The feast day of St. Angela Merici is celebrated on Jan. 27. St. Angela is the patron saint of the sick and disabled.
St. Angela Merici was born in 1474. She lived primarily in Brescia, Italy. Her parents read to Angela when she was young, teaching her about the saints and martyrs. She lost both of her parents when she was about ten years old. She also lost her sister to death. They were quite close and her grief was great. It was made worse because her sister had not received the Last Sacraments. In spite of being reassured by the parish priest concerning her sister’s salvation, Angela prayed to Jesus for consolation. She experience a vision of a company of Angels surrounding her sister, escorting her to Heaven. She no longer had any doubt about her sisters entry into heaven.
On a trip to the Holy Land St. Angela became blind. She refused to end the pilgrimage, continuing to visit the shrines and praying with enthusiasm. On the return trip her vision was restored while praying before a crucifix.
St. Angela became a member of the Third Order of St. Francis and served the marginalized, the poor, the orphans and the sick. She had a special desire to educate the poor.
At the age of 57, Angela organized twelve girls to help her teach catechism. The group grew to 28 and they formed The Company of Saint Ursula. It was named after St. Ursula who was an early martyr and patron of education and the youth. They later became known as the Ursulines. It was the first group of women religious to work outside the cloister and the first teaching order of women. The order impressed many people with its work including Pope Clement. He requested that she take charge of a religious order of nursing sisters, however she turned him down. She knew her calling was to teach the poor and uneducated.
After her death on Jan. 27, 1540, the Company of Saint Ursula spread rapidly.
Remember, the Devil doesn’t sleep,
but seeks our ruin in a thousand ways.
Quote of St. Angela Merici
January is the Month of the Holy Name