Angela of Foligno (1249–1309)

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Angela of Foligno (1249–1309)

Saint and author of Divine Consolation. Born in Umbria in 1249; died in 1309; married with several children. Beatified in 1693.

Angela of Foligno was revered as a woman of exceptional piety, who dictated a work about her life, which came to be called the Divine Consolations of the Blessed Angela of Foligno; her emphasis on true humility and the importance of prayer made her a spiritual inspiration to other holy women, like Saint Teresa of Avila . Born into an affluent Umbrian family, Angela received little education except some religious instruction from her mother. She married young, as was usual, and had several children.

As revealed in her later writings, Angela considered herself self-indulgent and fun-loving as a wife and mother. She enjoyed life and was as kind and generous as her wealthy social position allowed her to be. Though at times she became fearful about her salvation, she did not have the courage to alter her lifestyle.

Early in her adult life, however, death took her husband, her children, and her mother within a short span of time. At this point, Angela's immense grief led her to join the Third Order of Saint Francis, but it would be several years before she found peace by repenting her past and giving up worldliness.

Believing poverty to be the basis for virtue and wisdom, Angela then sold all her property. She and an equally devout companion, Pasqualina , regularly went to visit the poor and the ill to bring comfort to the less fortunate. They also worked in hospitals, washing lepers and consoling the patients. At age 60, Angela of Foligno died. She was beatified in 1693.

Laura York , Anza, California