At 10-years-old, Angela and her older sister became orphans and went to live with their uncle in Salo, where they led a quiet and devout Catholic Christian life. After the death of her sister, Angela remembered her sister did not have the opportunity to receive her last Sacraments and was concerned for her eternal salvation.
In a vision, she learned her sister was in Heaven with the company of saints. Angela then became increasingly more devout and joined the Third Order of St. Francis, where she also pledged to remain a consecrated virgin.
When she was 20-years-old, Angela returned to her hometown, Desenzano. She found there were many young girls who had no education and no hope.
Convinced there was great need for a better way of teaching these young girls, she opened her own home to them and began to teach them the Catholic Christian faith herself.
A vision from the Lord revealed to Angela she was to found an institution with other consecrated virgins to further devote their lives toward the religious training of young girls.
Although never formally recognized as a religious order in her lifetime, Angela’s Company of Saint Ursula, or the Ursulines, became the first teaching order of women in the Catholic Church.
St. Angela Merici died on January 27, 1540.
She was beatified in 1768 by Pope Clement XIII and canonized in 1807 by Pope Pius VII.
St. Angela Merici is the patron saint of sickness, disabled and physically challenged people, and those grieving the loss of parents. Her feast day is celebrated on January 27.
To learn more about St. Angela Merici: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=21