Born 1248 at Foligno, Umbria, Italy
Died 4 January
1309 at Foligno, Italy of natural causes; buried in the Church of Saint Francis in Foligno, Italy
Beatified 1693 (cult
confirmed) by Pope Innocent XII
Patronage : She is the patron for those ridiculed for their piety, those who
struggle with sexual temptation and temptation in general, widows, and those who have lost children
Angela was born at Foligno, Umbria, Italy in 1248. A wealthy non-Christian,
she married young and had several children. She lived a "mortally sinful" life before having a conversion experience around
the age of 40. After her mother, her husband and all her children had died, she gave herself up completely to God. Angela
has recorded the history of her conversion in her "Book of Visions and Instructions", which contains seventy chapters, and
which was dictated to her Franciscan Confessor. This book contains her visions and ecstasies, which reveal that she is a great
mystic. Her writings are also found in "The Book of Divine Consolations of the Blessed Angela of Foligno".
Some time after her conversion, Angela became a Third Order Fransciscan.
She gave away her possessions and started a community of tertiaries devoted to the care of the needy. Angela is noted for
her charity, patience, and humility. She is called "the Mistress of Theologians" due to her many recorded writings and visions.
She is represented being invited by Our Lord to receive Holy Commumion;
and chaining the devil.
"Humility exists only in those who are poor enough to see that they possess
nothing of their own."
"O my soul, how can you refrain from plunging yourself ever deeper and
deeper into the love of Christ, who did not forget you in life or in death, but who willed to give Himself wholly to you,
and to unite you to Himself forever?"
"It is the Sacrament of Love that excites the soul to ardent prayer. It
stirs up the virtue of impetration and, as it were, forces God to grant our petition. It deepens the abyss of humility, above
all it enkindles the flame of love in the heart; hence the Sacrament is the Gift of gifts, and the Grace of graces."
~ Blessed Angela of Foligno
Take from Catholic Fire blog
“O my God! make me worthy to understand something of the mystery of the burning charity which is
in You, which impelled you to effect the sublime act of the Incarnation! which brings to man, with the outpouring of love,
the assurance of salvation. How ineffable is this charity! Truly there is no greater than this, that the Word was made flesh
in order to make me like unto God! You became nothing in order to make me something; You clothed Yourself like the lowliest
slave to give me the garments of a King and a God! Although You took the form of a slave, You did not lessen Your substance,
nor injure Your divinity, but the depths of Your humility pierce my heart and make me cry out: O incomprehensible One, made
comprehensible because of me! O uncreated One, now created! O Thou who art inaccessible to mind and body, become palpable
to thought and touch, by a prodigy of Thy power!
O happy fault! not in itself, but by the power of divine mercy. O happy fault, which has disclosed the
sacred, hidden depths of the abyss of love! Truly a higher form of charity cannot be imagined… O ineffable love! Sublime,
transforming love! Blessed art Thou, O Lord, because Thou teachest me that Thou wert born for me! To feel this is indeed a
delight and the joy of joys!… O admirable God, how marvelous are Thy mercies! O uncreated God, make me worthy to know
the depths of Thy love and the abyss of Thy mercy! Make me worthy to understand Thy ineffable charity, which was transmitted
to us when the Father gave Jesus Christ to us in the Incarnation.”
St. Angela of Foligno
Blessed Angela of Foligno, a widow and mystic who lived the Rule of 1221.
The Prayer, Motto, Mission, and Action of Penitents complete the Vision of the Confraternity.
PRAYER OF PENITENTS
"Most High, Glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my mind, give me right faith,
a firm hope and perfect charity, so that I may always and in all things act according to Your Holy Will. Amen." (Saint Francis's
prayer before the San Damiano Crucifix)
MOTTO OF PENITENTS
"You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and
with all your mind, (and) you shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Jesus's words as recorded in Matthew 22:37-38)
MISSION OF PENITENTS
"Go and repair My House which, as you can see, is falling into ruin." (The message
given to St. Francis in a voice from the San Damiano Crucifix.)
ACTION OF PENITENTS
To pray for God's specific direction in one's life so that, through humbly living
our Rule of Life, each penitent may help to rebuild the house of God by bringing love of God and neighbor to his or her own
corner of the world.
Angela was born in 1248 of a prominent
family in Foligno, three leagues from Assisi. As a young woman, and also as a wife and mother, she lived only for the world
and its vain pleasures. But the grace of God intended to make of her a vessel of election for the comfort and salvation of
many. A ray of the divine mercy touched her soul and so strongly affected her as to bring about a conversion. At the command
of her confessor she committed to writing the manner of her conversion in eighteen spiritual steps. "Enlightened by grace,"
she wrote in this account. "I realized my sinfulness; I was seized with a great fear of being damned, and I shed a flood of
tears. I went to confession to be relieved of my sins, but through shame I concealed the most grievous ones, but still I went
to Communion. Now my conscience tortured me day and night. I called upon St. Francis for help, and, moved by an inner impulse,
I went into a church where a Franciscan Father was then preaching. "I gathered courage to confess all my sins to him, and
I did this immediately after the sermon. With zeal and perseverance I performed the penance he imposed, but my heart continued
to be full of bitterness and shame. I recognized that the divine mercy has saved me from hell, hence I resolved to do rigorous
penance; nothing seemed too difficult for me, because I felt I belonged in hell. I called upon the saints, and especially
upon the Blessed Virgin, to intercede with God for me. "It appeared to me now as if they has compassion on me, and I felt
the fire of divine love enkindled within me so that I could pray as I never prayed before. I had also received a special grace
to contemplate the cross in which Christ had suffered so much for my sins. Sorrow, love, and the desire to sacrifice everything
for Him filled my soul." About this time God harkened to the earnest desire of the penitent: her mother died, then her husband,
and soon afterwards all her children. These tragic events were very painful to her; but she made the sacrifice with resignation
to the will of God. Being freed from these ties, she dispossessed herself of all her temporal goods with the consent of her
confessor, so that being poor herself, she might walk in the footsteps of her poor Savior. She also entered the Third Order
of St. Francis, and presently found herself the superior and guide of others who followed in her path. Many women joined her,
even to the point of taking the three vows. She encouraged them in works of charity, in nursing the sick, and in going personally
from door to door to beg for the needs of the poor. Meanwhile, Angela became still more immersed in the contemplation of the
Passion of Christ, and she chose the Sorrowful Mother and the faithful disciple John as her patrons. The sight of the wounds
which her Lord suffered for her sins urged her to the practice of still greater austerities. Once our Lord showed her that
His Heart is a safe refuge in all the storms of life. She was soon to be in need of such a refuge. God permitted her to be
afflicted with severe temptations. The most horrible and loathsome representations distressed her soul. The fire of concupiscence
raged so furiously that she said: "I would rather have beheld myself surrounded with flames and permitted myself to be continually
roasted that to endure such things." Still, she called out to God, "Glory be to Thee, O Lord! Thy cross is my resting place."
These painful trials lasted over two years; but then the purified and tried servant of the Lord was filled with great consolation.
She obtained a marvelous insight into divine things and was very frequently found in ecstasy. For many years Holy Communion
was her only food, until at last, completely purified, she entered into the eternal joy of the Supreme Good on January 4,
1309. Pope Innocent XII approved the continual devotion paid to her at her tomb in Foligno. He beatified her in 1693. ON THE
BENEFIT OF TEMPTATIONS 1. Consider how Blessed Angela has to pass through many painful steps in order to arrive at true conversion.
True conversion is not accomplished as easily and as soon as many people believe. One of these steps consisted in enduring
temptations. This was one of the most painful stages, but it was in this way that God wishes to try the fidelity of His servants.
Moses spoke thus to the chosen people of God: "The Lord your God tried you that it may appear whether you love Him with all
your soul, or no" (Deut 13:3). What pleasure is it when the temptation has been overcome, to know that one has stood the test!
Have you ever partaken of this joy after your temptations? 2. Consider that temptations are also a means by which we may learn
to know ourselves and our weaknesses. Thomas a Kempis (1,13) says: "Temptations show us what we are." Sometimes we do not
think it possible that we could fall into this or that sin into which a fellowman has fallen. But if severe temptation assails
us, we readily join with the Psalmist in declaring: "Unless the Lord had been my helper, my soul had almost dwelt in hell"
(Ps 93:17). Temptation does not make us weak, it merely shows us how weak we are. Such experiences cause us to be kinder in
our judgements of others and more cautious in our own conduct. If David became an adulterer and a murderer through a glance
at Bethsabee, may we then play with danger like a gnat flying about a glowing flame? "Watch and pray that you enter not into
temptation" (Matt 26:41). 3. Consider that temptations impel us to draw nearer to God and to unite ourselves more closely
to Him. As a child runs to its mother when danger threatens, and hides itself in her lap, so a Christian who loves his soul
will have recourse to God in time of danger. And just as the tree strikes its roots deeper into the earth when storms whip
its crown, so does the Christian attach himself more firmly to God during the storm of temptation. While we acknowledge that
God is our all: our only hope, our support, our salvation. This acknowledgement is a great boon. Blessed Angela says, "To
know oneself and to know God, that is the perfection of man; without this knowledge, visions and the greatest gifts are of
no account." PRAYER OF THE CHURCH O God, Thou sweetness of hearts and light of the inhabitants of heaven, who didst refresh
Blessed Angela, Thy servant, with a marvelous insight into heavenly things, grant us through her merits and intercession so
to know Thee upon earth, that we may be found worthy to rejoice in the vision of Thy glory in heaven. Through Christ our Lord.
from: The Franciscan Book of Saints,
ed. by Marion Habig, ofm., © 1959 Franciscan Herald Press
Secular Franciscan Order