied Pope’s Request

During a visit to Rome for the Holy Year 1525, Pope Clement VII asked her to take charge of a group of nursing sisters in Rome, but she declined. She told him of a vision she had experienced years before of maidens ascending to heaven on a ladder of light, which was what led her to gather young women into an informal novitiate. In the vision the holy virgins were accompanied up and down the ladder by glorious angels who played sweet music on golden harps. All wore beautiful crowns decorated with precious jewels. After a time the music stopped and the Savior Himself called her by name to create a society of women. The Holy Father gave her permission to form a community.

Shortly, thereafter, Saint Ursula appeared to her, which is why she became the community’s patron. Assisting at Mass one day, Angela fell into ecstasy and was said to have levitated.

Founded Company of Saint Ursula or the Ursuline Sisters

In Saint Afra’s Church at Brescia on November 25, 1535, Angela and 28 younger companions bound themselves before God to devote the rest of their lives to his service, especially to the education of girls. Angela placed herself and the novices under the protection of Saint Ursula, the patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women. This was the beginning of the Company of Saint Ursula (Ursuline nuns), the first teaching order of women – a novel idea that needed time before it was accepted. Mission of the Ursulines was to re-Christianizing family life through the solid Christian education of future wives and mothers.

The order had no habit (members usually wore a simple black dress), took no vows, and pursued neither an enclosed nor a communal life; they worked to oversee the religious education of girls, especially among the poorer classes, and to care for the sick.  At the start much of the teaching was done in the children’s homes: but in her conception of an uncloistered, flexible society of women Angela was before her time. She survived to direct the society for only four years. During that time Angela was noted for her patience to her sisters and kindness in her many acts of mercy to the poor, sick, and ignorant. Soon, there were 150 sisters to whom Angela addressed her wise sayings in her Counsels-and-Testament. In addition, Angela dictated Rule of the Company of Saint Ursula, which outlines this new way for consecrated women to live in the world, to her secretary Gabriel Cozzano.

Her Death

On January 27, 1540, in Brescia, Italy, her sisters surrounded Angela in prayer at the hour of her death. At that moment, a beautiful ray of light shone upon the saint – a sign that God was welcoming Angela to her eternal home. She is interred in the church of Saint Afra, Brescia, Italy and her body is incorrupt. The Ursulines were formally recognized by Pope Paul III, four years after Angela’s death and were organized into a Congregation in 1565.

Her foundation led to the emancipation of women not only in the Church, but in society as well. Women were educated so as to transform society by educating their own family in the faith and living out that faith in their lives.

Born:                   March 21, 1474 in Desenzano on Lake Garda in Lombardy, Italy

Died:                   January 27, 1540 in Brescia, Lombardy, Italy

Beatified:           April 30, 1768 by Pope Clement XIII

Canonized:        May 24, 1807 by Pope Pius VIII

Feast Day:          January 27

Patron Saint:    Against Bodily Ills; Against Sickness; Brescia, Italy; Disabled People; Educators; Handicapped People; Loss of Parents; Physically Challenged People; Sick People

Source:

Reflection

Saint Angela Merici used her talent of teaching to give poor girls a good Christian education. She believed that through a solid Christian education of future wives and mothers, Saint Angela would be Christianizing family life and strengthening society as a whole. Educating the poor girls and caring for the sick was done by Saint Angela by going into their homes and not from a closed clositered life.

How are you using your gifts and talents to glorify God and spread his message? Spend some quiet time with God in prayer asking to reveal to you how you can go out and use your gifts and talents to those in need around you.

Source: Adapted from Saint Angela Merici (1470-1540) | Saint Mary’s Press (smp.org)

Prayers

Saint Angela, you fell in love with God at a young age and fostered that love through hard times. After losing many within your beloved family, God gave you new spiritual children to care for as a spiritual mother. You embraced that calling, and much good fruit was borne in the Church. Please pray for me, that I may learn from your example by caring for those whom God has placed in my life, devoting myself to serving them in accord with God’s perfect will. 

Saint Angela Merici, pray for me.

Source: Saint Angela Merici – My Catholic Life!

Saint Links 

Aleteia – Don’t want to get sick? Pray to St. Angela Meric

All Saints & Martyrs – Saint Angela Merici

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 1 June – Saint Angela de Merici (1474-1540)

Angelus – Saint of the day: Angela Merici

A Reason2BCatholic – Saints Alive! | St Angela Merici

Catholic Exchange – Saint Angela Merici

Catholic Fire – St. Angela Merici: Founder of the Urusulines, Religious Educator of Women

Catholic Ireland – Jan 27 – St Angela Merici (1470-1540)

Catholic News Agency – St. Angela Merici Feast Day: Jan 27

Catholic Online – St. Angela Merici

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Angela Merici

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Angela de’Merici by Katherine I Rabenstein

Franciscan Media – Saint Angela Merici

Independent Catholic News – St Angela Merici

Loyola Press – Saint Angela Merici Feast day January 27

My Catholic Life – January 27: Saint Angela Merici, Virgin

New Advent – Ott, M. (1907). St. Angela Merici. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Newman Ministry – Saint Angela Merici

Saints, Feast, Family – Saint Angela Merici’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Angela Merici (1470-1540)

uCatholic – Saint Angela Merici

Ursulines UK – St. Angela Merici c.1474 – 1540

Wikipedia – Angela Merici

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