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BORN TO TEACH CHRIST TO UNDERPRIVILEGED GIRLS

Father Francis's picture
Saint Angela Merici

On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land Angela was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted her to return home, but she insisted on visiting the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix her sight was restored at the same place in Crete where it had been lost.

Born about 1470 near Brescia in Northern Italy she became of member of the Third Order of St. Francis as a young woman and lived a life of great austerity, wishing like St. Francis to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the basics of their religion. Angela's charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. Others joined her in giving regular Instruction to the little girls of their neighbourhood.

From such humble origins the first teaching order of women was formed in 1535 and are known as the Ursulines because they were placed under the patronage of St. Ursula. Today the Congregation is spread throughout the world and continues the educational work of St. Angela who died in 1540 at the age of 70.

With fewer young women dedicating their lives to the religious life and the number of nuns dwindling, we pray that St. Angela from Heaven will see that young girls are taught by their parents about Jesus and so enrich their lives.