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Ezio Bolis

This contribution sheds light on the main aspects of women's religious life at the time of the Council of Trent and during its implementation. After referring to some elements of monastic institutions before the Council and showing the provisions adopted by the Council for the reform of women's religious life, we focus on the spiritual practices followed by nuns, on the sources of their formation, on the models of holiness proposed for them, on the practices and the means used to reach their ideals, on their community life, on the virtues which sum up their ascetical development, and on their relationship with the Church and with the world. A fascinating portrait ensues, which demolishes the prevailing stereotype, according to which the nun was a woman trapped between the despotism of oppressive family choices and the tepidity of empty Christian practices, dominated by formalism and superstition.

27 giugno 2014   0


Gabrielle Noel, o.s.u

Mary of the Incarnation inherited Saint Angela’s charisms without being aware of it, perhaps, but she would live according to the plan God had for her, linked to Saint Angela’s spirituality. When we compare Saint Angela’s prayer and Blessed Mary of the Incarnation’s we notice that the same spirit gave life to these two women. Then we can find great humility, a deference and admiration for the “great God” which expresses itself in deep worship and a strong desire to work for the coming of God’s kingdom.
Saint Angela introduced a new form of religious life into the world (the Ursuline Order) and Mary of the Incarnation, an Ursuline, became the first female religious missionary in America, a hundred years later. Some wonderful mystic graces follow in the way of these two “Brides” of God. Their sure confidence in God and their devotion to the kingdom of God follow similar paths.
Mary of the Incarnation’s work began in Québec and developed in many regions in Canada and in Japan, in the Philippines and in Peru. As for their charisms, Saint Angela’s sacred virginity and her desire for the development of God’s kingdom, operate all over the world. This development is an answer to Mary of the Incarnation’s apostolic prayer, which expresses itself in this way: “I travel round the world in spirit to look for the souls redeemed by the very Precious Blood of my divine Bridegroom”.
This meeting arranged in Brescia, which celebrates the two hundredth anniversary of Saint Angela’s canonization, is the evidence of that.

31 maggio 2014   0


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

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   0