Angela of the Cross

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Saint Angela of the Cross

María de los Ángeles Guerrero González, (born 30 January 1846, died 2 March 1932), was a founder of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross, (Instituto de las Hermanas de la Cruz), a Spanish Roman Catholic religious order dedicated to helping the poor and the ill. She was canonised in 2003 as Saint Angela of the Cross (Santa Ángela de la Cruz).

Early life[edit]

Born in Seville, at 5, Plaza de Santa Lucia, she was baptised on 2 February 1846 in the church of Santa Lucia (Seville) and named “Maria of the Angels” (Maria de los Angeles).[1]

The Guerrero Gonzales family was humble. Her father, Francisco Guerrero, was a native of Grazalema who had emigrated to Seville. Her mother, Josefa González was from Seville, a daughter of parents born in Arahal and Zafra. She was one of 14 children, although only 6 reached adulthood.

Both of Angela’s parents worked in a convent of the Friars of the Trinity in Seville, her father as a cook and her mother as a cleaner and seamstress. Her schooling was limited as was typical of young girls of that social class at that time. She took her first communion when she was 8 years old and her confirmation when she was 9. At 12 years of age she went to work in a shoe repair shop to help the family income, and remained there almost continuously until she was 29.

Religious awakening[edit]

Angela’s supervisor at the shoe repair shop was Antonia Maldonado, a devout lady who encouraged her employees to pray together, recite the rosary and read about the lives of saints. Canon José Torres Padilla, a priest born in the Canary Islands but established in Seville with a reputation for holiness, was Antonia’s spiritual guide and Angela was introduced to him when she was 16. He had a major influence on her and became her spiritual director and confessor.[1]

In 1865, at age 19, Angela applied to enter the convent of the Barefoot Carmelites in Santa Cruz. However, her candidacy was denied because of the state of her health. She was advised by Fr. Padilla to start work among the ill, particularly those suffering from cholera, which was rife at that time. Three years later, in 1868 Angela applied again to enter convent life, this time to the Daughters of Charity of Seville and, although still not well, she was accepted. The Sisters in the convent attempted to nurse her to full health but Angela had to finally leave the convent during her novitiate and return to work in the shoe factory. During this time she kept a detailed spiritual diary which revealed the style and life ideals that she felt called to live.[2]

The house which was used for the first community

Founding of The Institute[edit]

On 2 August 1875 Angela (now 29 years old) was joined by three other women, Josefa de la Peña, who was wealthy, and Juana María Castro and Juana Magadán, both from poor families like Angela's.[3] With money from Josefa de la Peña they rented a small room with access to a kitchen in 13 St. Luis Street in Seville and from there they organized a day and night support service for the local poor and ill.[3] In 1877 a second community was founded in Utrera, in the province of Seville and later another in Ayamonte. Fr. Torres died in the same year and his place as director of the institute was taken by Fr José María Alvarez. During her life Angela became known locally as Mother Angela. 23 communities of the Instituto de las Hermanas de la Cruz were eventually founded, mostly around western Andalucia and southern Extremadura.[1]

Death[edit]

Mother Angela of the Cross died in Seville on 2 March 1932 from natural causes aged 86.[1][2] and was entombed in the Sisters of the Cross Convent. Seventy-one years later, on 4 May 2003, her body was transferred to Seville Cathedral as part of the celebration of her sainthood. Her body remained on display for a week in a glass-sided coffin until it was returned to the convent on 11 May.[4]

Canonisation[edit]

As the first step in her canonisation, she was venerated on 12 February 1976 by Pope Paul VI. Mother Angela of the Cross was then beatified on 5 November 1982 by Pope John Paul II in Seville. Finally she was declared a saint on 4 May 2003 by Pope John Paul II in the Plaza de Colon, Madrid.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Ángela de la Cruz Guerrero González (1846-1932), 4 May 2003, biography". Vatican.va. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  2. ^ a b c "Saint Angela of the Cross Guerrero". Saints.SQPN.com. 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  3. ^ a b "Santa Ángela de la Cruz". Hermandades-de-sevilla.org. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  4. ^ "Santa Ángela de la Cruz". Hermandades-de-sevilla.org. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 

External links[edit]