The Legend of St Ursula goes back to the 4th century AD and tells of a great woman of courage who was martyred at Cologne, where the Church of Saint Ursula now stands. While there is scant historical evidence relating to St Ursula, her devotion has left rich historical traces.
As early as the ninth and tenth centuries, devotion had spread from Cologne to Spain, Italy, Denmark, Poland and other European countries. The great popularity of Ursula as a patron and helper in various predicaments finds expression in abundant artistic representations through Europe.
Ursula is usually pictured wearing a crown and carrying an arrow and a palm branch, symbolic respectively of royalty, martyrdom and victory. Devout trust in St Ursula help find expression in the figure of Ursula wearing a protection cloak. Represented as an oversized leader-figure, the saint takes her companions under her cloak offering them protection and security.
Angela Merici was acquainted with the devotion to St Ursula from her childhood onward. And so St Ursula, in whose protection young people especially trusted, was chosen as the patron of Angela's community. From 1535 to the present, Ursulines throughout the world have endeavoured to live by the charism of Angela Merici - a woman of the Late Renaissance born in Brescia.
Angela believed through the formation of women a change in society would be possible. Formation would lead to transformation and through this process women would be agents of change in society.
Angela's ideas are still making a unique contribution to educational thought and philosophy. They stress the significance and uniqueness of the individual, the importance of the teacher-pupil relationship, and challenge us to work together in the mission of proclaiming the Gospel today.
Please click on the following link to view the Australian Ursulines website.
Please click on the following link to view the website of the Roman Union of Ursuline Nuns. The Australian Ursulines belong to this union.