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St. Angela Merici - Founder of the Ursulines

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Ave Maria Hour Radio Show

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Rebroadcast of the long-running radio program, "The Ave Maria Hour," a presentation of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. www.AtonementFriars.org

St. Angela Merici was born on March 21, 1474 in Desenzano, Italy. At just 10-years-old, Angela and her older sister were orphaned and went to live with their uncle in Saló. There they led a quiet and devout Catholic Christian life. After the untimely death of her sister, Angela was saddened by the fact that she had not had the opportunity to receive her last Sacraments and was concerned for her sister's eternal salvation. Angela was inspired by the Holy Spirit to dedicate herself to the Lord and to give her life in service to the Church to help everyone grow closer to the Lord. In a vision, Angela saw her sister in the company of the saints in Heaven. She became increasingly more devout and joined the secular Third Order of St. Francis.

When Angela was 20-years-old, she returned to her hometown of Desenzano. She found there were many young girls who had no education at all, and her heart was moved to find a way to help them. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Angela founded the Ursulines, a religious community of women with a teaching ministry. The Ursulines opened schools and orphanages and in 1537, Angela was elected "Mother and Mistress" of the group.

St. Angela Merici died on January 27, 1540 and was canonized on May 24, 1807 by Pope Pius VII. Her feast day is celebrated on January 27.