Founder of the Order of Ursulines
Angela's uncle died when she was twenty years old and she returned to her previous home in Desenzano. Angela believed that better Christian education was needed for young girls; she then dedicated her time teaching girls in her home, which she had converted into a school. She later allegedly had another vision that revealed to her that she was to found an association of women who were to devote their lives to the religious training of young girls. This was a success and she was invited to start another school in the neighboring city, Brescia. She happily accepted this offer.
According to legend, though not substantiated by any extant documentation, in 1524, while traveling to the Holy Land, St Angela Merici became suddenly blind when she was on the island of Crete. Despite this, St Angela continued her journey to the Holy Places and was ostensibly cured of sightlessness upon her return, while praying before a crucifix, at the same place where she was struck with blindness a few weeks before.In 1525, she came to Rome to gain the Indulgences of the Jubilee year. While doing this task, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her virtue and success with her school, invited her to remain in Rome. St Angela disliked notoriety, and she soon returned to Brescia.
On 25 November 1535, St Angela Merici chose twelve women and started the foundation of the "Company of St Ursula" near the Church of St Afra, in a small house in Brescia. On 18 March 1537, she was elected "Mother and Mistress" (Superior) of the order. Three years later, she died on 27 January 1540. Her body was clothed in the habit of a Franciscan tertiary and interred in the Church of St Afra, Brescia.
Saint Angela Merici was beatified in Rome on 30 April 1768, by Pope Clement XIII. She was later canonized on 24 May 1807, by Pope Pius VII.