St. AngelaLet them have Jesus astheir only treasure
4th Year Students 2011/12 Lauren Cottrell Nicole Atkins Rachel Moore Niamh Dunphy Sharon Chandrakanth Ciara Dunphy Maiya Liepina Sheena Kelly Grace Hogan Vici Mataja
The Ursuline MissionThe Ursuline School is aCatholic school dedicatedto the intellectual, spiritual,and moral development ofyoung women.
St Ursula October 21 is the Feast of St. Ursula. It is a day celebrated by Ursulines throughout the world. St Ursula was the daughter of a 5th Century Christian King in Britain. Ursula was a spiritual girl and at an early age had dedicated herself to God and had decided to remain a virgin because of her love of Christ.Angela Merici was acquainted with the veneration of St Ursulafrom her childhood. She chose her as the patron of hercommunity St. Ursula, in whose protection young people trusted. .
Angela was born to a farming family on the shores of LakeGarda in Italy in 1474. She received no formal education buther father would read daily from the book “The Lives of theSaints” and she was encouraged by her parents to developher prayer life.It was during her teenage years that she suffered the death ofboth her parents and her sister to whom she was very close.Following this double loss in her young life Angela prayeddaily for a sign that her sister was in heaven. Sitting in the fieldsone day during harvest time Angela experienced a vision inwhich,„‟My sister stood before me and said to methat God wanted to make use of me tofound a company of consecrated virgins „‟
The DreamHer dream was born. She realised God had called her to something new; something special; something full of hope, something that was filled with potential to bring change to the world;Angela moved on in her life leaving behind Lake Garda, took up her pilgrim staff and walked many rocky roads in Italy, across continents to visit the Holy Land. She truly was a woman on a journey in her life seeking and searching Gods will for her.
Angela realised how much the people needed help, comfort and education. She did all she could in good works. When she moved to Brescia she continued to give advice to those who came to her. Some people also converted under her influence. Although aware of the luxurious way of life of Renaissance nobility, Angela was drawn to a religious style of life and became a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis (a Tertiary). This organisation gave lay people an opportunity to dedicate themselves to service in the church.
She had the opportunity to commit herlife to the Rule of the Third Order and thecertain patterns of prayer, to receiveCommunion-a privilege not usuallygranted to the laity. Even when she had founded her owncommunity Angela called herself „‟SuorAngela, Tertiaria‟‟. In 1516, when she was about 40 yearsold, Angela travelled to Brescia. Withinonly a few years a group of young menand women had gathered aroundAngela as their spiritual centre.
CommunityThe community was officially established on November 25th,1535. Each of the twenty eight companions wrote her name in the Book of The Company. From then on they were known as „‟The Company of St Ursula‟‟.
Angela spent long hours alone in prayerful union with Jesus, her Amatore, her Beloved.Gradually, however, Gods will became clearer to Angela. Mindful of a vision she had had in her youth, she knew that God was asking her to establish a new kind of religious life for women who did not want to live a cloistered life in a convent.
With the „‟Company of Saint Ursula,‟‟ Angela had created a religious community of women which was fundamentally different in its self- concept from other orders existing then, e.g., Benedictines or Poor Clares. The basis for this was the spirituality which she explained in her writings-the Rule, Counsels and Legacy. Angela combined open-mindedness and religious commitment in a way which had hardly been possible for woman until that time.Unlike other nuns of that period, the first Ursulines did not live cut off from the world. Instead, they remained integrated in their families or stayed at their workplaces.
Let Them Have Jesus As Their Only TreasureThe basic motivation of Angela‟s whole life was her personal relationship with God, especially her deep relationship with Christ, in whom she found the life-shaping energy for her sisters. „‟Let them have Jesus Christ as their only treasure‟‟, she says in her fifth Counsel.In her biblical image of being a „‟bride‟‟, Angela expresses the great dignity bestowed upon each individual. In community with one another, she sees mutual love and high esteem as the symbol of community with Jesus Christ will be in your midst‟‟.As a final legacy she leaves her sisters with the urging that their first refuge must always be „‟to gather at the feet of Jesus Christ, and there, all for you, with all your daughters, to offer most fervent prayers. For in this way, without doubt Jesus Christ will be in your midst, and as a true and good master, he will enlighten and teach you what you have to do...‟
As true sisters of a religious order, the members of the community lived according to the Evangelical Counsels.Angela refers above all “poverty of spirit..in God one has all wealth”She urges obedience to God‟s Commandments first, and then to what “Mother Church commands”, and finally to individual spiritual and secular authorities.“Above all, obey the counsels and inspirations which the Holy Spirit sends into the heart”, she advises.
Ursulines in WalesWales was the practical implementation of Ursuline co-operation when sisters from Thurles, Blackrock, Sligo andWaterford came together to establish the Thurlesfoundation in Brecon – an unofficial, albeit temporaryamalgamation in 1948. It indicated the oneness or theIrish Ursuline spirit and lifestyle as practise in the fourdifferent autonomous houses.The ministry expanded to Cardigan where a house wasopened in the parish.Today Sisters continue in both areas in parish anddiocesan ministry.
Currently there are Ursuline Sisters in the environmentally harsh Kitui and Turkana Districts, all Kenyan except for a single Irish nun, Sister Clare Tobin. Today, more than fifty years on, the Ursuline built institutions are run by Kenyans, with this lone Irish sister in a supporting role. In their ministries the Sisters target the marginalised: the poor, the orphaned, women, HIV/AIDS victims and people with other illnesses.In Kitui, about 200 kilometres by road east of Nairobi, Ursuline Sisters continue to improve the lives of local people. They started Saint Angela‟s school in 1958, today it has 600 pupils. Ursuline Nursing Sisters work in the District Hospital. Saint Columba‟s Vocational Centre and polytechnic school, was set up 30 years ago by the Ursuline Sisters and continues to be run by them today.
Wherever possible the Centre tries to be self sustaining. Surplus vegetables, milk and eggs produced as part of the Agri- Business course and not consumed by the students and staff are sold to generate money for the Centre. Products made in the Fashion and Design course are also sold. More classrooms are needed for the Centre as the demand for its services is growing.In Kitale, about 300 kilometres north of Nairobi, Ursuline Sisters set up and run Saint Ursula‟s Pre School and Saint Ursula‟s Primary School, both very well regarded. Saint Ursula‟s Dispensary, caters for the needs of the schools in the area, and of the local community. Ursuline Sisters work there. The dispensary runs health clinics for mothers and small children once a week. In addition, routine ailments, and endemic illnesses, like malaria, are dealt with.
In the very harsh Turkana District 600 kilometers north of Nairobi, Ursuline Sisters run a very busy Dispensary with outreach clinics as far away as 70 kilometres. The Dispensary caters for about 100 patients each day and also has a laboratory where tests for Malaria, HIV etc. are carried out and treatment given immediately.Ursuline Sisters run a 400 strong girls‟ boarding school, Turkana Girls Secondary School. It is one of the top schools in the North Rift region of Kenya. Father Tony Barrett was one of the founders and has given it great support over the years.
Angela is a woman whose message is as relevant today as it was in 1535 when Angela invited women to;Do somethingGet movingBe confidentRisk new thingsStick with itGet on your kneesBe ready for big surprises
‘’ Non sibi sed cunctis’’‘’Not for self but for all’’