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St. Angela Merici
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Religious Figure
    (March 21, 1474-January 27, 1540)
    Born in Desenzano del Garda, Italy
    Founded the Ursuline Order (1535)
    Canonized by Pope Pius VII (1807)
    She named the Ursulines after a saint who almost certainly never actually existed.
    She is the subject of a dubious (and unsubstantiated) legend that during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, she was struck blind, but continued on, 'seeing' the holy sites with her heart and soul; on the return trip her sight was miraculously restored at the exact same spot where she went blind.
    Her feast day was originally May 31, got bumped to June 1 when May 31 was assigned to a feast day for the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven (1955), then finally was moved to her death date of January 27 (1969).
    Despite founding the first order of teaching nuns, she is not the patron saint of Catholic education, instead St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is.
    She was orphaned when she was ten.
    Even before founding the Ursulines, she had converted her home into a school to provide education for young girls.
    During a trip to Rome (1525), her virtue and industry so impressed Pope Clement VII that he asked her to take charge of an order of nursing nuns. (She declined on the grounds that God had called her to teaching, not nursing.)
    She told her fellow nuns, 'Reflect that in reality you have a greater need to serve the poor than they have of your service.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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