We celebrated St. Angela Merici’s feast on January 27th . Why is she important to us at St. Mary’s? It was she who founded the Ursuline Sisters in 1535. And the Ursulines have been part of our parish since 1908, so St. Angela’s influence has been present for 115 years in Moscow.
St. Angela lived her entire life in northern Italy. Her life bridged the 15th and 16th centuries at the height of the Renaissance. During her life she experienced war, civil strife, violence; great discoveries in science, travel, the arts, and agriculture were made. It was a time of great holiness as well as great corruption; and it was a time when church reform was greatly needed too.
St. Angela longed to serve God in the world in real and practical ways. After years of prayer, various kinds of service to the poor and needy, caring for the young and old, she gathered a group of her women friends – and founded the Company of St. Ursula. This Company presented a way of life for women virgins. She had a place in the Company for men and for widows too. She called the members of her Company to live a NEW way of life! Angela’s reputation for holiness was well known.
People from all stages of life came to her for counsel, comfort and reconciliation. She was simply known as “Madre Angela” beloved friend to all. The miracles St. Angela worked in her life were those of the heart:
- families were reunited by her influence,
- rulers were softened by her words and reconciled with enemies,
- churchmen were led by her wisdom and
- sinners were changed by her love and lifegiving words.
Here are some of Angela’s life-giving words. They are known as St. Angela’s Be-Attitudes:
- Be moved by the love of God and love of others in need
- Be convinced that God will never fail to provide for all your needs: material and spiritual alike
- Be united together, acting in harmony
- Be bound to one another by the bonds of charity, esteeming and helping each other
- Be consoled and keep your faith and hope alive
- Be people to spread peace and harmony wherever you are
- Be gentle, not using force, for God does not want to force anyone, but rather God points out, invites and counsels
And the last set of words of St. Angela we’d like to share with you this weekend is the following. St. Angela was a practical woman, deeply in love with God, who therefore had a firm faith that God would assist us with whatever was needed.
From that stance, St. Angela said:
Do something then
Be Confident to
Risk new things and
Stick with it.
Get on your knees
Then be ready for Big Surprises.