Saint Ursula

St. Ursula

 

Ursula and the companions she attracted, 4th century virgin martyrs of Cologne, touched the deepest aspirations of Angela by their faith, their virginity, their courage, their fidelity even to the shedding of their blood. In Ursula she chose a patron for her Company who embodied the ideals she and her companions would try to live.

Ursula's royal dignity evokes that of the virgins of the Company, "spouses of the Son of God, called to become queens in heaven." (Rule, Prologue/17)

Saint Ursula meeting the Holy Father; Stained glass window, Ursuline Generalate

 

Ursula and Angela, both pilgrims bound for the Holy Land, risked the dangers of the sea; both went to Rome to encounter the Pope; faithful to a call, each gathered virgin companions. As one, Ursula and her friends lived the same passion; Angela urged her daughters to remain united together, all of one heart and one will.(Last Counsel/1)

The Pilgrims meet the Holy Father; Vittore Carpaccio, Galleria dell'Accademia, Venice

 

And when the hour came to follow Christ in the supreme sacrifice, Ursula courageously led her friends to martyrdom. Angela, docile to the Spirit, founded the Company, planted "directly by the Lord's holy hand, (certain) that he will never abandon it as long as the world lasts. (Last Legacy/6-7)

The Martydom of Saint Ursula; Hans Memling, Memlingmuseum, Sint-Janshospitaal, Bruges

 

The same joy and enthusiasm characterizes the legend of Ursula and the spirituality of Angela. The earthly adventure of Ursula and her companions ended in those "joyful and new feasts of heaven" (Fifth Counsel/3) Angela so loved to evoke.

 

Saint Ursula; Benozzo Gozzoli, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC