Saint Angela Merici: Educator of Young Women

On January 27, the Church celebrates the memory of Saint Angela Merici (1474–1540), famous for her work as an educator of young women.

A Secular Franciscan of the Third Order

Although today Angela is honored as the foundress of the Ursuline nuns, she identified as a Franciscan. Angela was a native of the small town of Desanzano on the shore of Lake Garda in Lombardy, Italy. Orphaned at an early age, she was raised by relatives. As a young woman, she determined to follow Christ through the service of others, committing herself to a celibate life to do so, and found a spiritual home as a Secular Franciscan in the “Third Order.”

Foundress of Ursuline nuns

Convinced of the need for better education for young women and girls, she began teaching them in her own home. She was shortly invited to the city of Brescia to begin a similar school.

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