During these earliest years, Angela was elected superior general of the Congregation for three successive terms. The multitude of responsibilities and unending challenges, trials and difficulties, which she endured, as well as serious health problems, prompted the Foundress to withdraw from administration of the Congregation in 1869. She was forty-four years old then and was destined to live in the background for the next thirty years. The longest period in the life of the Foundress, these were years of prayer, work, and suffering. She endured a progressive loss of hearing, which seriously hindered her working relationships as superior general, her discussions during spiritual conferences and ordinary conversations in community. Excruciating headaches and malignant tumors also took a toll on her and restricted her active involvement in community affairs.
Mother Angela accepted ministry assignments in the garden and greenhouse, tending flowers for the chapel and in the liturgical vestment sewing room, embroidering altar cloths and chasubles. Every aspect of Mother Angela’s life and service reflected her grace as foundress and spiritual mother. Her concern for the sisters remained very much alive even in her most pain-filled moments.
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