Contemplating our path


Keep to the ancient way … And lead a new life …


St Angela Merici, modern day painting by Australian Artist, Jan Williamson 2012, Australian Ursulines Provincialate, Sydney Australia

I am drawn this year to reflect on the image of Angela by Australian portrait artist, Jan Williamson. As with all images of St Angela, we will each see something different in it. For me, the strong colours reflect the context of Australia … the rich blue of the vast skies, and the red soil found in much of the country. There is simplicity and gentleness about the woman, though the stance also reflects her strength. The depth of the eyes hint at the rich interior life of this gifted woman, her faith and insight. And there is the hand, as in many other images, stretched out in invitation.

Another significant aspect of this image is the shadow of the ‘sisters’ in the background, perhaps a reminder that each of us is shaped by our past. As Ursulines today, we are privileged to draw on a long history; we have stepped on to paths that were made by women of strength, courage and insight. Our task is to continue to create new paths, just as they did, paths that are appropriate for our present social, historical and ecclesial contexts. We are invited to give life to Angela’s unique gift in ways that are appropriate for our particular times. Angela herself reminds us ‘Keep to the ancient way … And lead a new life …’ (Counsel 7,22). This is both a responsibility and a grace for which we can be deeply grateful.

Sr. Susan Flood osu, Prioress General