Our story begins with a remarkable woman who lived in sixteenth century Italy – St. Angela Merici. Her energizing spirit touches the lives of people across the centuries and around the world today.
In a time of great political, economic and moral upheaval, women were faced with two choices – marriage or the cloister. Angela, attentive to God’s Spirit within her, made a new path as she established her Company. She assumed that women could act and live in the world completely on their own authority. The women who joined her lived in their homes, carried out their various works and met regularly for prayer and mutual support.
The Rule which Angela Merici wrote for her Company was the first Rule written by a woman for a community of women. She included traditional characteristics of religious life, interpreting them anew and thus creating a freer, more independent and yet committed life for women. After her death this original form went through various transformations as her spirit spread throughout Italy, France and other parts of Europe.
Ursuline Sisters and Education
An important focus of Angela Merici’s work was the support and education of young women so that they could bring up families in a healthy and holy environment. Mother Xavier continued this dream with her arrival in North America, setting up a classroom in the convent as soon as she arrived so that sisters could reach out to the local population.