Angela Merici was born during the Renaissance (about 1474) in Italy. Captivated by Christ's love, generously open to the needs of others and a woman of prayer, she was sensitive to the critical social and spiritual needs of her times. She and her first companions consecrated themselves and their entire lives to God and his work. Angela's writings have given us the heritage of profoundly Christian principles of education that has been developed and enriched in Ursuline schools worldwide for the past four centuries and continues to be the living tradition of this richly endowed educational network. The foundresses, Ursuline Sisters, who have poured their energies and expertise into developing Brescia House School, shared and continue to share with Ursuline Sisters and with their lay co-workers here and throughout the world, the conviction that the educational vision of Angela Merici is an inspiring heritage, a living and proven model that answers the deepest needs of our times.
Three characteristics of Angela's thinking stand out for us in her writings:
Strength in Unity,
Relationships based on Love and Charity.To Angela, caring means a lively desire and pro-active self-commitment to see each person, even the apparently unpromising, blossom and be fulfilled according to her calling in every dimension of her being. This implies nurturing each person through the phases of growth, guiding her heart to focus on essentials so that she may become, in all her unique beauty, an independent human being capable of love and of openness to others and with the will to promote selflessly justice, peace and harmony in today's world.
St Angela prized above all relationships based on love and charity, on this she wrote:
You will achieve more with kindness and gentleness than with harshness and sharp rebukes. Charity, which directs everything to the honour of God and the good of souls, teaches discretion. The model of genuine love and charity, as of authentic caring for others and of unity of heart and will, is drawn from God himself who loved us all first.
Unity manifests itself in the quality of the network of colleagueship we form with one another, in our manner of relating to one another in everyday living, in maintaining occasions for rejoicing and celebrating together. Prayer and worship together lie at the heart of genuine unity. This unity and harmony is not focused inward in any exclusive way but, on the contrary, creates the strength to reach out to the people of our area and beyond, especially the materially poor and those in any way needy and underprivileged, including all in a broad vision of and commitment to the common good.