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January 4

St Angela of Foligno - January 4

Saint Angela of Foligno
Wife, Mother, Widow,
Third Order Franciscan
“Mistress of Theologians”
(1248 – 1309)

“O children of God”, transform yourselves totally in the man-God who so loved you that he chose to die for you a most ignominious and all together unutterably painful death, and in the most painful and bitterest way. And this was solely for love of you, O man!”

Saint Angela of Foligno

Saint’s Life Story

Her Early Life  

Angela’s birth date, which is not known with certainty, is often listed as 1248. She was born into a wealthy non-Christian family at Foligno (near Assisi), in Umbria, Italy. In her youth, she led a life of indulgence and sin loving worldly pleasures and living a carefree lifestyle. She became immersed in the quest for wealth and social position.

She married at a young age and had several children. Angela’s life was characterized by its wild and sacrilegious nature, as she engaged in adultery and lived a morally wayward existence.

Transformative Vision

In 1285, everything changed for Angela after she experienced a transformative vision of Saint Francis of Assisi and recognized the emptiness of her life. She asked his advice on making a good general Confession. Then, Angela went to Confession with a Friar in San Feliciano. This vision had a profound impact on her, leading to her conversion and a deep desire to turn her life towards God. Tragically, three years later, Angela faced the devastating loss of her mother, husband, and children, further fueling her spiritual journey towards a life of penance and devotion. She tried to repent and amend. But, at first Angela did not confess fully and honestly, because the confessors were so strict, and she was so ashamed of the sins into which she had fallen.

Joined Third Order of Saint Francis

Angela sold her possessions and lived on charity. In 1291, she enrolled in the Third Order of Saint Francis, becoming a Franciscan tertiary and dedicating herself to a life of poverty, charity, and prayer.

A devout woman named Pasqualina assisted Angela in her charitable works. She went with her to visit the poor. After they had given all their property away, Angela said to Pasqualina, “Let us go and visit our Lord Christ in the hospital of San Feliciano.”

They wanted to give the patients something. All they could muster was a handkerchief and a cloth of little value. These they got the servant of the hospital to go and sell for them. In spite of her reluctance, she consented, and brought them back twice as much money as they expected. With this they sent her to buy comforts for some of the most suffering patients. Meantime Angela and Pasqualina washed the lepers and those who bad dreadful sores. They made the beds, and said words of consolation and kindness to the poor sick people.

Angela emerged as a leader among other tertiaries and sought to guide and inspire them through her example of humility, patience, and selflessness. The deep spirituality that Angela cultivated was further fortified by her visionary experiences and mystical encounters. She was known for her extraordinary ability to receive visions and mystical insights from God. Angela’s profound encounters with God resulted in her becoming a notable visionary and a writer on mystical experiences.

At the request of her confessor, Friar Arnold, Angela dictated to him an account of her visions and ecstasies in her book her Book of Visions and Instructions. Through this book, she reveals herself as one of the greatest mystics. Authentic transcriptions of the visions and messages of Angela are now housed in Assisi, Subiaco, and Rome.

One of the most significant representations of Angela is her being invited by Our Lord to receive Holy Communion. This representation signifies her profound union with God and her devotion to the Eucharist. Angela is also depicted as chaining the devil, depicting her spiritual strength and ability to resist temptation.

In Angela’s visions, it is especially the Passion that we relive with her – a vision of absolute torture in which even the words of Christ seem to be heard:

“Then, as He was showing me all that He had endured for me, He said to me: ‘What can you do which suffices you?’ . . . He showed me His torn beard, His eyebrows and His head; He enumerated the entire list of His sufferings of the scourging . . . and He said: ‘I suffered all that for you . . .’ and He said: ‘What can you do for me which suffices you?’ And then I wept and moaned so ardently that the tears burnt my flesh. Then I had to pour cold water on myself to cool off.”

Her Death

When Angela was dying, she said, “Now my soul is washed and cleansed in the blood of Christ. He will not send saints or angels for me, He will come Himself.” Angela passed away on January 4, 1309 in Foligno, Umbria, Italy, due to natural causes. She was buried in the chapel of the Church of Saint Francis in her hometown. Her holy life and the impact of her teachings and writings were recognized over the centuries.

Born :                  1285 (exact date unknown) in Foligno, Umbria, Italy

Died:                   January 4, 1309 in Foligno, Umbria, Italy

Beatified:           February 4, 1693 by Pope Innocent XII

Canonized:        October 9, 2013 by Pope Francis

Feast Day:          January 4, January 8 (In the United States)

Patron Saint:     Against Sexual Temptation; Against Temptations; Against The Death Of Children; People Ridiculed For Their Piety; Widows

Source:

Reflection

Saint Angela of Foligno’s early life was marked by comfort and complacency, living as a wealthy wife and mother indulging in worldly pleasures and even adultery in living a carefree married lifestyle. However, a profound spiritual encounter with a vision of Saint Francis of Assisi led her to recognize the emptiness of her previous pursuits and ignited a deep desire for repentance. Her conversion story is powerful, illustrating the transformative power of God’s grace. Reflecting on her conversion invites us to consider our own lives, examining areas where we may be called to deeper repentance and transformation.

Reflecting on Saint Angela of Foligno’s conversion invites us to consider our examining our own lives. How may we be called to deeper repentance and transformation to grow closer to God in our daily steps to heaven?

Prayers

Saint Angela of Foligno,

You, who journeyed from a life of worldly comfort to one of deep spiritual transformation and union with God, we seek your intercession today.

Your mystical experiences and deep contemplative life revealed the boundless love and mercy of God.

Inspire us to cultivate a deeper prayer life and to remain open to the divine mysteries that God may wish to reveal to us.

Help us to trust in God’s presence and guidance in our lives.

Saint Angela of Foligno, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Aleteia – St. Angela spent her first 30 years living a “mortally sinful life”

AnaStpaul – Saint of the Day – 4 January – Saint Angela of Foligno TOSF (1248-1309)

America – The Jesuit Review – St. Angela of Foligno: a ‘wild’ mystic who reminds us to worship God with our bodies by Lisa Powell

Catholic Culture – Vatican cardinal explains why Pope Francis canonized St. Angela of Foligno

Catholic Fire – Blessed Angela of Foligno, “Mistress of Theologians”

Catholic Online – St. Angela of Foligno

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Blessed Angela of Foligno – by Katherine I Rabenstein

Daily Compass – Saint Angela of Foligno

Daily Prayers – Angela of Foligno

Franciscan Media – Saint Angela of Foligno

Letters from the Saints – The Life of St. Angela of Foligno: From Wealthy Socialite to Third Order Franciscan

Loyola Press – Saint Angela of Foligno Feast day February 28

Melanie Rigney – Angela of Foligno

National Catholic Reporter – Turn to St. Angela of Foligno for spiritual guidance in the new year

New Advent – Robinson, P. (1907). Bl. Angela of Foligno. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

Roman Catholic Saints – Blessed Angela of Foligno

Saints, Feast, Family – The Story of St. Angela of Foligno

Sanctoral – Saint Angela of Foligno Widow (1249-1309)

Video Link

St. Angela of Foligno | Obscure Saint – YouTube (The CatholicTV Network)