Monday 5th December 2016

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. Angela Merici

January 20, 2014 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

In 15th-century Europe, women were not seen and rarely heard. Education was reserved for men or for the cloistered women in the convents, but certainly not for young women of the laity. Young women who had no family were placed in a most precarious situation.
Then through a providential series of incidents, the Lord prepared a young maiden to begin the work of educating and caring for young women. Long before the “women’s liberation movement,” which in reality is Marxism cloaked in a different name, Angela Merici empowered women to help other young women forge their way in safe environments.
On March 21, 1474, Angela Merici entered the world, the second daughter of a faithful Catholic family. She was born at Desenzano del Garda on the southwest shore of Lake Garda in Lombardy. One of the most beautiful areas of Italy, it is located near the foothills of the Alps in the far northeast section of the country.
Angela and her sister lived a quiet normal life until they lost their parents 15 years after the birth of Angela. Mercifully, the girls were taken in by an uncle who lived about 30 miles southwest of Desenzano in a city also on the shores of Lake Garda. While living with their uncle, they continued in their Catholic formation.
Soon, however, tragedy struck again. This time Giana Maria, Angela’s older sister, died when Angela was only 20 years old. Since Giana had died so suddenly that she did not receive Extreme Unction, as it was called at the time, Angela grieved deeply for her. Angela prayed tirelessly for the repose of her sister’s soul.
Her dedication to prayer led her to become a Franciscan by joining the Third Order of St. Francis. She increased her prayer life and sacrifices for Giana, seeking some sign that she was in Heaven. God answered her prayers when she received a vision during which she learned that her sister was at peace in Heaven with the saints.
Angela’s piety was complemented by her humility and modesty. She possessed a great beauty of body as well as of soul. Her crowning glory was her luxurious head of hair. Recognizing that the admiration she received stemmed from worldly motivations, she sought to do away with that which could be construed as a temptation. This temptation, she realized, could be a near occasion of sin for her in terms of personal vanity. Furthermore, it could be a trial for others as well, if they admired that which was created more than they admired the Creator.
Therefore, in a gesture of humble zeal, she chopped off her hair and rubbed soot into it to change the color. Evidently, we may surmise from this, that Angela possessed the fair hair and complexion typical of the northern Italians.
In 1494, Angela returned to her home town of Desenzano. Her travels helped to see the challenges of destitute young women. During this era, women did not go out of the house. Their lifestyle called for them to tend to the needs of the home. Even nuns, who were the most educated of women, lived in cloisters.
Oddly enough as much as the Church promoted education, no order of nuns who focused on teaching existed.
There was no organization in the Church which could see to these poor women who were receiving no education but, even worse, were receiving no religious formation. As Angela knew from her personal experience, there can be no peace where there is no knowledge of Christ. Her heart ached for these girls who lacked the knowledge of God.
To address the dilemma, she organized a group of women, fellow Franciscan tertiaries — after she received another vision. This one revealed a company of virgins working for the Church to lift the girls out of their misery. Similar to the methods of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, these women would go out into the streets, gather the girls, and begin their formation.
They did this with no power, no sponsors, no funds, and no buildings. They had nothing to offer but themselves and their love for the marginalized women. They opened their arms and their homes to improve the lot of any girl willing to follow.
Angela and her associates met regularly for prayer and meditation. She urged them to “reflect that in reality you have a greater need to serve [the poor] than they have of your service.” Apostolic endeavors founded on prayer are built on the rock of Christ, not on sand.
So successful was their work that Brescia and other cities of Italy sought their service in establishing similar programs. Soon word spread far and wide about the work — even to the Pope himself.
In 1524 she left northern Italy to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Places in Jerusalem. While she made a stop in Crete, she lost her sight — she became completely blind. However, this did not deter her. She continued her journey to visit the places where Christ lived and died.
Angela completed her quest and began her trip home, again stopping in Crete. While praying in front of the very same crucifix where she had lost her eyesight, she regained her eyesight.
In 1525, she went to Rome to gain the indulgences for the Jubilee Year. Pope Clement VII, learning of her presence in Rome and fully aware of her good works, asked her to stay in Rome to begin a home for young girls. She respectfully declined, saying she did not wish to have the fame and praise that would go with his attentions and patronage.
St. Angela returned to Brescia where ten years later, on November 25, 1535, she began the Company of St. Ursula with 12 other virgins in the Church of St. Afra. Like other third orders, the women would remain in the world but would lead lives of celibacy and prayer while seeking to be of service to their neighbors. On March 18, 1537 she accepted the office of superior of the order.
Nearly three years later, she died on January 27, 1540.
At the time of her death, there were 24 sites that were serving the young and unmarried women. The order received approval by Pope Paul III in 1546. Angela was beatified in 1768 and canonized in 1807. Her feast is celebrated on January 27.
Dear St. Angela, virgin and mother of religious, help us to help the many abandoned and suffering women in our society. Help us to see the ways that we can reach out and serve those who are lonely and destitute. May we follow your example of loving our neighbor and serving them. Amen.

+ + +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. Mrs. Breslin’s articles have appeared in Homiletic & Pastoral Review and in the Marian Catechist Newsletter. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Congress doubles budget for investigation of Planned Parenthood baby parts scandal

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Congress voted to double the budget of the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, meaning the panel will continue investigating Planned Parenthood and the sale of aborted baby body parts through 2016. Republicans…Continue Reading

Catholic church prepares to fight ‘grave evil’ of mass deportations

American leadership in the Catholic church laid low during the presidential election but San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy is now making clear that if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on campaign promises of mass deportations of unauthorized immigrants, the church is prepared to take…Continue Reading

Fake Catholic Groups and the “Catholic Spring” Emails

Beginning in 2007, orthodox Catholic writers including myself wrote dozens of articles in an attempt to expose the funding and duplicitousness of two fake Catholic groups: the OSF funded Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United. (For…Continue Reading

Rubio on Castro Condolences: Obama’s Response ‘Pathetic’; My Catholic Faith Does Not Bind Me to Pope’s Foreign Policy Stances

(CNSNews.com) – Asked Sunday about Pope Francis’ expression of sorrow on the death of Fidel Castro, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said that as a Catholic he believes in the Pope’s theological authority but his faith does not bind him when…Continue Reading

Head of Vatican Court: Cdl. Burke Could Be Stripped of Red Hat

The Dean of the Roman Rota, the Vatican’s top canonical court overseeing marriage, is issuing an ominous warning to Cdl. Raymond Burke that he may be stripped of his cardinalate for allegedly causing “grave scandal.” Speaking Tuesday at a lecture at the…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell defends four cardinals for asking ‘significant’ questions

Cardinal George Pell has come to the support of the four cardinals who have submitted dubia about the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia. Following an address to an audience in London, the Australian cardinal was asked whether he agreed with the…Continue Reading

Third bishop backs four Cardinals: I was ‘overwhelmed’ with similar questions

POLAND, November 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – A third bishop has now publicly risen in defense of the four Cardinals who have been vilified by influential prelates after going public with their request that Pope Francis clarify whether or not his…Continue Reading

Fidel Castro, Cuban Revolutionary Who Defied U.S., Dies at 90

Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba’s maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing…Continue Reading

The Pope Isn’t Talking, But His Cardinal Friends Are. And Accusing

ROME, November 23, 2016 – Not one word has come from the mouth of Pope Francis after four cardinals publicly asked him to resolve five major “doubts” raised by the most controversial passages of “Amoris Laetitia”: > “Seeking Clarity.” The…Continue Reading

Trump calls for national healing on Thanksgiving

WASHINGTON — After a long and bruising political campaign, President-elect Donald Trump Wednesday called in a video for the nation to “speak with one voice and one heart.” “It is my prayer, that on this Thanksgiving, we begin to heal our…Continue Reading

Critics need ‘conversion’ to accept Amoris Laetitia: Cardinal Cupich

“It’s going to take conversion, on the part of all of us, and examine ourselves to say, ‘What is it that the Church is teaching here that maybe I need to change, rather than saying that the Holy Father has…Continue Reading

Bishop Athanasius Schneider Issues Statement Supporting the Four Cardinals

schneider

The following is a statement from His Excellency Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana. It is reproduced here in its entirety: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth” (2…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Catholic leaders: climate change on same level as abortion and death penalty

Opposition to abortion and the death penalty have long been cardinal beliefs for the Roman Catholic church, whose faithful make up about a quarter of all Americans. What if fighting climate change becomes an equally passionate issue in parishes nationwide? The foremost group of Catholic leaders in the U.S. is ramping up a campaign to do just that, urging priests and congregations from San Diego to Atlanta to think about global warming as a sanctity-of-life issue. Some Catholic experts have…Continue Reading

Pope approves decrees for causes for canonization

(Vatican Radio) On 1 December, the Holy Father Pope Francis received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In the course of the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorized the Congregation to promulgate decrees regarding several causes for canonization. The martyrdom of Father Stanley Rother, an American priest killed in Guatemala our of “hatred for the faith,” was officially recognized; as was the heroic virtue of Mother Catherine…Continue Reading

German Theologian and Book Author Strongly Comes to the Defense of the Four Cardinals

fourcards

Maike Hickson “This Is an Insult Toward Many Catholics!” is the trenchant title of an article written in defense of the Four Cardinals and published today on the Austrian Catholic news website, kath.net. The author of this text is Dr. Markus Büning, a German theologian, lawyer, book author, and father of a family. Several of his books have dealt with the question as to how one is to grow in holiness; one book deals with…Continue Reading

San Diego bishop to priests: Embrace ‘LGBT families’, give Communion to ‘remarried’

SAN DIEGO, California, November 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — San Diego Bishop Robert McElroy is calling on his city’s priests to embrace “LGBT families,” and to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion in certain cases. Following a much-hyped diocesan synod on the family last month, Bishop McElroy encouraged priests to publish a diocesan notice in their bulletins saying the Church will “assist those who are divorced and remarried and cannot receive an annulment to…Continue Reading

ACLU wants to force Catholic health care system to sterilize women

WASHINGTON – Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Monday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that asks the agency to reject an administrative complaint that the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed on behalf of a woman who insisted that a Catholic health care system sterilize her. ADF explains in the letter that federal law protects Ascension Health, the nation’s largest nonprofit health system and the world’s largest Catholic health system,…Continue Reading

Re-Sacralizing The Sacred

By DONALD DeMARCO One of my better students, who was enjoying a course I was teaching, asked me if I would like to speak to the members of his Bible study group. I felt honored and happily accepted his cordial invitation. The study group, made up exclusively of young adults, met in the home of…Continue Reading

The Grand Impostor

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER Proverbs tells us: “What a joy it is to find just the right word for the right occasion” (15:23 Good News Bible). So it is with the word imposturous, which ideally captures the essence of the deceit which characterizes what masquerades as social ethics. If an impostor is someone who…Continue Reading

A Book Review . . . How Law Is Actually Made

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Vermeule, Adrian. Law’s Abnegation: From Law’s Empire to the Administrative State. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2016. 254 pp. “Law’s Empire” of the subtitle is a reference to Ronald Dworkin’s influential 1986 treatise, Law’s Empire. Adrian Vermeule, a professor of law, acknowledges Dworkin to be one of the great legal scholars of…Continue Reading

A Film Review… “Believe”: Give Faith A Chance

By REY FLORES Christmastime is always a time for movie studios to try and cash in on holiday-themed films, hoping to catch some of that Christmas spirit from the public. Often times, Hollywood presents the usual junk with a secular Christmas twist that has nothing to do with the real purpose or meaning of Christmas.…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “Church Teachings On Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, “Euthanasia,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + Conclusion “They are dictating how medicine should be practiced. You know the [Supreme] Court is…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

What Is Faith?… The Powers Of The Devil

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM What are the powers of the Devil? What can that creep do to us? Because of the general ignorance of Church teaching on the Devil that is commonplace in our days, people tend to fall into two opposite extremes: either to belittle or deny the Devil’s action or to be overanxious about it, fearing him…Continue Reading

Gifts Of The Holy Spirit — Counsel

By DON FIER “No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God” (1 Cor. 2:11-12). These words of St. Paul to the Corinthians give us a glimpse of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Fr. George Rutler is on the money again in his post-election bulletin column at St. Michael’s Church in New York City: “Considering how many crucial matters were at stake during the recent election, including the right to life and religious freedom, and the preponderant bias in the media and opinion polls, it did not seem melodramatic to hope…Continue Reading

He Is God, Let Him In!

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Advent (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10 James 5:7-10 Matt. 11:2-11 In the Gospel reading today, Jesus asks the crowds who made the journey to hear St. John the Baptist what they went out into the desert to see. He gives them a few options: a reed swayed by the wind, someone dressed…Continue Reading

The Feast Of Christ The King… Pope Francis Says The Heart Of Christ Is Always Open

(Editor’s Note: Below is the text of the homily Pope Francis delivered November 20 for the closure of the Jubilee Year of Mercy and the Feast of Christ the King. (The Holy Father said that “even if the Holy Door closes, the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us.” (The Holy…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Peter Fourier

By CAROLE BRESLIN In the Catholic Church, there are many examples throughout history of religious orders that have been reformed or have been in need of reform. After many years the members of religious orders tend to relax rules until they do not live much differently than the laity. It seems that discipline and fervor are closely related — without…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Catherine Of Alexandria

By CAROLE BRESLIN The list of saints is long, and includes both men and women from all walks of life and from all disciplines. For some saints, there is a plenitude of documents and accounts of their lives from which we can draw much information. For most of the saints from the early centuries of the Church, however, there is…Continue Reading