Imagining St. Ursula

Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Ursula. Our foundress St. Angela chose her as patroness for her new group of brave young women. She wanted to place Ursula before her daughters who were embarking on a new life, beginning something unknown in Brescia at the time. Mysaint_ursula_protecting_the_eleven_thousand_virgins_with_her_cloak imagination goes wild as I consider the life-lessons Ursula has to share not just with Ursulines, but with all who resonate with the spirit and charism of Angela Merici.

This is the Ursula whom my heart knowsa young woman of deep faith, conscious of who she was (a princess!) and ready to take uncommon risks for the sake of Jesus Christ and the Gospel…a leader, a woman in whom others recognized skills and passion and were eager companions …a dreamer, who didn’t fear to think big and invite others to trust their dreams…God-centered, holding nothing back, entrusting herself and her companions into the loving hands of God…a courageous witness to the power of God at work in her (and each of us!) transforming lives and society through the experience and leadership of women everywhere since the 4th century. What is it about St. Ursula’s life that resonates most with you?

A Martyr’s Love

On Friday, we celebrate the feast of St. Ursula, 4th century martyr revered by St. Angela Merici for her faith and courage. We’ve previously offered resources here about who Ursula is and tips one can learn from her life. There’s also a short video that cimg5037situates her among other holy women important in our Ursuline story. 

Pope Francis has said about martyrs: “These are the lifeblood of the Church; these are the ones that carry the Church forward, the witnesses, who attest that Jesus is Risen, that Jesus is alive, and they bear witness through the consistency of their life. . . . The Church needs their witness now, just as much as at the beginning of Christianity when ‘Peter the coward’ became ‘courageous’ after Christ’s death and resurrection.”

Who are the martyrs, early or modern day, who inspire you? How in your own life circumstances are you called to a martyr’s love, to give witness in your everyday fidelity that Jesus is truly Risen and alive?

Wonderful Connections

p1040381With the arrival of 2 more visitors, I am again in awe at the amazing connections in our Ursuline family.  Sisters Marija and Bozena of Slovenia came just days ago. Like Sr. Colette-Marie of France (who is now visiting in New Orleans), they are here for an “immersion” in our culture as preparation for their tertianship. In November, they’ll go to Rome for 7 months of renewal at the heart of the Church and the Roman Union Ursulines.  Their program will include reflection on life experience, spiritual and theological updating, p1040383pilgrimages to the hallowed places of Saints Angela and Francis of Assisi, a 30 day retreat in the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, and time to enjoy the diversity of cultures in our international Ursuline community.

For now, our Sisters are wasting no time enjoying what St. Louis has to offer. They have entered into our local Ursuline communities,  are celebrating the beauty p1040377of parish liturgies, learning about the “Gateway to the West” and local history, and witnessing American life all around them.  Even the weather has cooperated by offering spectacular sunshine and blue skies.

Baptismal Journey

Today is the anniversary of my baptism. My parents brought me to be baptized when I was a week old. As the youngest child, my sister and brother were already old enough to be my godparents. How cool is that! This day also happens to be the date when the Church remembers St. Bruno. He was the founder of the Carthusians. You may have rockford-ilseen the documentary film Into Great Silence, an experience of the daily lives of the Carthusian monks of the Grande Chartreuse monastery, located high in the French Alps. This was Bruno’s foundation. I feel blessed to have someone like Bruno as a patron saint for my baptismal journey. For what is a baptismal journey except the whole of our lives? There have been hills and valleys along the way. There have been invitations to move more deeply into my life in Christ. Times of silence and solitude nourish me with the fortitude of St. Bruno, the discernment of St. Angela and the joy of St. Francis. This is just a glimpse into my baptismal journey. When did yours begin? Where has the journey led you?