Life history of Saint Angela Merici
(In Brief)

Angela Merici was born in a house next to a castle in Desenzano del Garda around the year 1474. Her father, Geovanni, was of late descent of the late Brescian nobles. Her mother, Katerina de Bianchi, was originally hometown in Salo. Later, the family emigrated to the outskirts of Le Grezze. The children consisting of 3 boys and 2 girls grew freely here, both fun and naughty play, with tiring daily agricultural work.

Fiery fun mixed with kid's tenacity, as a result, the neighbors' farms were constantly damaged until causing fines to local government officials several times. And when her sister died suddenly Angela was worried, afraid that her sister's soul would not enter the eternal paradise. But she saw a vision that her sister had gone to heaven. At about the same time her father and mother died. She and her brother immigrated to Salo with her uncle Bianco de Bianchi, where her life improved. But she did not indulge in that convenience, but she became a member of the Franciscan Third Order in order to follow Jesus more closely, to receive Confession and Holy Communion more often. There was also a good reason to excuse herself to live simple life style, strict and practice various penances. She was commonly known as Mother Angela.

2-3 years later, she went back to Desenzano and began to carry out a strict daily life including work at the church, farm house, and other charity events. One day during the harvest time, she visualized visions as a ladder linking heaven and earth, a profound insight that was the mark of a group of virgins which she would have to establish someday in the Church.

In 1516 the Franciscan Prior sent her to Brescia to comfort and give counsel to Catherina Patengola whose beloved husband and her two sons died. This was the beginning of Angela’s mission that gradually spread to all who came to rely on, ask for help, for a prayer, to be the medium of coordination or ask for help to bring about true peace.

When the lady got better respectively until starting to lead a normal life, Angela went to stay with a young merchant named Antonio Romano who related that she went to Mantua to pray at Ozanna Cemetery, then she went to Sacro Monte in Varallo, and later, in 1524, she went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, a total of more than six months she was exposed to various dangers, including thieves, pirates and storms. In 1525 she traveled to Rome to join in the celebration of every 25 years of the Church (Jubilee).

In the year 1529 there was an invading military force causing many immigrants to flee war. She took refuge with the family Agostino Gallo, a Brescia agricultural engineer. Besides, she also collaborated with his family and many others helped and provided shelter for those immigrants at Cremona. There she met the exile court official named Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan who had wanted to get acquainted with Angela while staying in Brescia and asked her to pray for him during that time. When she returned to Brescia one more time she had worked in dedication to God since then.

Ladies of that time did not have the freedom to choose whatever they wanted especially in regard to their own future. The family was the decision maker both in marriage (Especially when she was poor) or being a religious in the monastery. (Especially when she was rich). Angela was inspired by the Holy Spirit, coupled with confidence in the potential of women, therefore established another status of life which was later certified by the Church law, that was ladies who lived chastity, living in the world too. Status of a close person, pursuing and living with the Son of God and were invited to be spiritual mothers. The reality of this free choice of one's own way of life was a great step towards the advancement of women. Even though there was no general activity to hold the members of the group together, they were not alone because these ladies were truly members of a spiritual bonded family with the rules to support,sustain and under the patroness of the martyrs, the company of St. Ursula,was established on November 25th, 1535.

Angela passed away on January 27th, 1540 in Brescia. Her body remained calm in a respectful place where people built in dedication to her.

Not long after her death the ladies who believed in her were all involved in the teaching of the Christian doctrine, and later taught reading and writing too in Italy. Many bishops founded groups of women of Saint Ursula in many places, but in France these women groups were transformed into religious communities instead, and later spread out across all continents to educate young women in boarding schools and day schools. In the following centuries, various groups of Ursulines took place in many places. These people all took Angela as their mother.

Angela Merici was canonized on May 24th, 1807. Today she is known and respected all over the world. Thanks to the group of women of Saint Ursula that spread in the form of a group of Lay devotees and thanks to the diverse institutional development of Ursuline Congregations.

Although this Saint is somewhat of a character in the Third Order of Franciscan style of the Middle age, but she especially holds the hearts of women of all ages in the 21st century. She cultivates the seedlings of the church from a tiny grain which later grows and spreads out many branches such as daughters of St. Angela are everywhere in the world, those dedicate as Secular Ursulines and Ursuline religious, they are all Sisters who are united in love and faith to one Mother, who is Angela Merici.

May your holy name
be praised
More than the sand of the sea
More than the drops of rain from the sky
More than the dazzling constellation of ten thousand hundred billion stars
(Angela Merici)