Proclaiming Jesus through education and Christian formation.

Saint Angela Merici

Angela Merici, daughter of a pious, middle class farm family, was born in Desenzano, Italy, around 1474. Angela’s time was a time of contradiction; a time of violence and a time of compassion; a time of poverty and a time of wealth. Angela, a product of that time, continually allowed the Holy Spirit to transform her life. Living most of her life in Brescia, a city in northern Italy, Angela became well known for her ministry of service to the marginalized: the displaced, the poor, the orphaned, the sick.

Angela saw women as significant agents of change in a world longing for love, unity, and harmony. While still in her teens, Angela received a vision instructing her to form a “company of women” to further the work of God. On November 25, 1535, Angela and 28 young women formed the Company of Saint Ursula. Members lived in their own homes or with one or two other members of the Company. They were to be women of prayer and virtue with a simple rule and spiritual leaders to whom they would be accountable and who would strengthen and direct them.

After Angela’s death on January 27, 1540, the Company of Saint Ursula spread rapidly. Ursuline communities were established quickly in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Canada and the United States. Today, thousands of Ursuline Sisters work to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ on six continents.

Download a collection of Saint Angela’s writings. Click here.

Annual Words of Wisdom from Saint Angela

  • Week 1

    • “May the strength and true consolation of the Holy Spirit be in you all,

    • So that you can sustain and carry out vigorously and faithfully the charge laid upon you.”

    • –Counsels Address to the Leaders (Colonelle, or local superiors)

  • Week 2

    • “Look forward to the great reward which God has prepared for you
    • if you strive, each one for her part, to be faithful and full of concern for his spouses.”
    • –Counsels Address to the Leaders (Colonelle, or local superiors)
  • Week 3

    • “Guard them and watch over them as most vigilant shepherds and good servants.”
    • –Counsels Address to the Leaders  (Colonelle, or local superiors)
  • Week 4

    • “Pray God to enlighten you, and direct you, and teach you what you have to do for love of him in this task –and there cannot be another more worthy than to be guardians of the spouses of the Most High.”
    • –Counsels Address to the Leaders  (Colonelle, or local superiors)
  • Week 5

    • “Have hope and firm faith in God, for he will help you in everything. Pray to him, humble yourself under his great power, because, without a doubt, as he has given you this charge, so he will give you also the strength to be able to carry it out.”
    • –Counsels Address to the Leaders (Colonelle, or local superiors)
  • Week 6

    • “Act, move, believe, strive, hope, cry out to him with all your heart,For without doubt you will see marvelous things, if you direct everything to the praise and glory of his Majesty and the good of souls.”
    • –Counsels Address to the Leaders (Colonelle, or local superiors)
  • Week 7

    • “I ask you all, or rather I beg you for love of the Passion of Jesus Christ and of our Lady, that you strive to put into practice these few counsels, which I am leaving you now to carry out after my death.”
    • –Counsels Address to the Leaders (Colonelle, or local superiors)
  • Week 8

    • “For understand that now I am more alive than I was when I lived on earth,
    • And see better and hold more dear   the good things which I see you constantly doing,
    • And now…I want and am able to help you and do you good in every way.”–Counsels Address to the Leaders (Colonelle, or local superiors)
  • Week 9

    • “My daughters and sisters… I remind you to strive, with the help of God, to take hold of and plant within you this right conviction and humble sentiment: do not consider yourselves worthy to be superiors and leaders.”
    • –First Counsel (Humble Service)
  • Week 10

    • “Regard yourselves as ministers and servants, reflecting that you have more need to serve them than they have to be served by you.  God could very well provide for them by other means even better than you.”
    • –First Counsel (Humble Service)
  • Week 11

    • “Learn from our Lord who, while he was in this world, was as a servant, obeying the Eternal Father even unto death.  And this is why he says:  ‘I have been among you not as the one who is served, but as the one who serves’.”
    • –First Counsel (Humble Service)
  • Week 12

    • “St. Gregory, even though he was Pope, still called himself servant of the servants of God.
    • Thus he fulfilled the office of superior and Pope, but in his heart he regarded himself as less than the others, and servant of the servants of God”
    • –First Counsel (Humble Service)
  • Week 13

    • “If you do this, (Serve as Jesus did) then God himself will exalt you as much as you have humbled yourselves.  A true and prudent servant of God humbles himself in his heart… because he hopes and expects from God another delight and truer inner glory and honour.”
    • –First Counsel (Humble Service)
  • Week 14

    • “Be gentle and compassionate towards your dear daughters.  Strive to act solely out of the sole love of God and out of the sole zeal for souls when you admonish and advise them or exhort them to some good and dissuade them from some evil.”
    • –Second Counsel (Kindness/Gentleness)
  • Week 15

    • “You will achieve more with kindness and gentleness than with harshness and sharp rebukes, which should be reserved only for cases of necessity.”
    • –Second Counsel (Kindness/Gentleness)
  • Week 16

    • “Charity, directs everything to the honour of God and the good of souls; charity teaches discretion.  (Charity) moves the heart to be, according to place and time, now gentle and now severe.”
    • –Second Counsel (Kindness/Gentleness)
  • Week 17

    • “If you see another presumptuous… and little fear of anything, into this one instill some fear; remind her of the rigour of the justice of God.”
    • –Second Counsel (Kindness/Gentleness)
  • Week 18

    • “If you see another presumptuous… and little fear of anything, into this one instill some fear; remind her of the rigour of the justice of God.”
    • –Second Counsel (Kindness/Gentleness)
  • Week 19

    • “Remain obedient to the principal mothers whom I leave in my place, since this is just. And what you do, do it as obeying them, and not as following your own judgment. For obeying them, you will be obeying me.”
    • –Third Counsel (Obedience to a Higher Authority)
  • Week 20

    • “Obeying me, you will be obeying Jesus Christ, Who, in his immense goodness, has chosen me to be mother, both alive and dead… even though, for my part, I am most unworthy of it, and having chosen me, he has given me the grace to be able to govern it according to his will.
    • –Third Counsel (Obedience to a Higher Authority)
  • Week 21

    • “Be careful never to complain, or grumble, or speak ill of them (your mothers), whether with others or with your daughters.  Always…preserve the honour…due to your mothers, seeing that if God commands us to honour our natural fathers and mothers, how much more our spiritual (mothers) should be esteemed.”
    • –Third Counsel (Obedience to a Higher Authority)
  • Week 22

    • “You will be careful and vigilant to know and understand the behavior of your daughters, and to be aware of their spiritual and temporal needs.  But if you cannot provide for them yourselves, go to the principal mothers, and quickly, and without any hesitancy explain to them the needs of your lambs.”
    • –Fourth Counsel (Shepherding the Flock)
  • Week 23

    • “(God) he will never fail to provide for their needs, material as well as spiritual, so long as nothing is lacking on your part.  For if God has planted this Company, he will never abandon it,
    • As Scripture says, ‘never have I seen the just abandoned, nor his children go begging’ “
    • –Fourth Counsel (Shepherding the Flock)
  • Week 24

    • “Go often, as you have time… and visit your dear daughters and sisters…see how they are, comfort them; encourage them to stand firm in the life begun.  Invite them to desire the celestial joys and treasures, to long for those joyful and new feasts of heaven, those blessed and everlasting triumphs”.
    • –Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 25

    • “Remind them to behave well in homes (they go to), with good judgment, with prudence and modesty, and to be reserved and moderate in all things.  In speaking, (see) that their words be wise and reserved, not harsh, not rude, but compassionate and leading to concord and charity.”
    • –Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 26

    • “Tell them that, wherever they are, they should give good example.  Be to all a good odour of virtue.  Be obedient and submissive to their superiors.  Seek to spread peace and concord where they are, and above all let them be humble and gentle.”
    • – Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 27

    • “When you visit them (the daughters), I give you this charge…tell them that they should want to be united and in concord together, all being of one will, remaining under obedience to the Rule. They should do honour to Jesus Christ, to whom they have promised their virginity and their very self.”
    • –Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 28

    • “They should place their hope and love in God alone, and not in any living person.
    • Comfort them, encourage them, and let them go forward willingly.  Tell them this good news which I announce to them on behalf of Jesus Christ and our Lady.”
    • –Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 29

    • “How much they have to exult and rejoice, for in heaven a new crown of glory and joy is prepared for all of them, one by one, provided they stand firm and steady in their resolve, and strive to observe the Rule.
    • –Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 30

    • “They should never ever doubt this.  Although at times they will have troubles and anxieties, nevertheless this will soon pass away, and be turned into gladness and joy. Then, the suffering of this world is nothing in comparison with the blessings which are in Paradise.
    • –Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 31

    • “God will provide for them wonderfully. They must not lose hope. Tell them that now I am more alive than I was when they saw me in the flesh, and that now I see them and know them better, and can and want to help them more.”
    • –Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 32

    • “I am continually among them with my Lover, or rather ours, the Lover of us all, provided they believe and do not lose heart and hope.  And so, especially for those you see disconsolate, doubtful and faint-hearted, enlarge the scope of the promises, which will not go unfulfilled.”
    • –Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 33

    • “They should long to see me…in heaven, where our love is.  Let them set their hopes on high.  Let them have Jesus Christ for their only treasure, for there also will be love, which is to be sought not here in this world, but above, in the high heaven at the right hand of the Father.”
    • —Fifth Counsel (Recommendations for the Members)
  • Week 34

    • “As for you, live and behave in such a way that your daughters may see in you a model. And what you want them to do, do it yourselves first.  Act therefore in such a way that, also following your example, they may stir and spur themselves to virtuous living.”
    • –Sixth Counsel (Setting a Good Example)
  • Week 35

    • “How will you reprove or admonish them for some defect if it is still in you?
    • Or counsel them, and urge them to any virtue which you do not first possess, or at least, do not then begin to practice yourselves together with them?”
    • –Sixth Counsel (Setting a Good Example)
  • Week 36

    • “Do, as they do, every act of integrity and virtue appropriate and possible for you, especially with regard to behavior, to going frequently to confession and communion.  For it is right and fitting that the mothers be an example and a mirror for their daughters, especially in modesty, and in behavior.”
    • –Sixth Counsel (Setting a Good Example)
  • Week 37

    • “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. As for the other opinions that are arising now, leave them aside as not concerning you.”
    • –Seventh Counsel (Sensus Ecclesine/The Church)
  • Week 38

    • “Pray, and get others to pray, that God not abandon his Church, but reform it as he pleases, and as he sees best for us, and to his honour and glory. For in these perilous and pestilential times, you will find no other recourse than to take refuge at the feet of Jesus Christ.”
    • –Seventh Counsel (Sensus Ecclesine/The Church)
  • Week 39

    • “Because if he directs and teaches you, you will be (well) taught, as the Prophet also says, that is, ‘blessed is the one whom you, Lord, have taught’.  Therefore humble yourselves under his powerful hand, crying out with the Prophet, and you will be enlightened.”
    • –Seventh Counsel (Sensus Ecclesine/The Church)
  • Week 40

    • “Love your daughters equally; and do not prefer one more than another, because they are all creatures of God.  (You) do not know what he wants to make of them.  How do you know that those who seem to you to be the least…are not to become the most generous and pleasing to his Majesty?”
    • –Eighth Counsel (Love All Equally)
  • Week 41

    • “Who can judge the heart and the innermost secret thoughts of any creature? Hold them all in your love and bear with them all equally, for it is not up to you to judge the handmaids of God; Who (as Scripture says) can turn stones into children of heaven.”
    • –Eighth Counsel (Love All Equally)
  • Week 42

    • “Do your duty, correcting them with love and charity if you see them fall into some fault through human frailty, and thus you will not cease to prune this vine which has been entrusted to you. After that, leave it to God, who will do marvelous things in his own time, and when it pleases him.”
    • –Eighth Counsel (Love All Equally)
  • Week 43

    • “My last word to you, by which I implore you even with my blood, is that you live in harmony, united together, all of one heart and one will.  Be bound to one another by the bond of charity, esteeming each other, helping each other, bearing with each other in Jesus Christ.
    • –Ninth (Last) Counsel
  • Week 44

    • For if you strive to be like this, without any doubt, the Lord God will be in your midst. You will have in your favour our Lady, the apostles, all the saints, the angels, and finally all heaven and all the universe.
    • –Ninth (Last) Counsel
  • Week 45

    • God has so ordained from all eternity, that those who for his honour are united in doing good enjoy every prosperity, and that what they do turns out well, because they have God himself and every one of his creatures in their favour.”
    • –Ninth (Last) Counsel
  • Week 46

    • “See how important is this union and concord.  So, long for it, pursue it, embrace it, and hold on to it with all your strength.  For I tell you, living all together, thus united in heart, you will be like a mighty fortress, or a tower impregnable against all adversities, persecutions, and deceits of the devil.”
    • –Ninth (Last) Counsel
  • Week 47

    • “I assure you that every grace you ask from God will infallibly be granted to you. And I shall always be in your midst, helping your prayers. Therefore encourage them to continue courageously the task they have begun, and at the same time rejoice, because, without doubt, what I say to you will be so.”
    • –Ninth (Last) Counsel
  • Week 48

    • “Not to mention the immense and inestimable grace that my Lover, or rather ours, will grant you at the supreme moment of death.  For in times of great need, true friendship is recognized.  And believe firmly that then, especially, you will recognize me to be your faithful friend.”
    • –Ninth (Last) Counsel
  • Week 49

    • “Now I leave you; be consoled, and have a lively faith and hope. But first I want you to be blessed, in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti (in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit). Amen.”
    • –Ninth (Last) Counsel
  • Week 50

    • “My most loving mothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, strive, with the help of God, to grasp and keep in yourselves such conviction and good sentiment, that you are moved to this care and government solely by the sole love of God, and by the sole zeal for the salvation of souls.”
    • –First Legacy: Twofold Charity
  • Week 51

    • “All your works and actions…being thus rooted in this twofold charity, can bear nothing but good and salutary fruits.  For, as our Saviour says, ‘The good tree, that is, the heart and spirit imbued with charity, can do nothing but good and holy works.’”
    • –First Legacy: Twofold Charity
  • Week 52

    • “Now I am going, and you, in the meantime, do what has to be done. But first I embrace you, and to you all I give the kiss of peace, begging God to bless you. In nomine Patris, et Fillii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.”
    • –Last Legacy: Final farewell