Everyone has a life story: that wondrous place where chronological time and personal history encounter vision, hope, disappointment, heartache, faith, trust, and countless other spectacular moments that make living miraculous.
Born in the city of Kalisz in 1825, Blessed Mary Angela spent the 74 years of her life’s journey in the service of her God and the people of Poland. She came into the world at a time when a woman’s place was bound solely to her husband and children. Society clearly delineated the distinctions between wealth and poverty, the peasant and the nobility. The Church, too, had very definite boundaries for religious life. Nuns were found behind cloister walls and rarely about the city’s alleys.
Yet, in her own uniquely humble, soft-spoken stubbornness Angela refused to accept the limiting restrictions that society and history expected. She courageously changed the perceptions of the world around her. She had a profound influence not only upon the women who came to walk beside her as the first Felician Sisters but upon an entire people who struggled, lived and died in 19th century Poland.
This week we commemorate the 25th anniversary of Angela’s beatification. The church found her worthy to be named “Blessed” in 1993 as Pope John Paul II publicly announced to the world that the sanctity of life and the plentitude of virtues place Mother Mary Angela in the company of the beatified.
Blessed Mary Angela understood that love is always an unselfish gift of self. She said, “To love is to give. Give everything that love demands. Give eagerly, without regret, with joy, with a desire that even more would be demanded.” She enkindled this love in the hearts of all Felician Sisters. This is the constant leaven that is expressed in our ministries, in our love of neighbor.
This boundless love of God manifested itself in Mother Angela’s complete surrender to God’s divine will and overflowed into compassion and mercy, consuming her in service to the needy and concern for the salvation of all people. Thank you, Angela, for showing us the way. What a blessing you are in our lives!