Today I am driving to New Orleans. I love New Orleans, and I’m especially pleased to be going there for a Called Deeper or Come and See weekend for young women considering a possible call to religious life.
New Orleans is where Ursuline life began in this country. Twelve of our sisters came from France in 1727, the first Roman Catholic nuns in what is now the United States. They began a school and convent, worked in healthcare and established an orphanage. The Ursulines were also the first to offer classes for female slaves, for free women of color, and for Native Americans. The school they began is the oldest continuously operating Catholic school in the United States.
That history always fills me with awe, and it’s a joy to introduce new generations to Ursuline life. We’ll spend Saturday reflecting on the charism of our foundress, St. Angela Merici, deepening skills of discernment of a vocation, and sharing about the mission of the Ursulines in today’s world. For those women who can come before or stay after Saturday, we will go together to see the old Ursuline convent in the French Quarter and visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor on the grounds of Ursuline Academy. We’ll also take time for café au lait and beignets, and maybe listen to some jazz down by the Mississippi. I’m sure we will be grateful for the courage and faith of the Ursulines who began it all more than 285 years ago. And we’ll pray with hope for those who might be called to bring Ursuline life into the future. Say a prayer for our weekend, please.