St. Ursula, Society of

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(SU, Official Catholic Directory #4040); a congregation founded in 1606 in Dole, France, by Ven. Anne de xainctonge. From the beginning it was a noncloistered community, one of the first female congregations to combine a contemplative life of prayer with an active life in the work of teaching. Inspired by the Jesuits' educational apostolate, the foundress based her community's constitutions on the Rule of St. Ignatius of Loyola. By 1621 the society of St. Ursula had established itself in eastern France, Switzerland, and Germany. The French Revolution closed the convents in France, but when Napoleon I permitted the reestablishment of religious orders, the society reopened at Dole and at Tours in 1814. Exiled by French anticlerical law in the beginning of the 20th century, the sisters from the motherhouse at Tours established themselves in Belgium, the United States (1902), and Italy. In the United States the sisters are engaged in education, parish ministries and social outreach. The generalate is in St. Cyr-Loire, France. The United States provincialate is in Rhinebeck, New York.

[m. t. breslin/eds.]

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St. Ursula, Society of

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