Thursday 28th May 2015

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

Comment on this Article:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

UN Official Reports on Islamic State’s “War on Women”

A United Nations official has painted a chilling picture of how the Islamic State group oversees a vast network of sexual slavery, including an elaborate pricing system, violent treatment by slave masters and casual branding of female bodies and reselling…Continue Reading

Confidential Meeting Seeks to Sway Synod to Accept Same-Sex Unions

ROME — A one-day study meeting — open only to a select group of individuals — took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the…Continue Reading

Ireland has voted to legalize gay marriage, both sides say

DUBLIN (AP) — Irish voters have resoundingly backed amending the constitution to legalize gay marriage, leaders on both sides of the Irish referendum declared Saturday after the world’s first national vote on the issue. As the official ballot counting continued,…Continue Reading

Vatican’s eco guru champions Occupy Wall Street thugs

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Jeffrey Sachs wears many hats. He is known as the architect of the UN Millennium Development Goals, and the proponent of the upcoming UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His new book, entitled, (what else) The…Continue Reading

Boy Scouts president: We need to allow open homosexual leaders

May 22, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates says the youth organization must change with the times and allow open homosexual men to serve as Scout leaders. Gates, the former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA…Continue Reading

Federal Court Forces University of Notre Dame to Obey Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate

A federal appeals court has denied a request by the University of Notre Dame to get out of having to comply with the pro-abortion HHS mandate that is a part of Obamacare and requires businesses and church groups to pay…Continue Reading

The Reception of Holy Communion in the United States

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council. Pope Francis has decided to mark the occasion with the “Year of Mercy.” Despite much happy-talk and positive papal press, it is a time of foreboding in…Continue Reading

‘Eleven Christians Killed Every Hour,’ Says Irish Bishop

According to Bishop John McAreavey, the Chair of the Council for Justice & Peace of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, statistics show that the situation of Christian persecution in the world is far more dire than most people understand. The…Continue Reading

Africa’s experience of family life must be heard at synod, Pope tells Togo’s bishops

Pope Francis received Togo’s bishops in audience on May 11 as part of their quinquennial ad limina visit to Rome. The West African nation of 6.8 million is 20% Muslim, 15% Protestant, and 14% Catholic, with approximately half of the…Continue Reading

The eco-encyclical won’t commit the Church to unsettled science

By the time the environment encyclical of Pope Francis is released, it will be anti-climactic. Not anti-climate change to be sure, as the Holy See is certainly enthusiastic about the issue. Actually, it is against climate change, but enthusiastic about…Continue Reading

“America’s Changing Religious Landscape.”

The Pew Research Center just released its latest study on “America’s Changing Religious Landscape.” The subtitle tells the story: “Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow.” For our purposes, I want to focus…Continue Reading

Vatican cardinal sees no change in family teachings at synod

VATICAN CITY (AP) — A senior Vatican cardinal predicted Saturday that there will be no change in the Catholic Church‘s practice and teaching about marriage, divorce and the reception of Communion at an upcoming meeting of bishops on family issues. Cardinal…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  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 subscribe 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 145 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

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Pope: coherent Christians draw people to Christ

pope788

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ homily this morning focused on the Gospel account of Bartimaeus, the blind man who cried out to Jesus to be healed, and whom the disciples called to be silent. The Gospel led the Holy Father to reflect on three different groups of Christians. First, there are Christians who are concerned only with their own relationship with Jesus, a “closed, selfish” relationship, who do not hear the cries of others: “This group…Continue Reading

Pope speaks with open heart to Argentinean newspaper

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis says that being with people does him good. In a long and very personal interview with Juan Beretta, a reporter from the Argentinean newspaper “La Voz Del Pueblo”, the Pope speaks of his feelings of when he was elected Pope, of how he misses walking the streets, using public transport and sitting down for a pizza, of how he feels moved and sad when he meets sick children, prison inmates and…Continue Reading

Pope: worldly Christians can’t have both heaven and earth

pope787

(Vatican Radio)  It’s sad to see a Christian who wants to “follow Jesus and the things of this world.” That’s what Pope Francis said at Tuesday morning’s Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, stressing that a Christian is called to make a radical choice in life:  you can’t be “half” Christian or have both “heaven and earth.” In his homily Pope Francis reflects on Peter’s query to Jesus:  what would he and the disciples get…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: the gift of the Holy Spirit renews the earth

pope786

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis against the backdrop of St Peter’s Basilica and dressed in scarlet vestments, celebrated Mass on Pentecost Sunday. In his homily, the Holy Father began by focusing on Sunday’s readings saying that, “the word of God, tells us that the Spirit is at work in individuals and communities filled with the Spirit. Expanding on this theme of the Spirit, Pope Francis said that, in the Gospel, Jesus promises his disciples that, when he…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “How Many People Are Homosexuals?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995.) + + + “Homosexuality is one in 10. It’s one in 10 on the football team. It’s one in 10 on the baseball team. It’s one in 10 on the softball team. It’s one in…Continue Reading

It Is A Christian Country: At Least It Used To Be

By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK I realize that there are intelligent commentators on the right who are convinced that homosexual activists are pushing for the day when Christian churches will be compelled by law to perform same-sex marriages. I may be wrong, but I do not think that we will see that dictate anytime soon. It…Continue Reading

Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth

By DONALD DeMARCO Commutative justice demands that we repay what we owe. If I owe my brother $10, I should pay him $10. Justice in this sense is a proportion between the debt and the repayment. It is morally and often legally binding. There is a similar proportion on a higher level though it does…Continue Reading

Intense Conflicts . . . Is The Catholic Church In Germany In Danger Of Apostasy?

By MAIKE HICKSON For several weeks now, the German Catholics — bishops and laymen alike — have been in debate and disagreement over Catholic moral teaching and its continuing validity for Catholics today. After the German Bishops’ Conference came out on April 16 with its report to be sent to Rome for the upcoming October…Continue Reading

The Obama-Boehner-McConnell “Fast Track” To A Poorer America

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + President Barack Obama is negotiating a multilateral trade agreement with the governments of 11 nations. These include Malaysia and Vietnam — as well as Japan, Brunei, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand,…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

The Blood Of Christ Cleanses Our Consciences

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Solemnity Of Corpus Christi (YR B) Readings: Exodus 24:3-8 Heb. 9:11-15 Mark 14:12-16, 22-26 In the first reading today we hear about the covenant that was entered into between God and the people of Israel. Moses was the representative of both God and the people in this case. Consequently, he speaks to the people on behalf…Continue Reading

Archbishop Martin In Lourdes . . . In Defending Marriage, We Are Not Trying To Hurt Or Offend

LOURDES (ZENIT) — Here is a homily given May 13, on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, by Archbishop Eamon Martin at Mass in Lourdes on his first pilgrimage to the Marian shrine as archbishop of Armagh, Ireland. + + + At Mass in Lourdes, Archbishop Martin remembered and acknowledged the faithful in Ireland, and around the world, who…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Social Networks, Addiction To Images, And Custody Of The Eyes

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A follower on my Facebook page recently messaged me about a sordid situation arising from an association based on a Facebook “friendship.” She “friended” a man who then used her account to gain access to her daughter. What started out as a hope to meet someone who may become a real friend ended in inappropriate…Continue Reading

An Apologetics Course… The Order Of The Universe Proves God’s Existence

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA Part 3 Let us put our thinking cap on, and reason: Whenever you see something whose parts are arranged in order, following a specific logical pattern, you know that someone did it. Furniture in a living room, chess pieces on a board, books in a library. Orderly arrangement cannot be explained except as being due to…Continue Reading

The Church — Body Of Christ

By DON FIER As we considered “People of God” as an image of the Church last week, an important and underlying principle inherent to its biblical symbolism emerged: God wills to make us holy and save us not as separated, isolated individuals, but as a people. He wills to sanctify and redeem mankind “by making them into one people gathered…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . St. Ephrem

By CAROLE BRESLIN For centuries — no, for millennia — the Mideast has been the center of tragedy and unrest. Particularly significant in this historical conflict sits the city of Nisibis, now named Nusaybin. Nusaybin is an ancient city which sits on the border between Syria and Turkey. In ancient times this fertile land, located between the Tigris and Euphrates…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Charles Lwanga And Companions

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Catholic Church in Africa has experienced unprecedented growth in the past century. In 1900, shortly after the martyrdom of Charles Lwanga and companions, there were two million Catholics in Africa. When Pope Benedict XVI visited Africa in 2009, the Catholic population was 158 million. Once again the Church has witnessed that the blood of martyrs is…Continue Reading