Letter for the Feast of St Angela 2022
Letter by Sr Susan Flood osu - Prioress General for the Feast of St Angela.
To all the sisters of the Institute
Feast of St Angela 2022
Dear Sisters, each one,
This letter brings special greetings for each of you as we gather in various places across the world to celebrate the Feast of St Angela.
Between Christmas and New Year I had the opportunity to spend some days in Desenzano. I appreciated the chance for the time of quiet and reflection in the place of Angela’s origins.
While there I was struck by the importance of place and space for each of us. Surely, the fields and surrounding mountains of Le Grezze and the nearby lake, all had an influence on Angela as a young woman. Her naturally contemplative spirit would have been nurtured as she worked and walked in the fields. Her encounters with other farmers and those who made their living by fishing the waters of the lake would have given a depth to her understanding of human nature and human need. This understanding informed her wisdom which was so much sought by the people of Brescia later in her life.
The cycles of nature are not always gentle and calm, we know, and Angela would have been immersed in the complete spectrum of daily and yearly cycles of life and growth, light and dark, struggle and death, fog and mist and clarity. She would have observed how they impacted on the crops and vines and animals for which she was responsible. The various experiences of the natural world must surely have affected her times of prayer and reflection, just as they would also have contributed to her deepening understanding of God and of the Paschal Mystery of life, death and resurrection. Towards the end of her life, in the writings that she left for the members of the Company, she used a number of images from these experiences – the growth and pruning of the vine, the light of the light-house, the strength of the fortress.
We know the specific places where Angela came to know God; it was here that, as a child and a young woman, she grew in an awareness of the call God was offering her; it was in these places that the first glimmers of her vision for the Company took shape – a company of women, committed to partnership with God and to generous and active involvement in their social context.
As Ursulines, women who share the spirit of Angela, we too are each shaped by our own place and space, our times and our context. In 2022 we are, and will continue to be, strongly impacted by the reality of pandemic, by uncertainty, anxiety, restrictions on our movements and on our social interactions and also, hopefully, by increasing global awareness and solidarity. It is helpful to remind ourselves that Angela, too, lived in tumultuous times of uncertainty, of social and ecclesial upheaval, yet her hope, her confidence in God and in the goodness of those around her was unwavering. As we celebrate the gifts of this woman who has influenced each of our lives, let us take time to reflect on the ways in which our space and place continue to be important for our ongoing growth, for our ever-deepening awareness of the mystery of God, and of the invitation God offers us each day.
On this Feast of Angela, together let us thank her for her openness to her reality, for her contemplative spirit, for her responsiveness to the gradually revealed call of God, and for her promise to accompany us, in our times and places.
With love and my promise of prayer,
Susan Flood osu