During the month of January, all around the world, Ursuline Sisters and friends of Angela Merici join together for a global “fiesta”. We really have no other choice, since in her writings, Angela insists that her daughters come together as often as possible to celebrate and cheer one another on.. to comfort…to console.. to strengthen…to inspire.. to offer each other hope!
The feast day of St. Angela on January 27th is a yearly invitation for us to celebrate a woman for all times – a woman ahead of her times. Within the unfolding of Church history, Angela is recognized as an Evolutionary. In her time she broke through the entrenched patterns of her age to instigate a new form of spiritual identity for women. At a time when options for women were either marriage or the cloister, Angela, supported by like minded women created an alternative. The women who gathered with Angela, discerned the need to establish themselves as consecrated and living within society having no solemn vows, habit or enclosure. These women fortified their commitments by uniting from time to time for prayer, instruction and celebration. These first Ursuline women experienced both a deep autonomy of spirit and community life – a model which opened up ministries of social accompaniment never before possible within the realm of cloister restrictions.
As I celebrate our community Feast Day, I celebrate the gift of our Ursuline charism to the church and the world which continues to have impact through the development of women’s circles — making visible and nurturing the life experience of women. While it is important to acknowledge the breakthroughs that are happening to support the elevation of women’s status in society, the work continues for those women who are on the margins. My ministry with immigrants who are in Canada as new comers, refugees or migrant workers is where I connect most deeply with Angela’s call to cultivate life giving spaces. Especially in my encounters with women working on Canadian farms through temporary contracts. I feel Angela’s loving encouragement to challenge the systems that keep the women’s contributions hidden and undervalued.
St. Angela Merici ~ Pray for Us!
Pictures and article by: Noreen Allossery-Walsh, OSU
Thank you Angela for being my inspiration, as I follow your legacy to stand for the dignity of women. Thank you for the courage, fidelity to Spirit, beauty and wisdom which you call forth in your daughters!