|Statue of St. Angela Merici|
in Desenzano, Italy
Photo by Luigi Chiesa
Angela Merici became a Franciscan because of her love for God. In 1524, she took a trip to the Holy Land because she wanted to be where Jesus had been while He was on earth. On the way, she suddenly became blind. She didn’t let that stop her from making the trip. She decide to “see” the Holy Land with her heart. On the way back, Angela was cured while praying in front of a crucifix. This taught her to see what God wanted her to see. So when Pope Clement VII asked her to lead an order of nursing sisters, she told him quite confidently that what God wanted her to do instead was provide poor girls with an education at a time when education was only for the rich.
Saint Angela Merici was one of the first people who wanted poor people to get a good education. That might sound strange today, particularly in the U.S. and other countries where there is free public education, but it was a new idea when she was alive. This week is Catholic Schools Week in the U.S. Make a donation to your parish school’s scholarship fund to help a poor family give their child a Catholic education. Any amount will help. (If your parish does not have a school, contact your diocese to find one in an area where they may be people in need).