Author Topic: St. Angela de Merci  (Read 487 times)

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Offline Binechi

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St. Angela de Merci
« on: June 01, 2017, 06:00:23 AM »
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  • Saint Angela de Merici, Virgin
    Educator of Young Girls
     (by Fr. Prosper Gueranger 1870)

    This last day of May, which is honoured by the virginal triumph of Aurelia Petronilla, in the first Age of the Church, is also fragrant with the lilies that wreathe the brow of Angela de Merici. The 16th Century, which, a few days back, offered to our Risen Lord the seraphic Magdalene de Pazzi, now presents him with this second fruit of heroic Sanctity. Angela realized the whole meaning of her beautiful name. In a mortal body, she possessed the purity of the blessed Spirits, and imitated their celestial energy by the vigorous practice of every virtue. This heroine of grace trampled beneath her feet everything that could impede her heavenward march. Gifted at an early age, with the highest contemplation, she bravely travelled to Palestine, there to venerate the footsteps of her Divine Spouse Jesus. After this, she visited the new Jerusalem, Rome, and offered up her fervent prayers at the Confession of Saint Peter. She then entered into her rest, and founded a Religious Order, which is, and will be to the end of time, one of the glories and aids of Holy Church.

    The thought of the great St. Ursula and her virginal Legion made a deep impression on Angela's soul, and she, too, would form to our Lord an army of valiant women. Ursula confronted the barbarian host; Angela would give battle to the world and to its seductions, which are so dangerous to young girls. God blessed her with victory. As a trophy of her combats, she can point to the countless generations of young people, whom her Order has saved during the last three Centuries, by giving them a solid Christian education.

    The Liturgy thus speaks of the virtues and actions of St. Angela.

    Angela de Merici was born of virtuous parents at Decenzano, a town in the diocese of Verona, near lake Benago, in the Venetian territory. From her earliest years, she kept the strictest guard over the lily of her virginity, which she had resolved should never be taken from her. She had a thorough contempt for those outward deckings on which so many women set their hearts. She purposely disfigured the beauty of her features and hair, that she might find no favour save with the Spouse of our souls. Whilst yet in the bloom of youth, she lost her parents ; whereupon, she sought to retire into a desert, that she might lead a life of penance ; but being prevented by an uncle, she fulfilled at home what she was not permitted to do in a wilderness. She frequently wore a hairshirt, and took the discipline. She never eat flesh-meat, except in case of sickness ; she never tasted wine, except on the feasts of our Lord's Nativity and Resurrection ; and, at times, would pass whole days without taking any food.

    She spent much time in prayer, and exceedingly little in sleep, and that little on the ground. The devil having once appeared to her in the form of an angel of light, she at once detected his craft, and put him to flight. At length, having resigned her right to the fortune left her by her parents, she embraced the rule of the Third Order of St. Francis, received the habit, and united evangelical poverty to the merit of virginity.

    She showed her neighbour every kind office in her power; and gave to the poor a portion of her own food, which she procured by begging. She gladly served the sick. She gained the reputation of great sanctity in several places, which she visited either that she might comfort the afflicted, or obtain pardon for criminals, or reconcile them that were at variance, or reclaim sinners from the sink of crime. She had a singular hungering after the Bread of Angels, which she frequently received; and such was the vehemence of her love of God, that she was often in a state of ecstacy. She visited the Holy Places of Palestine with extraordinary devotion. During her pilgrimage, she lost her sight on landing on the isle of Candia, but recovered it when leaving. She also miraculously escaped shipwreck and falling into the hands of barbarians. She went to Rome, during the Pontificate of Pope Clement the Seventh, in order to venerate the firm Rock of the Church and to gain the great Jubilee Indulgence. The Pope having had an interview with her, he at once discovered her sanctity and spoke of her to others in terms of highest praise: nor would he have allowed her to leave the City, had he not been convinced that heaven called her elsewhere.

    Having returned to Brescia, she took a house near the Church of Saint Afra. There, by God's command, which was made known to her by a voice from heaven and by a vision, she instituted a new society of Virgins under a special discipline, and holy rules, which she herself drew up. She put her Institute under the title and patronage of Saint Ursula, the brave leader of the army of virgins: she also foretold, shortly before her death, that this Institute would last to the end of the world. At length, being close upon seventy years of age, laden with merit, she took her flight to heaven, and in the year 1540, on the sixth of the Calends of February (January 27). Her corpse was kept thirty days before being put in the grave, and preserved the flexibility and appearance of a living body. It was laid in the Church of Saint Afra, amidst the many other Relics wherewith that Church is enriched. Many miracles were wrought at her tomb. The rumour of these miracles spread not only through Brescia and Decenzano, but also in other places. The name of Blessed was soon given to Angela, and her image used to be put on the Altars. St. Charles Borromeo, a few years after Angela's death, affirmed, whilst preaching at Brescia, that she was worthy of Canonization. Clement the Thirteenth ratified and confirmed the devotion thus paid her by the Faithful, which had already received the approbation of several Bishops, and the encouragement of several Indults of Sovereign Pontiffs. Finally, after several new miracles had been juridically proved, Pius the Seventh enroled Angela in the list of holy Virgins, in the solemn Canonization celebrated in the Vatican Basilica, on the 24th of May, in the year 1807.


    Thou foughtest the battles of our Lord, O Angela, and thy holy labours merited for thee a glorious rest in the mansions of eternal bliss. An insatiable zeal for the honour of the Jesus Whom thou hadst chosen as thy Spouse, and an ardent charity for the creatures redeemed by His precious Blood, these were the characteristics of thy whole life. This love of thy neighbour made thee the Mother of a countless progeny; for who can number the young children that have been educated, in sound doctrine and piety, by thy Daughters? Thou didst powerfully contribute to the welfare of Christian Society, by thus preparing so many for the duties of domestic life; and how many other Congregations, in imitation of thy Ursulines, have taken up the same admirable work, and have brought consolation to the Church, and happiness to the world? The Sovereign Pontiff (Pius IX) has recently ordered that thy Feast should be kept throughout the whole Church. He declared, in issuing this Decree, that he wished to put under thy maternal protection the young girls who are now-a-days exposed to such fearful dangers by the enemies of Christ and his Church. They have formed the project of undermining the faith of women, that so their good influence may be destroyed in their families. Disconcert these impious plans, O Angela! Protect thy sex; nourish within it the sentiment of the dignity of Christian Woman, and Society may still be saved.

    We address ourselves to thee, O Spouse of Christ, that thou wouldst aid us to fervour in the Liturgical Year, wherein we are made to follow in the path that was so dear to thee. Thy devotion in following the Divine Mysteries, which are successively brought before us, led thee to visit the Holy Land. Thou longedst to see Nazareth and Bethlehem, to traverse Galilee and Judea, to give thanks in the Cenacle, to weep on Calvary, and to adore the glorious Sepulchre. Deign to bless our feeble desires and efforts to tread in these same holy paths. We have still to follow thee to Mount Olivet, whence our Redeemer ascended into heaven; we have to return to the Cenacle, which the Holy Ghost is preparing to light up with his Divine Fire. Obtain for us, O Angela, that we may follow thee to these hallowed spots, which made thee quit thy country and undertake a long and perilous pilgrimage. Oh ! prepare our hearts for the sublime Mysteries which are to crown our Paschal Season!


    Litany of Saint Angela Merici

    Lord, have mercy on us.
     Christ, have mercy on us.
     Christ, hear us.
     Christ, graciously hear us.

     God the Father of heaven,
     Have mercy on us.
     God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
     Have mercy on us.
     God the Holy Spirit,
     Have mercy on us.
     Holy Trinity, one God,
     Have mercy on us.

     Holy Mary, Mother of God, and faithful Guardian of our Mother Saint Angela,
    Pray for us.*

    Saint Angela Merici,*

     St. Angela, favored with the choicest gifts of God from thy infancy, *

     St. Angela, who didst give thyself to the practice of all the virtues from thy tenderest years, *

     St. Angela, who didst always preserve a spotless purity, *

     St. Angela, who by thy love for holy purity, didst merit to receive thy name, *

     St. Angela, who from childhood found thy delight in solitude, *

     St. Angela, who led an angelic life in the house of thy parents, *

     St. Angela, who didst daily bear on thy body the mortification of Jesus, *

     St. Angela, whose gift it was to reconcile the bitterest enemies, *

     St. Angela, who at thirteen become a Tertiary of St. Francis and ever remained faithful, *

     St. Angela, gifted with the graces of prayer and contemplation, *

     St. Angela, who visited the Holy Land, and there followed the bloody footprints of Jesus, *

     St. Angela, who triumphed over the illusions of the devil, *

     St. Angela, who wast not afflicted at the loss of thy sight in visiting the holy places, *

     St. Angeles, whose sight was miraculously restored in the Island of Candia, *

     St. Angela, whom the love of God had wounded and whom this same love cured, *

     St. Angela, model of perfect self-denial and true humility, *

     St. Angela, who, like Jacob, wast permitted to see the mysterious ladder, *

     St. Angela, chosen by God to be the mother of many holy virgins, *

     St. Angela, Foundress of the illustrious Order of the Ursulines, *

     St. Angela, to whom God promised that this Order should always subsist, *

     St. Angela, who, filled with joy, didst give up thy soul in the embrace of the Lord, *

     St. Angela, whose body remained incorruptible after death, *

     St. Angela, Patroness of Christian mothers, *

     St. Angela, Protectress of young girls, *

     St. Angela, our Mother and Advocate, *

    Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
     Spare us, O Lord.
     Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
     Hear us, O Lord.
     Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world:
     Have mercy on us.

     V. Pray for us, O glorious Mother Saint Angela:
     R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

     Let us pray:

    O God, Who by means of our blessed Mother Saint Angela didst cause a new Order of holy virgins to flourish in Thy Church: grant, through her intercession, that we may imitate her angelic virtues, and, forsaking all earthly things, may be found worthy of eternal bliss. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.


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