Ursulines: Wikis

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Saint Ursula, painted by
Benozzo Gozzoli, c. 1455-1460.

The Ursulines are a Roman Catholic religious order founded at Brescia, Italy, by Saint Angela de Merici in November 1535, primarily for the education of girls and the care of the sick and needy. Their patron saint is Saint Ursula.

Contents

History

St Angela de Merici spent 17 years leading a group of women known as the "Company of St. Ursula," who regularly met for conferences and devotional practices but did not live together. They were recognized in 1544 by Pope Paul III. In 1572, Pope Gregory XIII, at the instance of Saint Charles Borromeo, the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, declared the Ursulines a religious order with enclosure under the rule of Augustine of Hippo.

In the following century, the Ursulines were powerfully encouraged and supported by Saint Francis de Sales. In most cases, especially in France, the sisters adopted enclosure and took solemn vows. They were called the "religious Ursulines" as distinct from the "congregated Ursulines," who preferred to follow the original plan.

Ursulines in North America

The Ursuline Sisters were the first Catholic nuns to land in the new world. In 1639, Mother Marie of the Incarnation (nee Marie Guyart, b. 1599), two other Ursuline nuns, and a Jesuit priest left France for a mission to Canada. When they arrived in the summer of 1639, they studied the language of the native peoples and then began to educate them. They taught reading and writing as well as needlework, embroidery, drawing and other domestic arts. The Ursuline Convent established by Mother Marie of the Incarnation is still inhabited by Ursuline Sisters in Quebec.

By 1639, there were Ursulines in Canada who taught the catechism to aboriginal children. There is also an Ursuline convent in Quebec City that is the oldest educational institution for women in North America.[1] Their work helped to preserve a religious spirit among the French population and to Christianize aboriginals and Métis.

In 1727, other Ursuline nuns from France landed in New Orleans. These Ursulines were the first nuns in what is now the United States (though when they landed that property was still part of a French colony. They came under the jurisdiction of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803). They instituted a convent and school, both of which continue today. The old convent and school are located in the French Quarter and is the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. These Ursulines also worked in health care and established an orphanage.

Ursuline nuns, primarily from France and Germany, settled in other parts of North America including Boston (1820), Brown County, OH (1845), Cleveland (1850), New York (1855), Louisville (1858), Chatham, Ontario (1860), Bruno (1916)and Prelate (1919), both in Saskatchewan. These foundations spread to other parts of North America including Toledo, Youngstown, OH, Mount St. Joseph, KY, Santa Rosa, Texas, and Mexico City. [2] In 1771, the Irish Ursulines were established at Cork by Nano Nagle.

Towards the beginning of the 18th century, the period of its greatest prosperity, the Ursuline order embraced some 20 congregations, with 350 convents and from 15,000 to 20,000 nuns. The members wore a black dress bound by a leathern girdle, a black sleeveless cloak, and a close-fitting headdress with a white veil and a longer black veil.

The founder was beatified by Clement VIII in 1768 and canonized as St. Angela Merici of Brescia by Pius VII in 1807.

Today, while some convents in Europe, Canada, and Cuba continue to observe strict enclosure, most convents have adopted less restrictive forms.

Role in education

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Colleges and universities

In the United States, the Ursulines have founded two well-known Catholic women's colleges. Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio was founded in 1871 by the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland. It was followed in 1904 by College of New Rochelle, which is located in New Rochelle, New York.

In 1919, the Ursulines founded a university-level liberal arts college for women in London, Ontario, Canada. Currently called Brescia University College (Brescia College at its foundation), it remains the only university-level college for women in Canada and is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.

From 1922 to 1975 the Mary Manse College in Toledo, Ohio was operated by the Ursulines. It was a women's college until 1971, then was coeducational for its final four years.

In 1932, the Great Falls Junior College for Women was founded in Great Falls, Montana. Now the University of Great Falls, it has an open admission policy.

The Mount Saint Joseph Junior College for Women operated between 1925 and 1950 in Maple Mount, Kentucky, with the Ursulines offering co-educational extension courses at Owensboro. The Ursulines merged their extension courses with Mount Saint Joseph Junior College in 1950, creating the co-educational Brescia University still in operation today.

In 1966, the Ursulines established in Taiwan what became the Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages.

From 1968 to 2003 the Ursuline Order operated Ursula College at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. It is a co-educational residential college for approximately 200 undergraduates. In 2003 the college was sold to the University and was renamed Ursula Hall. The Ursuline tradition has been retained in the Hall's high educational standards, retention of Ursuline symbols and livery, and the observance of St Ursula's day in October. St Ursula's day is celebrated as Ursies Weekend and is a final opportunity to relax and party before final exams are held in early November.

Secondary education

Ursuline secondary education schools are found across the United States and other countries. The first school, Ursuline Academy, began in 1727 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the oldest all girl's school in the country. There is also an Ursuline high school in the Bronx, the Academy of Mount St. Ursula High School [3],as which is the oldest all girls' Catholic high school in New York State. It was founded in 1855.

The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, New York is a school for girls in grades 6-12 and is closely affiliated with the nearby Iona Preparatory.

Other notable Ursuline secondary schools in the United States include the all-female Ursuline Academy of Dallas in Dallas, Texas and the all-female Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Delaware.

Also in Newham, in London, UK, is the all-female girl school St. Angela's, named after the founder of the Ursulines. The sixth form centre of the school allows males while the school does not. The same applies to the Ursuline High School in Wimbledon. The Ursuline College, (Westgate-on-Sea), is also part of the order, and is open to male and female students.

The British philosopher and author Celia Green has written extensively about her time at the Ursuline High School in Ilford, London[4].

Like their colleges, not all Ursuline secondary schools have remained single-sex. The aforementioned Ursuline Academy in Delaware permits male students in grades 1-3, and Ursuline High School in Youngstown, Ohio, founded in 1905, is fully co-educational.

Other Ursuline secondary schools in the United States include Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio (founded in 1850); Ursuline Academy in San Antonio, TX (founded 1851 - closed 1992); Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio (founded in 1898); St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ursuline Academy in Saint Louis, Missouri (founded in 1848); the Ursuline Academy of Dedham in Dedham, Massachusetts; Ursuline High School in Santa Rosa, California (founded in 1880); and Ursuline Academy in Springfield, Illinois (founded 1857), which was coed from 1981 until it closed in 2007. There is also an Ursuline secondary school in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Waterford, and Sligo, Ireland, which have remained fully single sex.

Notes

  1. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia link
  2. ^ Insert footnote text here"Follow the Spirit." Angela Merici and the Ursulines. Editions du Signe. Rome: Spada, 1998
  3. ^ Academy of Mount Saint Ursula
  4. ^ Green, Celia (2004). Letters from Exile: Observations on a Culture in Decline. Oxford: Oxford Forum.

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

See also

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

URSULINES, a religious order founded at Brescia by Angela Merici (1470-1540) in November 1535, primarily for the education of girls and the care of the sick and needy. It was approved in 1544 by Paul III., and in 1572 Gregory XIII., at the instance of Charles Borromeo, declared it a religious order under the rule of St Augustine. In the following century it was powerfully encouraged and supported by St Francis of Sales. In most cases, especially in France, the sisters adopted enclosure and took solemn vows; they were called the "religious" Ursulines as distinct from the "congregated" Ursulines, who preferred to follow the original plan. There were Ursulines in Canada in 1639, who taught the catechism to Indian children, and subsequently helped to preserve a religious spirit among the French population and to humanize the Indians and half-breeds. Towards the beginning of the 18th century, the period of its greatest prosperity, the order embraced some 20 congregations, with 350 convents and from 15,000 to 20,000 nuns. The members wear a black dress bound by a leathern girdle, a black sleeveless cloak, and a close-fitting head-dress with a white veil and a longer black veil. Their patron is the St Ursula mentioned above. The founder was beatified by Clement VIII. in 1768 and canonized as St Agnes of Brescia by Pius VII. in 1807. The Irish Ursulines were established at Cork in 1771 by Miss Nano Nagle. The Ursulines do not increase now as rapidly as they did, congregations taking simple vows like the Sisters of Mercy being apparently more adapted to modern needs.


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