Who We Are

Who We Are

The Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union, Central Province, are members of a worldwide community whose lives and mission are rooted in the Gospel of Jesus and the spirit of our foundress, St. Angela Merici. We are grounded and empowered by our relationships with God and one another, in prayer and community, seeking always to be a compassionate, reconciling presence of God in our world.

Our lives are enriched and our ministries sustained by relationships with friends old and new. Whether you’re a former student or partner in ministry, already well versed in the Ursuline spirit, or a new friend wanting to learn more about our lives and ministries, we are blessed to have you join us on our journey.

Our Foundress

During the religious conflicts of the 16th century, Angela Merici, a visionary and practical woman living in Brescia, Italy, founded a company of women to renew the church from within. In an age when women had only two options—marriage or the cloister—Angela showed women a new way to dedicate their lives to God in contemplation and service of others.

Angela lived in an era when women had no rights. She witnessed disease, starvation, ignorance, political and ecclesial corruption, and exploitation of the poor and of women—much as we do today. She had no illusions that she could solve all those problems, but she listened carefully to the Holy Spirit and decided to do what she could. On Nov. 25, 1535, this woman in her sixties gathered a company of two dozen young women to live the Gospel among the people and help all women recognize their importance and dignity.

The Holy Spirit was Angela’s life-long guide; listening to God, she became a pilgrim, peacemaker, reconciler and leader. Through her writings, her company, which she placed under the patronage of St. Ursula, was left a permanent and available legacy of her spirit.

Image: Benedetto Pietrogrande, “Angèle Merici”; Peter Kostner, sculptor, 1990. Church of St. Angela, Desenzano

Our History

Taking root in Brescia, Italy in 1535, the Ursulines grew and extended their presence to France, Germany and other parts of Europe. They established a strong identity as educators and founded communities and schools for the education of girls wherever they went. Pioneer educators in North America, they arrived in Quebec in 1639 and New Orleans in 1727.

During the 19th century, more Ursulines arriving from Europe and Canada settled in Missouri, New York, Maine and California, bringing the tradition begun by Angela to new educational endeavors. These new communities of Ursulines grew and spread across the country.

The Ursuline Sisters of the Central Province have ministries in Missouri, Illinois, Louisiana, Texas, Massachusetts and Maine but also serve in many other places. As the needs of the times change, Ursulines continually broaden their ministries to meet society’s needs, reaching beyond geographical boundaries to serve around the world.

Global Community

Ursulines of the Central Province are members of the Roman Union of the Order of St. Ursula, a branch of the spiritual family founded by St. Angela Merici. International and worldwide by nature, the Roman Union comprises more than 1,800 sisters in 37 countries on six continents.

Our internationality gives us first-hand knowledge of our global reality, heightens our commitment to learning about and sharing our understanding of global issues, and collaborating toward a more just and nonviolent world.

The communities in the Roman Union find strength in unity, with a vision that crosses nationalities, cultures and ethnicities.

Leadership

The Ursulines Sisters of the Central Province are led by a provincial leader and two councilors. Our new leadership team, missioned in a prayer ceremony in June 2020, was appointed for a five-year term.

Pictured from left are Sister Jean Hopman, councilor; Sister Peggy Moore, councilor; and Sister Elisa Ryan, provincial.

Strive to be faithful to that to which God has called you.

St. Angela Merici

Be kind and compassionate toward each other.

St. Angela Merici

Live in harmony, united in one heart and one will.

St. Angela Merici