St. Angela Merici founded the Company of St. Ursula (also known as the Ursuline Order) 482 years ago in 1535. Its members would live for God, on the job or in family life. In sixteenth-century Italy, where women’s choices were marriage or religious life, Angela developed an unheard-of alternative: consecration to God for single women “in the world”. St. Angela founded the order at age 65. St. Angela’s goal was to elevate family life through Christian education for women who were the future wives and mothers. The community she founded was different than many of the religious orders of women which existed in her day. She believed it was important to teach the girls in their own homes with their own families. One of her favorite sayings was, “Disorder in society is the result of disorder in the family.”
St. Angela is the patron saint of the sick, disabled and physically challenged people and those grieving the loss of parents. She was born on March 21, 1474 and died on January 27, 1540. She was beatified on April 30, 1768 and canonized on May 24, 1807.