St Angela Merici
Celebrated on January 27th
Founder of the Ursuline nuns. St Angela was born in 1474, at Desenzano on the shores of Lake Garda near Verona in Italy. Her parents died when she was very young. She became a Franciscan tertiary with several friends, and they devoted themselves to teaching poor children. In 1535 they dedicated themselves to this work under the patronage of St Ursula, although they took no vows and wore lay clothes.
The sisterhood was finally organised after Angela's death in 1565. The church authorities had not been prepared to approve the order during her lifetime.
Angela's idea of unenclosed and mobile religious sisters was revolutionary for its time. Her congregation grew to become the largest women's' teaching order in the church. She was canonised in 1807.