foundress of the Ursuline nuns. Born at Desenzano (near Lake Garda), she was orphaned in early life, but became a Franciscan tertiary and devoted herself with several companions to the education of poor girls. In 1535 they dedicated themselves to this work under the patronage of Ursula, but they took no vows and wore lay clothes. The formal organization of this sisterhood into a Congregation came only in 1565, as the Church authorities were not prepared to approve, until then, Angela's novel concept of unenclosed and mobile religious sisters. Her Congregation flourishes today; it has been well described as ‘the oldest and most considerable teaching order of women in the R.C. Church’. Angela was canonized in 1807. Feast: 27 January.
Lives by V. Postel (1878) and G. Bertolletti (1923); see also Sister M. Monica, Angela Merici and her Teaching Idea (1927) and P. Caraman, St Angela (1963).
Subjects: Christianity — Early Modern History (1500 to 1700).