Reflective Moments with Angela for May 2024

By Sister Michele Morek

She reunited families, facilitated relationships, was a model matriarch and source of strength for women, and is a powerful figure of knowledge and wisdom. Did you think I was talking about Saint Angela Merici?

You could be forgiven for thinking that unless I added a little more information: She also participated in creation by weaving a map of the universe; she brought fire to the early human beings in a little pot of silk, and taught Navajo Native Americans how to spread the “Beauty Way” of balance of mind, body, and soul.

I am, of course, talking of Grandmother Spider Woman.

I don’t think Angela would be insulted by being compared to this Navajo Holy One. Indeed, Angela was attracted to stories of the saints, according to her friends. She

… would tell Antonio Romano that when she was a little girl of five, she used to listen to her father reading ‘spiritual books about saints and virgins’ and that she had then begun to lead a spiritual life of contemplation and penance …

The evidence of Antonio Romano and Agostino Gallo is more than enough to establish a close link between the readings that Angela heard from her father and the urge she felt to ‘devote herself to a spiritual and contemplative life.’

(Mariani, Tarolli, and Seynaeve: Angela Merici: Contribution towards a Biography)

So, when I was a little girl of 5 myself, I had not yet met Saint Angela, but I certainly had been told tales of Spider Woman.

I am sure Angela would urge us to admire and imitate the holy ones in our own lives, in whatever form they appear to us! And to focus on their good qualities and not their darker sides – Navajo parents reveal that Grandmother Spider also captures naughty Navajo children and takes them up to the top of Spider Rock (in Canyon De Chelly, Arizona). Alas, if you click here you can see their white bones on top. Nonetheless, Spider Rock is a sacred place of pilgrimage for the Navajo, and one of my favorite places.

Who are some of your models of “holy ones” in your own life? Are they perfect? Bring them to mind with gratitude and forgiveness.


  1. Cecelia (Sister C.J.) Olinger

    Thank you for this beautiful reflection! Yes, your first paragraph DID make me think of Saint Angela, but knowing you, I suspected you had a different woman in mind! I HEARD about Canyon de Chelly from Sister Mary Nichols before I SAW it, and was blessed to see it several times during my NM days. I’ll certainly be thinking of models of holiness in my own life these next few days.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *