Posted by: fvbcdm | January 27, 2012

Feast of Saint Angela Merici (27 Jan 2012)

This Friday, January 27th, the Church commemorates Saint Angela Merici, a lady from the north Italian lake country who in the year 1516 founded a group of teaching Sisters whom she called the Ursulines, in honor of a special favorite saint of hers, Saint Ursula. A little more than one hundred years later, the Ursulines of Europe sent a group of their Sisters to begin the religious instruction of the girls in the city of Quebec on the Saint Lawrence River in what is now Canada. They have been there ever since: from the year 1639 to the present: 373 years.  Then, when the French government was asked to send women to educate the girls of the brand new settlement of New Orleans near the mouth of the Mississippi River, Ursuline Sisters were sent there, too. That was in 1727, 285 years ago.  The Ursulines are still in Quebec and still in New Orleans.  Their history in North America is one of the most glorious parts of the long saga of Catholicism and of education in the United States and Canada.   

As we read the gospel of today’s Mass in honor of Saint Angela, I was struck by the importance of the words of Our Lord.  On one occasion, the apostles asked Jesus who among them was the most important—a question that indicates their pride and lack of understanding of the mentality of Our Lord.  Saint Mark tells us that Jesus took a small child, placed him in their midst and said to them, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this for my sake welcomes me.  And whoever welcomes me welcomes not me, but him to sent me.”  This is a beautiful statement of Our Lord’s thoughts about those who are good to children.  And certainly true religious education is one of the highest forms of goodness to little ones.  It introduces him to them, and them to him.  So today we celebrate Saint Angela, the foundress of the Ursulines, and we also celebrate the 658 years of their goodness to the women of North America.  And that doesn’t include their teaching in Galveston and in Dallas and maybe other Ursuline schools in Canada or this country of which I’m not even aware.  These years of teaching are treasures in heaven which have been laid up, and for which Saint Angela certainly gets some of the credit and merit.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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