"St. Angela Merici - Leading People to God" Part 3
|In 1525, which the Pope had declared to be a Jubilee year, the city of Rome was fighting both its enemies and the plague. Angela wasn't afraid of these dangers. She decided to make a pilgrimage to Rome. She wanted to receive the special blessings of the Jubilee year given to pilgrims who visited and prayed at the four major basilicas. She wanted to honor the relics of the martyrs and visit their graves down in the catacombs.
|During the two weeks that she spent in Rome, she had a personal visit with the Pope. But when the Pope asked her, "Would you consider staying in Rome to be director of an orphanage?" Angela humbly excused herself. She happily went back to Brescia, because she knew that she had to form her Company soon.
|Another time she obtained a pardon for a servant of Louis Gonzaga, a harsh nobleman. The servant was being very severely punished for something wrong and try to persuade him to be merciful. Her words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, convinced Louis to forgive the man and release him from the punishment. Angela wasn't afraid to go on this difficult mission. And once again, she succeeded.
|But Angela was best at helping other women. They would talk to her about their problems. And she would give them wise advice. In this way she helped bring love and peace to husbands and wives, children and parents, brothers, sisters, and cousins.
|As they talked of the problems facing younger girls, many women urged Angela to do something. "The young women of Brescia are suffering from the dangers that come with living in the middle of violence. Sister Angela, we must do something to help them!"
|Angela welcomed all the women who came to her; the poor as well as the rich. Her gentle words gave them so much light. "Sister Angela, my girl is only interested in clothes and parties…" "Be patient! Tell her Jesus wants to be her best friend."
|一五二九年，碧夏市將要捲入一場戰役，安琪與許多人暫時得到鄰近克里孟那鎮 (Cremona) 避難，當他們在那兒時，她的朋友思定‧迦洛(Augustine Gallo)對於從早到晚穿流不息的人潮來拜訪安琪，而安琪總是和靄相待的情景感到印象深刻。來訪的人有男的有女的，有年輕的也有年老的，還有任職宮廷者，甚至連米蘭公爵都來向安琪請益，尋求慰藉。後來許多人都開始度一個中悅天主的生活。
|Brescia expected to be invited in another war in 1529. Angela and many other people had to escape for a while to the nearby town of Cremona. While they were there, her friend Augustine Gallo was impressed by Angela's kindness toward the amazing number of people who came to visit her from morning till night. Men and women of all ages, members of the court, and even the Duke of Milan, came to Angela for advice and a word of comfort. The result was that many people began to live in ways more pleasing to God.
|What it was peaceful in Brescia again, the refugees went home. Angela accepted an invitation to live with the Gallo family for a while. Then, needing a space to welcome the many people who were coming to her for help, she moved to an apartment near the public fountain, next to Saint Afra's Church.
|Now she was ready to begin the project Gianna Maria had told her about in the vision. She was ready to found her company. Its members would help her to care for young girls in Brescia.
|She would give this Company the name of Saint Ursula, a martyr whose courageous death for her faith in Jesus had inspired many people. In Venice Angela had seen several large paintings of Saint Ursula and her companions.She decided they would be good role models for her Company of young women. They would need the strength of the martyrs' faith as they dedicated themselves completely to Jesus, while continuing to live among the people.
|Like Angela, the members of the Company chose not to marry because they gave their hearts to Jesus. They would try to live according to the Gospel, as Jesus taught his first followers. They would especially try to love everyone.
|Together with Angela they would help young girls to escape the dangers of the streets. With the Company to guide and protect them, many of these girls would learn to believe in themselves. They would begin to lead good lives and find useful work to do.
|Because these women would be the start of something new in the Church, they would need a new Rule of life. Angela dictated the Rule to her lawyer friend Gabriel Cozzano. He wrote it down for her. "Mother Angela, when will your Company officially begin?" Gabriel asked. "On the Feast of St. Catherine, who is one of my favorite saints!"
|On the feast of Saint Catherine, November 25, 1535, twenty-eight women joined to begin the Company of Saint Ursula. After attending Mass together, each one wrote her name in the Book of the Company. This was their promise to live according to the new Rule. The members were called Ursulines. After only four years there were 150 of them!
|They would meet with Angela in her apartment to pray together and share ideas about how to help each other in the life they were leading for God. By their good example, they were an inspiration to other families in Brescia. And soon enough they would help even the Church. Most of the Ursulines had jobs. When they came together for meetings, Angela gave them time to talk about their everyday lives, to pray and to learn. She made sure that they had fun together. They dressed simply, attended daily Mass, and prayed afterward at home.
|Angela trained some of these women as leaders. The leaders would visit each Ursuline at home. They would give her good advice about trying to live like Jesus and would make sure she was all right.
|Angela was getting old and weaker. She became very ill. She spent her last days dictating to her friend Gabriel the holy thoughts and instructions that she wanted to leave the women in charge of the Company.
|She urged them to live in love, united with one heart and will, and to be faithful. She told them, "You must be like loving mothers, caring for your spiritual daughters and teaching them with devotion." She promised them, "God will help you. And I will always be your faithful friend in heaven."
|Angela's last words were, "Now I am leaving you. Be consoled and have a lively faith and hope. But first, I want you to be blessed in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
|在一五四○年，一月 27 日星期二下午三點三十分，安琪蒙主恩召。身上穿著的是咖啡色的長袍，她的遺體被移往聖阿法教堂。教堂上方有顆明星閃爍徘徊了三個晚上，遺體在教堂放了一個月，但絲毫沒有腐敗的跡象，事實上，她的肌膚還是柔軟富有彈性的。有個畫家來為她作幅遺像，這幅畫作呈現出安琪安息主懷的面貌，臉上散發著神聖的光輝。今日安琪的遺體依舊安放在聖阿法教堂，美麗的玻璃棺木就位在祭台上方，人們稱之為聖安琪‧梅芝的祭台。
|At 3:30 P.M. on Tuesday, January 27, 1540, Angela died. Dressed in her brown robe, her body was carried to the Church of Saint Afra. For three nights a brilliant star shone over the church. Her body remained in the church for thirty days, but without any sigh of decay. In fact, her skin stayed soft. An artist came to paint her. His painting shows her in the peaceful sleep of death. Her face seems to glow with holiness. Today her body lies in a beautiful glass case above an altar in Saint Afra's Church - known as the Shrine of Saint Angela Merici.
|After Angela's death, the company of Saint Ursula grew and spread, first throughout Italy, then to every continent. Ursulines have brought the Gospel all over the world. Some of Angela's followers became known as the Order of Saint Ursula.
|Today Ursulines serve in schools, parishes, colleges, hospitals, prisons, and many other places where people need their help. They try to live as Angela did - trusting in God who loves them and looking for ways to serve others.
|Ready to share their talents and their love, they rely on Jesus and remember Angela's promise: "I will always be with you, helping your prayer and your work."