Angela Merici

by Nerissa from Jakarta

St. Angela
St. Angela

Angela was born in 1474 in Desenzano, near Garda Lake, North Italy. When Angela was a child, her family moved to Le Greeze. In that place, Angela’s father had a wine field. With her sister, Angela lived in a happy family. At that time, there was no school, especially for girls. Angela’s father told the holy person’s tale to them until his daughters wanted to imitate those holy people. They played and dreamed of becoming hermits. From her mother, Angela learned about the household. This social life was enjoyed by Angela and her sister deeply. But, this family’s happiness was not long lasting; Angela’s sister died.

One day, when Angela was in the field, she had a vision. She saw a group of angels going up and down a ladder which connected the earth and heaven, and between those angels, Angela recognized her sister! This vision increased Angela’s desire to join her sister and she gave herself to God totally.

Because of an epidemic, Angela’s parents died. She became fatherless and an orphan child when she was young. Of course, Angela couldn’t live alone in Desenzano, so Angela moved to Salo and she lived with her uncle there.

At Salo, Angela enjoyed her life with many kinds of people. But Angela didn’t want to live like this. She wanted to be God’s property, so she blackened her gold hair with ash by herself. Angela wasn’t satisfied with life without going out, so she joined with The Third Order of Franciscan’s priests to accept communion easily, closed herself with God and accepted the duty.

Her first duty was to go Brescia. In Brescia, Angela was delegated to console Catarina Patengola who had lost her children recently. Angela stayed in Antonio Romano’s house, a famous aristocrat from Brescia. Brescia was destroyed by war and the citizens suffered. The children were neglected and the women were abused. Poverty was widespread and the meaning of life was decreased in society. Once again, Angela saw a group of angels who went up and down a ladder of light in Brudazzo, near Salo. This vision made Angela realize God’s wish although she was doubtful and confused.

Little by little, Angela helped everyone who needed help. Angela worked for 14 years in Brescia and she was known as a woman who brought peace to young priests' hearts, a girls’ advisor, mediator to familes, and women’s defender. Angela asked, “What could I do for them who suffered?” Angela wasn’t satisfied and she sought, sought, and sought. She visited Roma, Holy Land, Varallo, and Cremona. All the time, Angela dreamed about a vision of a group of angels. She knew that God’s wish was for there to be a company of women, who were God’s property.

But Angela wasn’t confident, so she postponed her duty until God pushed her and said that He would always accompany her. Angela had many friends who gave her facilities, like a room for meetings with each other. Angela decorated the wall with images of her idols, Saint Ursula, Saint Catharina, and others.

Angela Merici
Angela Merici

Finally, on 25th November 1535, 28 first members wrote their names in a member’s book, Saint Ursula’s Company. Angela chose 25th November as her company’s day because 25th November was Saint Catharina’s party. As a patron, Angela chose Saint Ursula. Angela and Barbara Fontana lived in a room in Saint Afra’s Church. With another member, who had written their name in the Company’s Book, they arranged a Regula Primitif. For a writer, they chose Gabriele Cozzano. And then Regula Primitif was legalized by the Holy Throne.

On 18th March 1537, for the first Saint Ursula’s Capital Company, every member chose Angela as their leader. Angela led her women for a few years. For them, Angela dictated some advice and, when her company had some problems, Angela dictated a Dying Exhortation that encouraged all of the members to remain united. Angela felt sick and all of Brescia’s citizens joined the prayers for the health of Angela, their mother.

On 27th January 1540, Angela died after choosing Lucresia as her successor. Angela’s corpse was snatched by Paroki of Cathedral and Paroki of Saint Afra because both of them wanted to possess her. On 28th January, Angela was painted by Moretto, a famous artist, before the corpse was buried. On that night, a star was seen by Brescia’s citizens, a sign that a mother had gone. She had left her little company.

In 1807, Angela was declared a Saint.

"As her sisters surrounded her in prayer at the hour of her death, a beautiful ray of light shone upon the saint--a sign that God was welcoming her to her eternal home. Angela died with the name of Jesus on her lips."

I chose Saint Angela Merici to be my hero because I like her social life and what she did for so many. Angela Merici’s life sets an example for my school, too.

Page created on 3/25/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 3/25/2006 12:00:00 AM

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Related Links

Angela Merici - Patron Saint
St. Angela Merici - Foundress of Ursuline Sisters