January 4

St. Angela of Foligno

St. Angela of Foligno

St. Angela of Foligno was born in the Holy Roman Empire town of Folignoin the year 1248 and she died on the 3rd of January in 1309. She wasborn into a wealthy Italian family and married at an early age and hadseveral children. It is reported that during the early stages of herlife, she loved the pleasures of the world.

When she was about 40 years old, she had a vision of St. Francis ofAssisi and she reported that after this vision of St. Frances of Assisi,she recognized the emptiness in her life and she began to live a lifedevoted towards higher perfection. She decided to leave the pleasures ofcomfort and live in penace.

Three years after she had devoted her life, St. Frances’ mother died andafter a few months her husband and children also died. St. Angela begandivesting herself of her possessions and lived as a pertinent devoted toprayer and service. She was in the companionship of one serving womanknown as Masazoula. St. Angela joined the order of St. Francis in 1291placing herself under the direction of a Franciscan friar named Arnoldowho would serve as her confessor.

She was also a Franciscan tertiary who had extensive writings about hermystical revelations hence she is considered as a great medieval mystic.She became known as the Mistress of Theologians because her writingsengendered respect in the Catholic Church. She dedicated her mysticalrevelations to a scribe in the late 13th century.

St Angela recorded her conversation history in her book titled Book ofVisions and Instructions. In this book she dictated an account of herprogress spiritually and this account is known as the Memoriale whichwas transcribed by a Latin man known as Brother A. The Memoriale is thefirst part of the two sections of St. Angela of Foligno’s Liber. Thesecond section known as Instructions composes of 36 instructional texts,a note about her death and an epilogue.

The instructional texts reflect St. Angela’s teachings during thatperiod and they are rather in a more conventional tone and they havedifferences in vocabulary and emphasis on memorial. St Angela emphasizedon prayer to reach the summit of perfection. She also encouraged prayerif someone wants to receive divine light. Basically she emphasized thatto achieve anything, one has to pray. She also emphasized on reading thebook of life

Brother A started his work with St. Angela in 1292 and he was with heruntil 1296 and during that time St. Angela completed the higher and moredifficult ten stages of attaining perfection, however these wereimpossible for him to understand and he condensed them into 7supplementary stages whose description takes up the large portion of theMemorial. The work was completed in 1298 and Cardinal James and eightFriars Minors gave their approval, however, Brother A revised it in 1299to 1300.

Between 1296 and her time of death, her sanctity gathered fame and manywomen and men strove under her direction to advance in Holiness.

Besides her spiritual writings, St. Angela was also known for being thefounder of a religious community that refused to be an enclosedreligious order. This means this religious order did not subscribe toseparating themselves from the rest of the world and had to continuewith her vision of caring for those in need and devoting their lives toworks of charity.

When St. Angela died in 1309 she was surrounded by a community of herdisciples and many people attributed miracles to her. Her whole doctrinewas drawn from the book of life.


St. Angela was venerated in the Roman Catholic Church and she wasbeatified on the 11th of July in 1701 by Pope Clement XI in St Peter’sBasilica. Her feast day is on the 4th of January for the rest of theworld but it is on the 7th of January in the United States of America.

She was canonized in 2013.

Even though the community she founded was not recognized as a religiousorder, St. Angela is honored as a religious individual.

5 Interesting Facts About St. Angela of Foligno

  1. St. Angela’s canonization was an “equipollent canonization”,
    meaning there was no execution of the ordinary judicial process of
  2. St. Angela’s works are usually published under the title II Libro
    della Angela da Foligno.
  3. The differences in tone in St. Angela’s instructional texts can be
    indicative of different writers.
  4. St. Angela told her companions on Christmas 1308 that she would
    die shortly and she died in her sleep on the 3rd of January 1309.
  5. Many miracles attributed to her where accomplished on her tomb

Prayer to St. Angela of Foligno

St. Angela, you were born into a wealthy familyand married at a young age,having several children.You were a very worldly woman,enjoying fine clothes,jewelry, parties, and affairs.However, at the age of fortyyou had a vision of St. Francisand turned your life around.Not long after your conversion,your mother, husband, and sons died.You became a Third Order Franciscanand obtained a Franciscan friarfor your spiritual director.He wrote at your dictationthe visions you received from God.Your penitential life attracted followers,and you became leader of a community without enclosureso that the group could perform acts of charityin the surrounding neighborhoods.Towards the end of your lifeyou saw Jesus who promised to come for you shortly.You died in your sleep in early January.St. Angela, you led a life of selfishnessand sin before making a confessionthat changed your life forever.Pray that more people may be ledto the Sacrament of Reconciliationto receive God’s mercy and healing.St. Angela, you believed in a life spent in penance,prayer, and service to neighbor.Pray that we may devote ourselves to otherswith selfless generosity and out of love for God.St. Angela, you are called a “Teacher to the Theologians”.Intercede for us this day,that we may come to know Christthrough the grace and wisdom of the Gospels.Amen.Saint Angela, obtain for me the favour that I seekthrough the pious exercise of this Novena.Intercede for me before the Throne of Godfor the following favour if it be the Will of God…[Mention your intention(s) here…]

Say 1 [OurFather…]{.ul}Say 1 [HailMary…]{.ul}Say 1 [GloryBe…]{.ul}

St Angela of Foligno,Pray for us.St Angela of Foligno,Pray for us.St Angela of Foligno,Pray for us.