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Periodical
17th and 18th Century Developments of Ursuline Life in France and the Spanish Netherlands
MArie Seynaeve o.s.u.

Groups stemming from Angela Merici’s foundation showed a startling and epic development during the 17th and 18th century.


Fotografia

 

In 150 years, more than 400 Ursuline houses were established in France, the Spanish Netherlands and Eastern Europe. The reasons for this development are mainly found firstly in the Church’s involvement in a vast movement of Counter-Reform, and secondly in Angela’s example of faith and her particular interest in women’s role. Faced with the challenge of deep religious ignorance and the needs of the poor, women spontaneously joined different groups of Ursulines known for their deep faith. Angela’s Rule, especially according to the Ferrara edition (in France) and the one in Milan (in the Spanish Netherlands), was chosen by these Ursuline groups, who devoted themselves at first to religious instruction, and then to specific education of children and young girls.
They began under a secular form; then followed a parallel development of companies and monasteries characterized by universal devotion to Saint Angela, and finally their transformation into a monastic order. Their Bulls and Constitutions ensured the apostolic commitments within the monasteries, especially through the education of young girls. Most of the time, the convents underwent real poverty in the beginning but developed in a similar manner: First the immediate opening of a day school for poor children, followed by an institute for girls of higher social rank. These institutes afforded financial support for the day schools, which often gathered two or three hundred children.
In France, the Ursulines generally followed the Rules of Paris, Lyons and Bordeaux, while the other countries universally adopted the Rule of Bordeaux. Some of these monasteries, like the one in Mons, Vienna, and Bratislava were particularly dynamic in fostering new foundations.

24 marzo 2014



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