Angela of Foligno: c. 1248 1309
Angela of Foligno became a Christian author, Franciscan tertiary, and mystic. She was noted not only for her spiritual writings, but also for founding a religious order.
She was born at Foligno in Umbria, in 1248, of a rich family. Married at an early age, she loved the world and its pleasures and led a disorderly life. Following a vision in 1285, she had a conversion. Later her husband, mother, and children all died and Angela was left alone. She placed herself under the direction of a Franciscan friar named Arnoldo, who would serve as her confessor. It was to Arnoldo that Angela dictated the account of her conversion, a work that has come to us as the Book of Visions and Instructions. Further, it was under Arnoldo's instruction that Angela joined the Third Order of St. Francis.
In the course of time she gathered around her a number of Tertiaries, men and women, who strove under her direction to advance in holiness. Later she established at Foligno a community of sisters, who to the Rule of the Third Order added the three vows of religion, without, however, binding themselves to enclosure, so that they might devote their time to works of charity.
Blessed Angela's high authority as a spiritual teacher may be gathered from the fact that Bollandus, among other testimonials, quotes Maximilian Sandaeus, of the Society of Jesus, who calls her the "Mistress of Theologians", whose whole doctrine has been drawn out of the Book of Life, Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
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