Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: Convent, Psalm 33, Mark 10:35-45, St Ursula, Order of Ursulines

Sunday, October 21, 2012 - Litany Lane Blog: 
Convent, Psalm 33, Mark 10:35-45, St UrsulaOrder of Ursulines

Good Day Bloggers!  Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!
Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift knowledge and free will as well, make the most of it. Life on earth is a stepping to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


Today's Word:  convent  con·vent  [kon-vent]

Origin: 1175–1225;  < Medieval Latin conventus; Latin:  assembly, coming together, equivalent to conven ( īre ) ( see convene) + -tus  suffix of v. action; replacing Middle English covent  < Anglo-French  < Medieval Latin,  as above

1. a community of persons devoted to religious life under a superior.
2. a society or association of monks, friars, or nuns: now usually used of a society of nuns.
3. the building or buildings occupied by such a society; a monastery or nunnery.
4. Obsolete . assembly; meeting.


Today's Old Testament Reading - Psalms 33:4-5, 18-22

4 The word of Yahweh is straightforward, all he does springs from his constancy.
5 He loves uprightness and justice; the faithful love of Yahweh fills the earth.
18 But see how Yahweh watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his faithful love,
19 to rescue them from death and keep them alive in famine.
20 We are waiting for Yahweh; he is our help and our shield,
22 Yahweh, let your faithful love rest on us, as our hope has rested in you.


Today's Gospel Reading - Mark 10:35-45

Leaders must serve
Mark 10:35-45

1. Opening prayer

God of peace and forgiveness, you have given us Christ as an example of total service, even to giving us his very life; grant us to find favour in your sight that we may share the cup of your will to its dregs and live in the generous and fruitful service of each other.

2. Reading
a) The context:
This episode comes straight after the third prediction of the Passion (Mk 10: 32-34). As on the occasions of the other predictions, the reaction of the disciples is not positive: two of them are worried about who is going to be first in the Kingdom and the others become indignant. This tells us that the disciples had difficulty in accepting the painful destiny of their Master and in understanding the mystery of the Kingdom. The two who come with a request – James and John – are brothers and are part of the group of friends of Jesus (Mk 1: 19-20). Their nickname is boanerges (“sons of thunderMk 3:17). They were, then, a little impetuous.

b) The Gospel - Mark 10:35-45:
35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him, and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." 36 And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?" 37 And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." 38 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" 39 And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

3. A moment of silent prayer to re-read the text with our heart and to recognise in the words and structure, the presence of the mystery of the living God.

4. Some questions to see the important points in the text and begin to assimilate them.
a) Why were the disciples so anxious to take the first places?
b) Does Jesus’ reply make sense?
c) What does Jesus mean by the cup to drink and the baptism to be baptised?
d) On what does Jesus base service in the community?
5. Some deepening of the reading

”Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory”

Even though they were careful in the way they phrased their question, it is clear that they were quite ambitious. According to tradition, they may have been cousins of Jesus, and therefore – according to eastern law – they had a special right, as members of the family. In any case, it is clear that they have understood nothing about that which Jesus was about to do. He was on the way to the ignominy of the cross, and they still had not understood him. Jesus’ true power did not consist in distributing places of honour, but in asking them to share his tragic destiny: “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?”

“The cup that I drink you will drink”
The dialogue concerning the cup and the baptism (vv. 38-39) is obviously parallel. But it is not easy to understand how the two disciples can drink the cup and be baptised, unless one thinks of the martyrdom both of them suffered later. By these two images, Jesus seems to evoke his violent death, which he foretells as an absolute obligation of fidelity to the Father. The reply to their request to sit next to him is very evasive: but we can understand that it wants to say that their way is not the right way to obtain the request.

“The ten…began to be indignant”
Clearly they too share the same ambition. However, this verse seems to be an editorial addition to connect two episodes, which originally were not placed together. This changes the subject completely. But the fact that their indignation is recorded, is probably based on some other episode where the disciples do not appear in a good light and is therefore authentic.

“Those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them… But it shall not be so among you”
Jesus is referring to political leaders of his time: and really this is also the style of political leadership in all times. On the other hand, the community of disciples must be ruled by service: two terms express this service in a gradual manner. Jesus first speaks of “servant” (diakonos) and then of “slave” (doulos). One cannot choose whom one will serve: one must be a slave of all, thus overturning the worldly order.

“For the Son of man also…”
Here we find the basis of the constitutional law of the community: to follow the Master’s style, by giving, like him, one’s life in the spirit of service; thus becoming truly “lords” through the gift of one’s life, not by just pretending. It is difficult to interpret “ransom” or redemption, as Fr. X. Léon Dufour says: we can understand this well when we reflect on the words that Jesus speaks at the Last Supper. Then, Jesus’ whole life appears in the light of “ransom”, of fidelity to the very end for the freedom of humankind. He deprives himself of freedom so that he can give freedom, to ransom those who have no freedom.

Thus the statutes of the community of disciples is characterised by service, by no ambition, by a life given and bound for the ransom of others.

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites,


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St. Ursula

Feast Day:  October 21
Patron Saint:  Ursulines, orphans, students

Saint Ursula ("little female bear" in Latin) is a British Christian saint. Her feast day in the extraordinary form calendar of the Catholic Church is October 21. Because of the lack of definite information about the anonymous group of holy virgins who on some uncertain date were killed at Cologne, their commemoration was omitted from the Catholic calendar of saints for liturgical celebration when it was revised in 1969, but they have been kept in the Roman Martyrology.

Her legend, probably unhistorical, is that she was a Romano-British princess who, at the request of her father King Dionotus of Dumnonia in south-west England, set sail to join her future husband, the pagan Governor Conan Meriadoc of Armorica, along with 11,000 virginal handmaidens. After a miraculous storm brought them over the sea in a single day to a Gaulish port, Ursula declared that before her marriage she would undertake a pan-European pilgrimage. She headed for Rome with her followers and persuaded the Pope, Cyriacus (unknown in the pontifical records), and Sulpicius, Bishop of Ravenna, to join them. After setting out for Cologne, which was being besieged by Huns, all the virgins were beheaded in a massacre. The Huns' leader shot Ursula dead, in about 383 (the date varies).

Life of Saint Ursula

The legend of Ursula is based on a 4th- or 5th-century inscription from the Church of St. Ursula (on the Ursulaplatz) in Cologne. It states that the ancient basilica had been restored on the site where some holy virgins were killed. The text of the inscription is:

The Martyrdom of Saint Ursula (German art, 16th century)
The Catholic Encyclopedia states that "this legend, with its countless variants and increasingly fabulous developments, would fill more than a hundred pages. Various characteristics of it were already regarded with suspicion by certain medieval writers, and since Baronius have been universally rejected." Neither Jerome nor Gregory of Tours refers to Ursula in their writings. Gregory of Tours mentions the legend of the Theban Legion, to whom a church that once stood in Cologne was dedicated. The most important hagiographers (Bede, Ado, Usuard, Notker the Stammerer, Rabanus Maurus) of the early Middle Ages also do not enter Ursula under 21 October, her feast day. A legend resembling Ursula's appeared in its full form between 731 and 839, but it does not mention the name of Ursula, but that of Pinnosa or Vinnosa as the leader of the martyred group.

While there was a tradition of virgin martyrs in Cologne by the 5th century, this was limited to a small number between two and eleven according to different sources. The 11,000 were first mentioned in the 9th century; suggestions as to where this came from have included reading the name "Undecimillia" or "Ximillia" as a number, or reading the abbreviation "XI. M. V." as eleven thousand (in Roman numerals) virgins rather than eleven martyred virgins. One scholar has written that in the eighth century, the relics of virgin martyrs were found, among which were included those of a girl named Ursula, who was eleven years old-–in Latin, undecimilia. Undecimilia was subsequently misread or misinterpreted as undicimila (11,000), thus producing the legend of the 11,000 virgins. Another theory is that there was only one virgin martyr, named Undecimilla, "which by some blundering monk was changed into eleven thousand."

The Dream of St. Ursula, Vittore Carpaccio, 1495; tempera on canvas, 274 x 267 cm Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice.
The Basilica of St. Ursula in Cologne contains the alleged relics of Ursula and her 11,000 companions. It contains what has been described as a "veritable tsunami of ribs, shoulder blades, and femurs...arranged in zigzags and swirls and even in the shapes of Latin words." The Goldene Kammer (Golden Chamber), a 17th century chapel attached to the Basilica of St. Ursula, contains sculptures of their heads and torsos, some of the heads encased in silver, others covered with stuff of gold and caps of cloth of gold and velvet; loose bones thickly texture the upper walls." The peculiarities of the relics themselves have thrown doubt upon the historicity of Ursula and her 11,000 maidens. When skeletons of little children, ranging in age from two months to seven years, were found buried with one of the sacred virgins in 1183, Hermann Joseph, a Praemonstratensian canon at Steinfeld, explained that these children were distant relatives of the eleven thousand. A surgeon of eminence was once banished from Cologne for suggesting that, among the collection of bones which are said to pertain to the heads, there were several belonging to full-grown mastiffs. The relics may have come from a forgotten burial ground.  It has also been theorized that Ursula is a Christianized form of the goddess Freya, who welcomed the souls of dead maidens.

Nothing is known about the girls, if any, who are said to have been martyred at the spot. The commemoration, in the Mass of Saint Hilarion on 21 October, of Saint Ursula and her companions that was formerly in the Catholic calendar of saints for use wherever the Roman Rite is celebrated was removed in 1969, because "their Passio is entirely fabulous: nothing, not even their names, is known about the virgin saints who were killed at Cologne at some uncertain time". The Roman Martyrology, the official but professedly incomplete list of saints recognized by the Catholic Church, speaks of these virgin saints as follows: "At Cologne in Germany, commemoration of virgin saints who ended their life in martyrdom for Christ in the place where afterwards the city's basilica was built, dedicated in honour of the innocent young girl Ursula who is looked on as their leader."  Their feast day remains 4 August.

There is one other Christian church dedicated to Saint Ursula. It is in the small village of Llangwyryfon, near Aberystwyth in west Wales. The village name translates as "Church of the virgins". The church is dedicated to her because she is believed to have originated from this area.


Hildegard of Bingen composed many chants in honour of her. It was recorded that Elizabeth of Schönau experienced a vision that revealed to her the martyrdom of Ursula and her companions.

The street in London called St Mary Axe is sometimes said to be derived from a church, now demolished, dedicated to St Mary the Virgin, St Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins. It was said to be located where the skyscraper informally known as "the Gherkin" is now located. The church contained a holy relic: an axe used by the Huns to execute the virgins. However, this legend cannot be dated any earlier than 1514

In the 1480s, Hans Memling fashioned a wooden shrine that contained the relics of Ursula, which is now at the Hans Memlingmuseum in Bruges. It told the story of Ursula in six bow-arched panels, with the two front panels showing Ursula accompanied by 10 virgins, each representing 1,000 virgins.

On 21 October 1521, Ferdinand Magellan rounded Cape Virgenes and entered the Straits of Magellan, naming the cape after Ursula's virgins. Portuguese explorer João Álvares Fagundes in 1521 named 'Eleven Thousand Virgins' what is now known as Saint-Pierre and Miquelon.

A tradition in the Swiss city of Basel, about 400 km south of Cologne, holds that Ursula and her companions passed through Basel intending to go to Rome. The legend is commemorated in the name of Eleven Thousand Virgins Alley (Elftausendjungfern-Gässlein), which climbs one side of the Münsterberg, a hill in the centre of the city.

The Order of Ursulines, founded in 1535 by Angela Merici, and especially devoted to the education of young girls, has also helped to spread Ursula's name throughout the world. St. Ursula was named the patron saint of students. Michael Haydn wrote the Missa in honorem Sanctae Ursulae to commemorate the day Ursula Oswald joined a Bemedictine Abbey.


Cordula was, according to a legend in an edition of the Roman Martyrology presented in an English translation on a traditionalist Catholic Website, one of Ursula's companions: "Being terrified by the punishments and slaughter of the others, Cordula hid herself, but repenting her deed, on the next day she declared herself to the Huns of her own accord, and thus was the last of them all to receive the crown of martyrdom". In his Albert the Great (R. Washbourne, 1876), 360-362, Joachim Sighart recounts that, on 14 February 1277, while work was being done at the church of St John the Baptist (Johanniterkirche) in Cologne, Cordula's body was discovered; it was fragrant and on her forehead was written: "Cordula, Queen and Virgin"; when Albert the Great heard of the finding, he sang mass and transferred the relics. Later, Cordula's supposed remains were moved to Königswinter and Rimini. Cordula's head was claimed by the Cathedral of Palencia


    • Martyrologium Romanum. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7)
    • Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins


      Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane


      Today Snippet: Basilica of St. Ursula and Order of Ursulines

      Basilica of St Ursula, Cologne Germany
      The Basilica church of St. Ursula is located in Cologne the Rhineland, Germany. It is built upon the ancient ruins of a Roman cemetery, where the 11,000 virgins associated with the legend of Saint Ursula were said to have been buried. The church has an impressive reliquary created from the bones of the former occupants of the cemetery. It is one of the twelve Romanesque churches of Cologne and was designated a Minor Basilica on 25 June 1920. While the nave and crossing tower are Romanesque, the choir has been rebuilt in the Gothic style.

      The Golden Chamber 

      The Golden Chamber, or Goldene Kammer, of the church contains the alleged remains of St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgins who were said to have been killed by the Huns, possibly around the time of the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains. The original legend stated that only 11 virgins accompanied St. Ursula but the number grew over time, eventually to 11,000. The walls of the Golden Chamber are covered in bones arranged in designs and/or letters along with relic skulls. The exact number of people whose remains are in the Golden Chamber remains ambiguous but the number of skulls in the reliquary is greater than 11 and less than 11,000. These remains were found in 1155 in a mass grave and were assumed to be those of the legend of St. Ursula and the 11,000 virgins. Therefore, the church constructed the Golden Chamber to house the bones. The bones themselves are neatly arranged in "zigzags and swirls and even in the shapes of Latin words."

       Order Of Ursulines

      Ursuline Convent , French Quarter New Orleans
      The Ursulines (in full: Ursulines of the Roman Union) are a Roman Catholic religious institute for women founded at Brescia, Italy, by Saint Angela de Merici in November 1535, primarily for the education of girls and the care of the sick and needy. Their patron saint is Saint Ursula. 

      St Angela de Merici spent 17 years leading a group of women known as the "Company of St. Ursula," who regularly met for conferences and devotional practices but did not live together. They were recognized in 1544 by Pope Paul III. In 1572, Pope Gregory XIII, at the insistence of Saint Charles Borromeo, the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, declared the Ursulines a religious order with enclosure under the rule of Augustine of Hippo.

      Ursulines were the main accusers in the Loudun and Aix-en-Provence demonic possession cases. In the following century, the Ursulines were powerfully encouraged and supported by Saint Francis de Sales. In most cases, especially in France, the sisters adopted enclosure and took solemn vows. They were called the "religious Ursulines" as distinct from the "congregated Ursulines," who preferred to follow the original plan.


      • 1535 November 25 marks founding of the Company of Saint Ursula by St. Angela Merici with 28 companions
      • 1538 First General Chapter, Angela elected Mother for life
      • 1539 Angela falls ill, dictates Testament and Counsels
      • 1544 Pope Paul III formally approves the Company

      Ursulines in North America

      1733 diagram of the first Ursuline Convent
      The Ursuline Sisters were the first Catholic nuns to land in the new world. In 1639, Mother Marie of the Incarnation (née Marie Guyart, b. 1599), two other Ursuline nuns, and a Jesuit priest left France for a mission to Canada. When they arrived in the summer of 1639, they studied the language of the native peoples and then began to educate them. They taught reading and writing as well as needlework, embroidery, drawing and other domestic arts. The Ursuline Convent established by Mother Marie of the Incarnation is still inhabited by Ursuline Sisters in Quebec.

      By 1639, there were Ursulines in Canada who taught the catechism to indigenous children. There is also an Ursuline convent in Quebec City that is the oldest educational institution for women in North America. Their work helped to preserve a religious spirit among the French population and to Christianize native peoples and Mestizos.

      In 1727, 12 Ursulines from France landed in what is now New Orleans. (See also: History of the Ursulines in New Orleans.) They were known commonly in the colony as the Filles du' Casket or "casket girls" because of the wooden cases which contained their possessions on the trip from Rouen to the colony in the New World. When the first Ursulines arrived it was not on the banks of the Mississippi but at Mobile Alabama in 1719 (though information is contradictory from remaining and available sources). The entire group of Ursulines were the first Roman Catholic nuns in what is now the United States. Both properties were part of the French colony. They came to the country under the sanctions of Pope Pius III, and Louis XV of France. Later, their charter came under the jurisdiction of the United States following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

      They instituted a convent and school, both of which continue today. Ursuline Academy (New Orleans) is the oldest continually operating Catholic school in the United States and the oldest girls school in the United States. Convinced that the education of women was essential to the development of a civilized, spiritual and just society, the Ursuline Sisters influenced culture and learning in New Orleans by providing an exceptional education for girls, and women through its now defunct college.

      The Ursuline tradition holds many United States firsts in its dedication to the growth of individuals, including the first female pharmacist, first woman to contribute a book of literary merit, first convent, first free school and first retreat center for ladies, first classes for female slaves (which continued until abolition), free women of color (a unique New Orleans group also known as Creoles of Color) and Native Americans. In the region, Ursuline provided the first social welfare center in the Mississippi Valley. They also operated the first boarding school in Louisiana, housing and educating a large number of Catholic Hispanic girls and women from central and South American countries - most from economically and socially privileged families. Ursulines also operated the first school of music in New Orleans.

      The Ursuline College opened on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans' Garden District on the 100th anniversary of Ursuline Education. It taught women from 1927-1965. In 1965 the Ursuline College closed. Low enrollment, competition in the university district, and eliminating the school's program for foreign boarders were factors contributing to its demise.

      The Old Ursuline Convent is located in the Vieux Carre (New Orleans' French Quarter). It is the oldest building in the Mississippi River Valley. The building now houses the Archdiocese of New Orleans' Archives as well as operating as a tourist attraction/ museum with public tours available almost daily (although one should check the schedule if planning to visit the Old Ursuline Convent). These Ursulines also worked in health care, establishing one of the first hospitals in New Orleans, along with an orphanage. They treated malaria and yellow fever in slave populations when it was not politically or socially accepted.The first pharmacist in the United States was an Ursuline woman practicing in New Orleans in the early 1700s. They had a well established presence as a hospital by the Revolutionary War period in US History. Ursuline sisters treated both British and United States soldiers wounded in the war in the same building..They may have been the first group of women propagating the ideals of diversity in a society, as it was directly related to the teachings of St Ursula and her followers, the Company of St.Ursula (1535, and then by St.Angela Merici foundress of the Order generalate as it is known today (that is the Roman Order, as there are two: one "The Ursulines of the East" and "the Roman Order").

      The tombstone of the Ursuline Sisters in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery (New Rochelle, New York)
      Ursuline nuns, primarily from France and Germany, settled in other parts of North America including Boston (1820), Brown County, Ohio (1845), Cleveland (1850), New York (1855), Louisville (1858), Chatham, Ontario (1860), Bruno (1916) and Prelate (1919), both in Saskatchewan. These foundations spread to other parts of North America including Toledo, Youngstown, OH, Mount St. Joseph, Kentucky, Santa Rosa, Texas, and Mexico City. In 1771, the Irish Ursulines were established at Cork by Nano Nagle. Towards the beginning of the 18th century, the period of its greatest prosperity, the Ursuline order embraced some 20 congregations, with 350 convents and from 15,000 to 20,000 nuns. The members wore a black dress bound by a leathern girdle, a black sleeveless cloak, and a close-fitting headdress with a white veil and a longer black veil.

      The founder of the Order of St.Ursula was beatified by Clement VIII in 1768 and canonized as St. Angela Merici of Brescia by Pius VII in 1807. Today, while some convents in Europe, Canada, and Cuba continue to observe strict cloister, most convents have adopted less restrictive forms.

      History of the Ursulines in New Orleans

      Arrival of the Ursulines in New Orleans, 1727 (19th century)

      As early as 1726, King Louis XV of France decided that three Ursuline nuns from Rouen should go to New Orleans to establish a hospital for poor sick people and to provide education for young girls of wealthy families; but the nuns understood it as a mission to save the souls of the native young girls too. Fourteen nuns took part in the long journey to New Orleans. The names of some are known: Sister Saint-Augustin (Marie Tranchepain, the mother superior), Sister Angélique (Marie le Boullanger), and Dame Jude, all from Rouen; and Mother François-Xavier from le Havre, Madame Cavelier from Elbeuf, two other cities in Normandy. There were two postulant sisters: Sister le Massif from Tours and Marie-Madeleine Hachard from Rouen. There were also two nuns from Ploërmel and one from Hennebont in Britanny. Marie-Madeleine Hachard described their travel and their arrival at New Orleans in letters sent to her father stayed in Rouen, already published in 1728 by Antoine le Prévost from the same city. The trip lasted for five months, instead of three.

      First Ursuline Convent, New Orleans, 1734
      They arrived at New Orleans in July 1727, and were temporarily housed in one of the larger houses of the young city. In 1734 their first building, the three-storey half-timber structure, was completed. The unprotected timbers of the colombage construction, however, proved impractical in the humid semi-tropical climate of south Louisiana, with deterioration apparent a dozen years after the building was completed.

      In 1745 plans for a new building were laid out, to be constructed adjacent to the existing structure. The first convent was dismantled as the newer one was built, with some of the material reused. This second building was completed in 1751 (main article: Old Ursuline Convent, New Orleans). It still stands, with various later additions, and is a National Landmark. This building in the French Quarter of New Orleans continued to house the Ursulines to the 1820s.

      The nuns moved to the new Ursuline Convent, New Orleans in the 9th Ward of New Orleans in 1823, giving the old French Quarter structure to the city's bishop. The convent premises in the 9th Ward were in turn sold to the city in the 1910s, and the land was used as part of the route for the Industrial Canal. The nuns moved to newer quarters on Nashville Avenue in Uptown New Orleans, where they are still located.

      Role in education

      Colleges and universities

      Ursuline College, Pepper Pike Ohio
      In the United States, the Ursulines have founded two well-known Catholic women's colleges.  Ursuline College is a small, Roman Catholic liberal arts women's college in Pepper Pike, Ohio, United States. It was founded in 1871 by the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland and is one of the oldest institutions of higher education for women in the United States. Ursuline College offers a diverse spectrum of undergraduate and graduate studies within the Catholic tradition of education. The College offers 30 undergraduate, 11 graduate programs, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. Although Ursuline College is considered to be a college that focuses primarily on the liberal arts, the institution also offers courses such as nursing and business administration. The school is widely recognized for its Art Therapy program, Breen School of Nursing, and teaching certification program.

      The campus is situated approximately 10 miles outside of Cleveland and 30 miles outside of Akron. Ursuline's campus is quite spacious and meticulously landscaped, featuring 12 educational buildings such as the Matthew J. O'Brien Recreation Complex, and the newer [2001] Bishop Anthony M. Pilla Center. The Pilla Center is quintessentially the essence of the Ursuline College Campus, acting as the social catalyst for students to meet and exchange ideas in the confines of a spectacularly engineered building. The main gathering space has a delightful view of the lake, and is two stories high with crystalline glass windows on adjacent sides, and a luminescent stained glass window that faces the main quadrangle. The building provides a space for commuters on the go, as well as resident students and faculty, for a place to converse or grab some sustenance on the way to class. Additionally, the college's Florence O'Donnell Wasmer Gallery is host to changing display of both professional and student artwork exhibits, and remains open for public consumption Tuesday through Sunday in the afternoon. Ursuline College teams participate as a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II. The Arrows are a member of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC), but formerly were a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' now-defunct American Mideast Conference (AMeC) until the 2011-12 season. Women's sports include basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field and volleyball.

      It was followed in 1904 by College of New Rochelle, which is located in New Rochelle, New York. In 1919, the Ursulines founded a university-level liberal arts college for women in London, Ontario, Canada. Currently called Brescia University College (Brescia College at its foundation), it remains the only university-level college for women in Canada and is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario. From 1922 to 1975 the Mary Manse College in Toledo, Ohio, was operated by the Ursulines. It was a women's college until 1971, then was coeducational for its final four years.

      In 1932, the Great Falls Junior College for Women was founded in Great Falls, Montana. Now the University of Great Falls, it has an open admission policy. The Mount Saint Joseph Junior College for Women operated between 1925 and 1950 in Maple Mount, Kentucky, with the Ursulines offering co-educational extension courses at Owensboro. The Ursulines merged their extension courses with Mount Saint Joseph Junior College in 1950, creating the co-educational Brescia University still in operation today.

      In 1966, the Ursulines established in Taiwan what became the Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages. From 1968 to 2003 the Ursuline Order operated Ursula College at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. It is a co-educational residential college for approximately 200 undergraduates. In 2003 the college was sold to the University and was renamed Ursula Hall. The Ursuline tradition has been retained in the Hall's high educational standards, retention of Ursuline symbols and livery, and the observance of St Ursula's day in October. St Ursula's day is celebrated as Ursies Weekend and is a final opportunity to relax and party before final exams are held in early November.

      Secondary education

      Ursuline Academy, Dallas Texas
      Ursuline secondary education schools are found across the United States and other countries. The first school, Ursuline Academy, began in 1727 in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the oldest all-girls school in the country. There is also an Ursuline high school in the Bronx, the Academy of Mount St. Ursula High School, It is the oldest all-girls Catholic high school in New York State. It was founded in 1855. The Ursuline School in New Rochelle, New York is a school for girls in grades 6-12 and is closely affiliated with the nearby Iona Preparatory. Other notable Ursuline secondary schools in the United States include the all-female Ursuline Academy of Dallas in Dallas, Texas and the all-female Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, Delaware.

      Also in Newham, in London, UK, is the all-female girl school St. Angela's, named after the founder of the Ursulines. The sixth form centre of the school allows males while the school does not. The same applies to the Ursuline High School in Wimbledon, which has recently been selected as a Regional Winner- "London Secondary" in the Church School Awards 2011. The Ursuline College, (Westgate-on-Sea), is also part of the order, and is open to male and female students.

      The British philosopher and author Celia Green has written extensively about her time at the Ursuline High School in Ilford, London St. Angela de Merici inspired the Ursuline Sisters to provide young women with an opportunity to achieve their full potential. Throughout their lives, students continue to remain part of the Ursuline community and continue to carry forward the legacy of St. Angela de Merici, by serving their society

      Like their colleges, not all Ursuline secondary schools have remained single-sex. The aforementioned Ursuline Academy in Delaware permits male students in grades 1-3, and Ursuline High School in Youngstown, Ohio, founded in 1905, is fully co-educational. Other Ursuline secondary schools in the United States include Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights, Ohio (founded in 1850); Ursuline Academy in San Antonio, TX (founded 1851 - closed 1992); Ursuline Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio (founded in 1898); St. Ursula Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ursuline Academy in Saint Louis, Missouri (founded in 1848); the Ursuline Academy of Dedham in Dedham, Massachusetts; Ursuline High School in Santa Rosa, California (founded in 1880); Ursuline Academy in Springfield, Illinois (founded 1857), which was coed from 1981 until it closed in 2007; and St. Joseph's Ursuline Academy in Malone, NY (closed in 1977 and was also coed at least from the mid-1960s). There is also an Ursuline secondary school in Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Waterford, Blackrock, Co. Cork and Sligo, Ireland, which have remained fully single sex.

      Ursulines in Europe

      Society of the Sisters of Saint Ursula of the Blessed Virgin

      The Society of the Sisters of Saint Ursula of the Blessed Virgin is a Roman Catholic religious congregation of women founded in 1606 at Döle (then a Spanish possession), France, by the Venerable Anne de Xainctonge (1587-1612). Its aim is twofold: the sanctification of its members by the observance of the vows of religion (simple and perpetual), and the salvation and sanctification of their neighbors. The latter is specially attained by teaching, as well as by works of mercy, spiritual and corporal.


      At a time when the education of girls was more than neglected, Mademoiselle de Xainctonge realized her thought to do for girls what Saint Ignatius had done for boys. This idea was then an unusual one. Anne de Xainctonge may be called a pioneer in the education of girls.


      The classes opened at Dôle, on 16 June, 1606, were public, without distinction of rich or poor, and absolutely free. From Dôle, the institute spread rapidly to France, Switzerland, and Germany. It suffered persecution, but on being driven from one country, the Ursules found children and freedom of teaching in another. During the French Revolution, their houses were closed and the religious compelled to return to the world; as soon as peace was restored, however, they resumed their former life. Mother de Verse reopened the convent at Dôle, , and Mother Roland de Bussy (formerly of Dôle) upon the advice of Father de Clorivière, S.J., and with the blessing of Pius VII (then a prisoner at Fontainebleau), founded a new house at Tours (1814).


      A number of new foundations were made from Tours, until, through the anti-religious laws of 1901, the nuns were expelled and their property confiscated. The mother house of Tours was transferred to Haverloolez-Bruges, Belgium. Foundations were successively made: in New York City, 1901, (branch house, Providence, Rhode Island, 1911; Rome, 1904; Sluis (Holland), 1911. Besides in Belgium, Italy, and the United States of America, the sisters are presently carrying on their work in Switzerland, Germany, and England.

      Formal sanction

      The society was formally approved by a Brief of Innocent X (1648), which was confirmed by Innocent XI (1678). The Constitutions are those of Saint Ignatius as far as they apply to women; the first draft was begun by Mother de Xainctonge, aided by Father Guyon, S.J., rector of the college at Dôle, and was finished in 1623, after her death. These Constitutions were observed until the Revolution, but when the various houses re-opened, the bishops of the different dioceses modified them according to their own views. In 1898, upon request of the religious of Tours, the original Constitutions, revised conformably to the new regulations of the Church for religious institutes, were definitively approved by Leo XIII, and their branch erected as a generalate. In 1902 the words "Of the Blessed Virgin", were added to the title to distinguish the non-cloistered daughters of Anne de Xainctonge from the cloistered daughters of St. Angela.

      The system of teaching employed by the congregation is similar to that of the Jesuits; the plan of studies conforms to the requirements of the Board of Education in each country.


        • The Ursulines". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
        • Emily Clark (ed), Voices from an American Convent: Marie Madeleine Hachard and the New Orleans Ursulines, 1727-1760 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 2007).
        • Q. Mazzonis, "The Impact of Renaissance Gender-Related Notions on the Female Experience of the Sacred: The Case of Angela Merici's Ursulines," in Laurence Lux-Sterritt and Carmen Mangion (eds), Gender, Catholicism and Spirituality: Women and the Roman Catholic Church in Britain and Europe, 1200-1900 (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011),
        • Ursuline College, Pepper Pike Ohio.
        • Usuline Academy New Orleans Louisiana.
        • Ursuline Academy of Dallas Texas.