Angelic Sisters of St. Paul

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The Angelic Sisters of St. Paul (A.S.P.) are a Roman Catholic religious order founded by St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria in Milan in 1535.[1][2] The order is a female branch of uncloistered nuns of the Barnabite order.

History[edit]

Among the many evils that afflicted the church in Zaccaria's time was the ruin caused by heresy and corruption of morals in the convents of the holy virgins. In Milan especially, there was no longer any observance nor religious spirit in the cloisters.[3] The congregation was founded in the sixteenth century (1535) in Milan (Italy), by St. Anthony Maria Zaccaria. Their purpose was to be co-workers with the Barnabite Fathers in bringing about a renewal of faith in a society that had become very worldly.[4]

Zaccaria was at that time spiritual director to the Countess Ludovica Torelli of Guastalla and guardian as well as director to some young girls whom he had, some time before, taken into a house (near St. Ambrose) to keep them from the dangers of the world. Under his guidance, the Countess and her young charges had made rapid progress in virtue. He encouraged the Countess to petition the Sovereign Pontiff for permission to found a new order of nuns. Having received this permission on January 15, 1535, he then bought some property near the parish of St. Eufemia and had it converted to serve as a convent.[3]

During the Community Chapter of October 4, 1536, a novice, Agnes Baldironi, proposed the first name of "Angelic" to express their style of life which was contemplative and active, or "mixed." Even today, the Angelics put before their baptismal name and, until some time ago, before their Religious name, not the name "Sister" but "Angelica," thus the name of each Sister is composed: Angelica Paola Maria, Angelica Antonia Maria.[5]

Zaccaria intended the sisters to teach catechism to women and children, to accompany the Fathers in their missions, to assist the sick in their homes, to visit the hospitals and prisons, and do all such works of charity. In a short time, this new order became so renowned for the virtue of its religious and the great good done by them, that many of the bishops of Lombardy and Venice wished to have it established in their dioceses.[3]

In 1552, by a Papal decree, the Angelic Sisters were asked to become of cloistered life, thus discontinuing their active apostolate.[4]

It was not until 1926 that another Papal decree, dated July 5 (feast of Saint Anthony Maria Zaccaria) authorized the Congregation of the Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul to restore its original purpose of active life. [4]

The Angelic Sisters are serving the Church in Italy, Brazil, Belgium, Democratic Republic of Congo, Spain, Portugal, Kosovo, United States, Albania, Philippines, Chile and recently in Poland, Indonesia, and Rwanda.[6]

References[edit]