first companyThis is one of my favorite images of St. Angela. It depicts the event of November 25, 1535—the day St. Angela, together with a group of a dozen or so young women, surrendered their lives to God and began the Company of St. Ursula. I love the fact that she’s sitting in the middle of the women, that the Holy Spirit hovers over her, and her hand is pointing outward. In my imagination I hear her telling the group to “act, move, believe, strive, hope”—in other words, “Be risk-takers.” Go out into the world trusting in the loving, providential care of Jesus Christ for all that we’ll need. Being risk-takers is part of our Ursuline DNA!

Angela took a big risk to found this group of women which would not live according to the conventional life-style of religious women of her time. Angela’s daughters would give their lives to God without making vows as we know them today, and without the protection and lifestyle of the monastery. Angela was given the charism to risk living her life totally given over to God while living in the world, outside the cloister walls, among the people. It was a new way of life in her time. Today we continue to take her counsel to heart:

Keep to the ancient way and custom of the Church, established and confirmed by so many Saints under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. And live a new life.  -St. Angela Merici