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Reflective Moments with Angela

By Sister Michele Morek

I love the post-Easter readings from the Acts of the Apostles. I can just imagine the disciples discussing with each other what the new church should be like; for example, what Jesus really meant for them to do when he said, “go out to all the world and proclaim the Good News.”

One thing is clear – Jesus wanted them to keep it simple. “My yolk is easy and my burden is light.” He had freed them (and through them, us Gentiles!) from many of the detailed, complicated rules of their Jewish tradition. Basically, all we have to do is love God and other people.

Though Ursuline life traditionally has been associated with a ministry of teaching, we know that came about in our response to historical circumstances. Saint Angela did not say that her followers had to teach. She was simply showing the women of her time a Third Way: how to live a spiritual life in the midst of their life circumstances – not just in marriage or the cloister. She left them free to find their own way to their ministries.

I went back through her writings – her Rule, Counsels, and Testament – looking once again for any clues to the contrary. Here’s what she actually gave us:

  • general spiritual advice and an outline of the life she had in mind.
  • some directions on social deportment.
  • responsibilities to each other and to employers.

But no specifics on ministry! Unless you count a line from the end of her Legacy, written when she was close to death:

“Now I am going, and you in the meantime, do what has to be done.”

How complicated is that?

What do you think it means for you?

 

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