Ledóchowska, Urszula (Ursula), Bl.
LEDÓCHOWSKA, URSZULA (URSULA), BL.
Baptized Julia Maria, founder of the Ursuline Sisters of the Agony of Jesus in Gethsemane; b. April 17, 1865, Loosdorf, Austria (now Lipnica Murowana near Tarnów, Poland); d. May 29, 1939, Rome, Italy. Urszula was born into a privileged family of Count Antonius Kalka-Ledóchowski and his Swiss wife; the sister of Maria Teresa ledÓchowska and Wladimir ledÓchowski, superior general of the Jesuits; and niece of Cardinal Miecyslaw ledÓchowski. Following financial setbacks the family moved to Saint Poelten (1873), where her father died two years later. Urszula founded a congregation of Ursulines, known as the Gray Ursulines, at Pniewy (near Poznán). She shared the benefits of her privileged family life by caring for and teaching young people. In 1907, she left Krakow to work in St. Petersburg, Russia. Three years later she moved the boarding school for Polish girls from St. Petersburg to Karelia, Finland, until she herself left Russia for Scandinavia (1914). After receiving papal approbation from Benedict XV following the war, the Gray Ursulines spread throughout Poland and beyond. Urszula was called to Rome by the Holy See, where she inspired many Catholic institutions. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II, June 20, 1983, at Poznán, Poland.
Feast: May 29.
Bibliography: t. bojarska, W imie trzech krzyzy: opowiesc o Julii Urszuli Ledóchowskiej i jej zgromadzeniu (Warsaw 1981). j. ledÓchowska, Zycie dla innych: blogoslawiona Urszula Ledóchowska (Poznán 1984). Acta Apostolicae Sedis (1987) 1264–68. L'Osservatore Romano, Eng. ed. 27 (1983) 10–11.
[k. i. rabenstein]