Friday, January 27, 2006
St. Angela Merici

Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): January 27
Double (1954 Calendar): May 31
Class III (1962 Calendar): June 1

Today the Church remembers St. Angela Merici, virgin. St. Angela was born in 1474 in Italy and ended up forming the Order of Ursulines, which was the first teaching order for women to be approved by the Church.

Early on in her life, St. Angela devoted her life to Christ as His bride. This deep love for God led her to a deeper prayer life and love beyond today's standards. When her parents died, St. Angela lived for Christ and His Gospel every day in solitude. In 1524, St. Angela journeyed on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She visited Pope Clement VII, in Rome, who desired for her to remain in the city. So, in 1516, she founded a society for girls under St. Ursula's protection, which later became the Ursuline Order. At age 70, St. Angela Merici died, and her body remained perfectly incorrupt for 30 days afterward. A remarkable event also happened at her burial in the Church of St. Afra.

In 1954, Pope Pius XII instituted the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen setting it on May 31st, and to make room for it, he moved the feast of St. Angela Merici to June 1 from May 31st.

Traditional Matins Reading:

Angela de Merici was born of virtuous parents at Decenzano, a town in the diocese of Verona, near lake Benago, in the Venetian territory. From her earliest years she kept the strictest guard over the lily of her virginity, which she had resolved should never be taken from her. She had a thorough contempt for those outward deckings on which so many women set their hearts. She purposely disfigured the beauty of her features and hair, that she might find no favour save with the Spouse of our souls. Whilst yet in the bloom of youth, she lost her parents; whereupon she sought to retire into a desert, that she might lead a life of penance; but being prevented by an uncle, she fulfilled at home what she was not permitted to do in a wilderness. She frequently wore a hairshirt, and took the discipline. She never ate flesh-meat, except in case of sickness; she never tasted wine, except on the Feasts of our Lord’s Nativity and Resurrection; and, at times, would pass whole days without taking any food. She spent much time in prayer, and exceedingly little in sleep, and that little on the ground. The devil having once appeared to her in the form of an angel of light, she at once detected his craft, and put him to flight. At length, having resigned her right to the fortune left her by her parents, she embraced the rule of the Third Order of St Francis, received the habit, and united evangelical poverty to the merit of virginity.

She showed her neighbour every kind office in her power; and gave to the poor a portion of her own food, which she procured by begging. She gladly served the sick. She gained the reputation of great sanctity in several places, which she visited either that she might comfort the afflicted, or obtain pardon for criminals, or reconcile them that were at variance, or reclaim sinners from the sink of crime. She had a singular hunger for the Bread of Angels, which she frequently received; and such was the vehemence of her love of God, that she was often in a state of ecstasy. She visited the Holy Places of Palestine with extraordinary devotion. During her pilgrimage, she lost her sight on landing on the isle of Candia, but recovered it when leaving. She also miraculously escaped shipwreck and falling into the hands of barbarians. She went to Rome during the Pontificate of Pope Clement the Seventh, in order to venerate the firm Rock of the Church, and to gain the great Jubilee Indulgence. The Pope had an interview with her, at once discovered her sanctity and spoke of her to others in terms of highest praise; nor would he have allowed her to leave the city, had he not been convinced that heaven called her elsewhere.

Having returned to Brescia, she took a house near the church of Saint Afra. There, by God's command, which was made known to her by a voice from heaven and by a vision, she instituted a new society of virgins under a special discipline, and holy rules, which she herself drew up. She put her Institute under the title and patronage of Saint Ursula, the brave leader of the army of virgins: she also foretold, shortly before her death, that this Institute would last to the end of the world. At length, being close upon seventy years of age, laden with merit, she took her flight to heaven in the year 1540, on the sixth of the Calends of February (January 27). Her corpse was kept thirty days before being put in the grave, and preserved the flexibility and appearance of a living body. It was laid in the church of Saint Afra, amidst the many other relics wherewith that church is enriched. Many miracles were wrought at her tomb. The rumour of these miracles spread not only through Brescia and Decenzano, but also in other places. The name of Blessed was soon given to Angela, and her image used to be placed on the altars. St Charles Borromeo affirmed, whilst preaching at Brescia, a few years after Angela’s death, that she was worthy of canonization: Clement the Thirteenth ratified and confirmed the devotion thus paid her by the faithful, which had already received the approbation of several bishops, and the encouragement of several Indults of Sovereign Pontiffs. Finally, after several new miracles had been juridically proved, Pius the Seventh enrolled Angela in the list of holy virgins, in the solemn canonization celebrated in the Vatican Basilica, on May 24 in the year 1807.

Litany to St. Angela Merici for private recitation:

God the Father of heaven, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, and faithful Guardian of our Mother Saint Angela, Pray for us.

Saint Angela Merici, Pray for us.
St. Angela, favored with the choicest gifts of God from thy infancy, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who didst give thyself to the practice of all the virtues from thy tenderest years, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who didst always preserve a spotless purity, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who by thy love for holy purity, didst merit to receive thy name, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who from childhood found thy delight in solitude, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who led an angelic life in the house of thy parents, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who didst daily hear on thy body the mortification of Jesus, Pray for us.
St. Angela, whose gift it was to reconcile the bitterest enemies, Pray for us.
(St. Angela, who at thirteen become a Tertiary of St. Francis and ever remained faithful,) Pray for us.
St. Angela, gifted with the graces of prayer and contemplation, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who visited the Holy Land, and there followed the bloody footprints of Jesus, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who triumphed over the illusions of the devil, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who wast not afflicted at the loss of thy sight in visiting the holy places, Pray for us.
St. Angela, whose sight was miraculously restored in the Island of Candia, Pray for us.
St. Angela, whom the love of God had wounded and whom this same love cured, Pray for us.
St. Angela, model of perfect self-denial and true humility, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who, like Jacob, wast permitted to see the mysterious ladder, Pray for us.
St. Angela, chosen by God to be the mother of many holy virgins, Pray for us.
St. Angela, Foundress of the illustrious Order of the Ursulines, Pray for us.
St. Angela, to whom God promised that this Order should always subsist, Pray for us.
St. Angela, who, filled with joy, didst give up thy soul in the embrace of the Lord, Pray for us.
St. Angela, whose body remained incorruptible after death, Pray for us.
St. Angela, Patroness of Christian mothers, Pray for us.
St. Angela, Protectress of young girls, Pray for us.
St. Angela, our Mother and Advocate, Pray for us.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O glorious Mother Saint Angela:
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Let us pray.
O God, Who by means of our blessed Mother Saint Angela didst cause a new Order of holy virgins to flourish in Thy Church: grant, through her intercession, that we may imitate her angelic virtues, and, forsaking all earthly things, may be found worthy of eternal bliss. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.

Litany Source: Kyrie Eleison — Two Hundred Litanies by Benjamin Francis Musser O.F.M., The Magnificat Press, 1944

1 comment(s):

del_button April 26, 2014 at 4:40 PM
Anonymous said...

Beautiful words to recite; memorable visions to ponder. Thank you for sharing the world of Saint Angela and her immediate and never wavering love and obedience to Our Father God. May we learn from her actions, thoughts and prayers, that it is ever possible to be renewed in the Spirit and begin a new walk with Jesus. Amen

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