In the early twentieth century, the Ursuline Sisters expanded throughout southwestern Ontario, moving to new locations, establishing houses and staffing elementary, secondary, post-secondary educational institutions and music schools. Along with other communities of religious women, they are responsible for the building up of the Catholic school system. The groundbreaking work of the Ursulines led to the establishment of Brescia University College, Canada’s only university college for women. Glengarda Child and Family Services in Windsor is rooted in the original foundation established by the Ursulines.
Although Ursulines no longer occupy formal teaching positions in educational institutions, they have left a lasting mark and ongoing supportive measures to assist in this important ministry.
Today, with smaller numbers and older members, that pilgrim spirit that characterized Angela Merici, Mother Xavier and so many other women of great heart, still energizes Ursulines and those who have chosen to walk with us. We continue to be engaged, committed and passionate about justice for those who are marginalized, for women, for all who are oppressed and for Earth which suffers the assaults of exploitation and abuse. Our beautiful Villa Angela home in Chatham is a visible testimony to our ongoing commitment to be responsible in our use of creation’s gifts. It was constructed to create the smallest possible ecological footprint and we were awarded Gold Status on our LEED certification, indicating that we have incorporated the best features of environmental design in the construction process.
Ongoing education and spiritual renewal are significant elements of our lives, regardless of age or ministry. These aspects are among the blessings we share with our neighbours both formally and informally. We have found ways to support important ventures in justice and peace by joining forces with other religious communities, justice organizations and concerned citizens. Wherever we live, we involve ourselves in local, national and global concerns.
Weaving relationships wherever we are allows God’s dream for all creation to flourish. We practice daily the ministry of “being with” others. This quality of presence is something often missed in our fast-pace world.
Inspired and supported by the courageous women who have gone before us, especially by St. Angela who promised to be in our midst, we continue to discern the call of the Spirit and to respond with generous and grateful hearts. We celebrate the abiding presence of our Compassionate God. We rejoice in the interconnectedness of all life, in the diversity of creation, in the unfolding of God’s great dream of Shalom.