logo 480thAfter its foundation in 1535, the young Company of St. Ursula grew exponentially. Members shed the light of faith, hope and love in their families, workplaces and local communities. Formal approval was granted by the Church in 1536 (diocesan) and 1546 (papal).

Angela Merici’s death in 1540 left the Ursulines vulnerable. A patriarchal culture rejected the idea of independent women. Unsure of how to respond, the Company divided in 1545 and reunited in 1569. Reinvigorated, they continued their witness in their secular surroundings, while also meeting an emerging need of the Church: religious education for girls and women, offered in parishes on Sundays.

In city after city, Companies arose. Companies in France were reshaped in the 1600s into the monastic Order of St. Ursula, which developed schools for girls and spread worldwide.

In Italy the Companies flourished until Napoleon invaded and suppressed many religious groups in 1810. Elisabetta and Maddalena Girelli reconstituted the Company in Brescia in 1866. Once again, Companies spread throughout Italy and Europe and, in the last sixty years, much farther.

An international federation has linked the Companies as the Secular Institute of St. Angela Merici since 1958.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Remain in me and I in you and you will bear much fruit…
John 15:5

Be bound to one another by the bond of charity, esteeming each other, helping each other, bearing with each other in Jesus Christ.
Angela Merici

I shall always be in your midst, helping your prayers.
Angela Merici