Who we are
We are Ursuline sisters living in the UK and we belong to a world wide network. People often think St Ursula was our foundress, in reality we were founded by Angela Merici who came from Desenzano in Italy, a place that has now become a popular tourist destination on Lake Garda. St Angela chose to put her new company under the patronage of St Ursula, an early English saint, who was popular in the middle ages as the Patroness of learning. This was a particularly appropriate choice, as it reflected St Angela’s concern for the development and fulfilment of women. It is the same zeal that has continued to inspire Ursulines for the past 475 years. We celebrated this momentous milestone on 25th November 2010.
We come from many differing backgrounds and bring a variety of experiences to each other. Some of us have grown up as cradle catholics from practising homes, some are converts and some are the sole catholic in their family. All of us share a desire to bring Christ to the world. We have all chosen to do this by a consecrated life lived in community and one where prayer and work go hand in hand.
We have all shared a common training of seven and a half years. During this period we spent two and half years with other women who had similar ideals, learning of the commitment we were proposing to undertake. This was a period away from normal activities of life, so that we could reflect on what we were undertaking and deepen our prayer life. After 2 and a half years we took temporary vows of poverty chastity and obedience and five years later vows for life.
We take vows of Poverty, Chastity and obedience. Through these we set our entire lives aside for the service of God. In chastity we commit ourselves fully so that we be centred on Christ, through poverty we aim to live simply and have our goods in common and by obedience we commit ourselves to putting the good of the order above our personal demands.
We are usually well trained for the work we do and in many cases receive salaries and pensions, these, however, do not come to us individually but are but paid into the common purse. Increasingly too we work in partnership, so our lives are less secluded than they once were, Generally we are well equipped with the tools of our trade and often show that independence of mind that enables one to take decisive leadership. So the expression of our vows today is often different than when we first began. Our consecrated life and life in community however continues to be the challenge and thrust of our lives.