Feast Day: January 27
St. Angela Merici
“If God has planted this Company, he will never abandon it.”
St. Angela Merici - Fourth Counsel
When on November 25, 1535, Angela Merici gathered 28 young women to consecrate themselves to the service of God, under the patronage of St. Ursula, she could not know what impact her foundation would have. Over 450 years later, thousands of women around the world follow in the footsteps of this humble Italian woman.
Born between 1470 and 1475 in Desenzano at Lake Garda near Brescia, Angela grew up on the family farm. Early in life she learned to live with hardships when she lost her parents and her sister. Tradition tells us that Angela, longing for assurance of her sister’s eternal happiness, had a vision in which she saw her sister in procession with angels and young girls. Although we are not sure what exactly Angela saw, we do know that she took her vision to be God’s personal call to establish a community of women.
Even though Angela devoted herself to many charitable works through the auspices of Divino Amore, a lay religious reform movement in Brescia established to work with the marginalized and through the Third Order Franciscans, she did not actually found her own company until many years after she had had her vision. Only when she was in her sixties did Angela found the company of St. Ursula, now more commonly known as Ursulines.
Contrary to the practice of cloistered religious of the time, the young women of Angela’s company lived in their own homes. They worked with the needy, especially in the education of young girls, and met monthly for prayer and mutual support. They wore no habit, but as the cloistered religious, consecrated themselves to virginity, poverty and obedience.
Angela died January 27, 1540, leaving the Rule for the young women, and the counsels and legacies for the leadership of the fledgling community. Angela, acclaimed a popular saint even in her time, was canonized May 24, 1807.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, and faithful Guardian of our Mother Saint Angela, R: Pray for us.
Saint Angela Merici,
St. Angela, favoured with the choicest gifts of God from thy infancy,
St. Angela, who didst give thyself to the practice of all the virtues from thy tenderest years,
St. Angela, who didst always preserve a spotless purity,
St. Angela, who by thy love for holy purity, didst merit to receive thy name,
St. Angela, who from childhood found thy delight in solitude,
St. Angela, who led an angelic life in the house of thy parents,
St. Angela, who didst daily bear on thy body the mortification of Jesus,
St. Angela, whose gift it was to reconcile the bitterest enemies,
St. Angela, who at thirteen become a Tertiary of St. Francis and ever remained faithful,
St. Angela, gifted with the graces of prayer and contemplation,
St. Angela, who visited the Holy Land, and there followed the bloody footprints of Jesus,
St. Angela, who triumphed over the illusions of the devil,
St. Angela, who was not afflicted at the loss of thy sight in visiting the holy places,
St. Angela, whose sight was miraculously restored in the Island of Candia,
St. Angela, whom the love of. God had wounded and whom this same love cured,
St. Angela, model of perfect self-denial and true humility,
St. Angela, who, like Jacob, was permitted to see the mysterious ladder,
St. Angela, chosen by God to be the mother of many holy virgins,
St. Angela, Foundress of the illustrious Order of the Ursulines,
St. Angela, to whom God promised that this Order should always subsist,
St. Angela, who, filled with joy, didst give up thy soul in the embrace of the Lord,
St. Angela, whose body remained incorruptible after death,
St. Angela, Patroness of Christian mothers,
St. Angela, Protectress of young girls,
St. Angela, our Mother and Advocate,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us.
V. Pray for us, O glorious Mother Saint Angela:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
Who by means of our blessed Mother Saint Angela
didst cause a new Order of holy virgins
to flourish in Thy Church:
grant, through her intercession,
that we may imitate her angelic virtues,
and, forsaking all earthly things,
may be found worthy of eternal bliss.
Through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
This litany sent by Rev. Mother M. Barbara, O.S.U., Superior at Springfield, Illinois. Nearly similar litany, sent from Milwaukee, bears imprimatur of Bp. Fallon of London, Ont. Line, “St Angela, who at thirteen,” etc. is inserted. Read Sant’ Angela of the Ursulines, by Mother Francis d’Assisi (Bruce, 1934).
Prayer Source: Kyrie Eleison — Two Hundred Litanies by Benjamin Francis Musser O.F.M., The Magnificat Press, 1944