Saint Angela Merici went out and taught many people about God. She is the foundress of one of the first teaching orders, the Ursuline Sisters. The Ursuline Sisters went out and taught in the entire world about Jesus. They were the first group of missionary teaching sisters to come to what would be the Americas. They came to New Orleans before New Orleans was even in the United States, to teach all of these different people. Why there? Because New Orleans was one of the few places that was, at that time, Catholic.
|Saint Angela Merici|
They came, and the sisters were very courageous and very zealous to teach people about God. They knew that whatever they were teaching them, whether it was math or science or religion or whatever, all of it brought them closer to God. Why is that? Because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. So if Jesus is the truth that means that everything that you learn in school, if it is true, then it is from God. Everything. Everything is ordered by God, even mathematics.
Math. What you think about math? 2+2 = 4, 3+2 = 5 and so on. Does 2 + 2 = 4 just because of the laws of mathematics? Or is it because God put order in the world? That order is to help us through our lives. And so who made 2+ 2= 4? God because He made order. He created all things. It is not true because some mathematician or scientist somewhere said it was true. It is true because it reflects the order of God. And that is what the Ursuline sisters found so amazing about teaching. So when they came into this country, they were pretty awesome. These were sisters who really knew their stuff. St. Angela Merici lived hundreds of years before this, but think, what we do now can affect people hundreds of years later when we let God work through us.
|Ursuline Sisters landing in New Orleans|
When these sisters came to New Orleans, they were nuns who wore the whole religious habit from a long the veil all the way down to a very long skirt and long sleeves. They look very beautiful and very regal, but guess what? Do you think you want to be dressed like that in 90 degrees in New Orleans where all the mosquitoes are around? The sisters actually had to be put in cocoons. They were put in a canoe and a covering was put over them and tar was used to light their way so that they could get through the swamps to the places where the schools would be. Thye were all covered like that because so many people died while going there from different diseases from the animals and the bugs. Can you imagine that? If somebody said to you, “Hey! There are some kids that need to be taught some lessons about Jesus, but here is the catch. You are going to be put into a cocoon and floated down the river because you might die from a bug bite.” What would you say? “Uhhh. . . .” It would be a little scary, wouldn’t it?
However, the sisters decided that the people on the other side of the swamp needed Jesus and they needed to learn the truth and so the sisters did it. And that is why these Ursuline sisters were women of great courage. They went where no one else would go so that people would learn the truth, not just in school about mathematics and science but also the greatest truth which is that God loves them.
And so, what lengths are you willing to go to to teach somebody that God loves them? What lengths are you willing to go? Maybe it is standing up for the person who is being picked on. Are you willing to stand up for that person? Even though it might be hard. To say yes, that person is loved by God and I am going to treat them nicely. Or the person that drives you the most crazy. Maybe it is in school. Maybe it is at home, maybe it is a little brother or sister, whoever it is, but they are driving you nuts. Are you willing to go that extra mile and say, “I’m not going to go nuts. I am not going to blow up. I am going to love them and I am going to nice.” Are you willing to go that extra mile? What are you willing to do? St. Angela Merici and all the sisters involved with her were willing to do great things so that other people might love God. What are you going to do today so that others might know God through you? I hope none of you have to be rolled up in a cocoon and floated down a river so that you will not die from a mosquito bite. However, if God called you, would you go? Let us pray for the strength to know when others need us, to to show others God’s love them when we just rather be lazy.
--Father Jacob Meyer