St. Angela Merici (January 27)
St. Angela Merici was born on March 21, 1470 at Lombardy. Both her parents died when she was a small child and Angela drew near to God for support. She was raised by her uncle and then became a Franciscan tertiary at age thirteen. It was at about this time that Angela had a vision stating she would one day organize a community of women. When Angela was 22, her uncle died. She returned to her home town and began to instruct the poorer children in the village in their religion and she soon gathered a number of women companions to share her work. Because of her success, she was invited to open another school in Brescia, where she was befriended by the nobility.
Angela went to Rome in 1525 and had an audience with Pope Clement VII. He wanted Angela to be in charge of a congregation of nursing sisters, but she declined and returned to Brescia. About 1522 she organized a group of twelve women to help with her ministry. It was on November 25, 1535 that 28 women plus Angela consecrated themselves to the service of God with St. Ursula as their patroness. This is the beginning of the Ursulines, a community of women that has extended world-wide since her death.