Wednesday, January 27, 2010
ST. ANGELA MERICI, SFO
Angela Merici (1474–1540), founder of the Ursuline nuns, was born at Desenzano del Garda, a small town on the southwestern shore of Lake Garda in Lombardy. She and her younger sister were left orphans when she was about ten years old. She joined the Third Order of St. Francis and devoted herself with several companions to the education of poor girls. In 1535 they dedicated themselves to this work under the patronage of Ursula, but they took no vows and wore lay clothes. In 1565 the formal organization of this sisterhood became the Congregation of Ursuline nuns. They have been described as ‘the oldest and most considerable teaching order of women in the Roman Catholic Church’. She died on January 27, 1540. Her body was clothed in the habit of a Franciscan tertiary and interred in the Church of St Afra, Brescia. Saint Angela Merici was beatified in Rome on April 30, 1768, by Pope Clement XIII. She was canonized on May 24, 1807, by Pope Pius VII.