Saint Angela Merici or Saint Angela de Merici (March 21, 1474– January 27, 1540) was an Italian religious leader and saint born in Desenzano del Garda, a town in the Province of Brescia, Lombardy, in northern Italy. She founded the Order of Ursulines in 1535 in Brescia.
Angela's uncle died when she was twenty years old and she returned to her previous home in Desenzano. Angela believed that better Christian education was needed for young girls; she then dedicated her time teaching girls in her home, which she had converted into a school. She later allegedly had another vision that revealed to her that she was to found an association of virgins who were to devote their lives to the religious training of young girls. This was a success and she was invited to start another school in the neighboring city, Brescia. She happily accepted this offer.
According to legend, though not substantiated by any extant documentation, in 1524, while traveling to the Holy Land, St Angela Merici became suddenly blind when she was on the island of Crete. Despite this, St Angela continued her journey to the Holy Places and was ostensibly cured of sightlessness upon her return, while praying before a crucifix, at the same place where she was struck with blindness a few weeks before.
In 1525, she came to Rome to gain the Indulgences. While doing this task, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her virtue and success with her school, invited her to remain in Rome. St Angela disliked notoriety, and she soon returned to Brescia.
On November 25, 1535, St Angela chose twelve virgins and started the foundation of the "Company of St Ursula" near the Church of St Afra, in a small house in Brescia. On March 18, 1537 she was elected "Mother and Mistress" (Superior) of the order. Three years later, she died on January 27, 1540. Her body was clothed in the habit of a Franciscan Tertiary and interred in the Church of St Afra, Brescia.
(see both the General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII and the General Roman Calendar of 1962). Pope Paul VI moved it once more, in 1969, to the date of her death, January 27 (see the Roman Catholic calendar of saints). Traditional Roman Catholics continue to celebrate her feast day on June 1, either as a "Double feast" or a "feast of the III class" (see the General Roman Calendar of 1962).