January 4

St. Angela of Foligno

St. Angela of Foligno

When She Lived

St. Angela of Foligno, also known as Angela di Foligno, lived from 1248 to 1309.

Where She Lived

St. Angela of Foligno was born and spent most of her life in the town of Foligno, which is located in central Italy.

Notable World Events During Her Time

  • The Seventh Crusade (1248-1254): Angela was born during the Seventh Crusade, a series of military campaigns led by King Louis IX of France against the Muslim-controlled Holy Land.
  • The Mongol Empire’s Expansion (13th century): The Mongol Empire, under the leadership of figures like Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan, was expanding across Asia and Eastern Europe during Angela’s lifetime.
  • The Renaissance Emergence (14th-17th centuries): Angela’s life overlapped with the early stages of the Renaissance, a period marked by a revival of art, literature, and learning.
  • The Black Death (1347-1351): Although Angela had passed away before the outbreak of the Black Death, the devastation caused by this pandemic was felt across Europe during her lifetime.

Her Patronage

St. Angela of Foligno is revered as the patron saint of those seeking conversion, spiritual growth, and profound repentance. Her life is a testament to her personal transformation from a worldly existence to a deep spiritual connection with God.

Early Life

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

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

Three years after she had devoted her life to it, St. Frances’ mother died, and after a few months, her husband and children also died. St. Angela began depriving herself of her possessions and lived as a pertinent, devoted priestess and servant. She was in the company of a serving woman known as Masazoula. St. Angela joined the order of St. Francis in 1291, placing herself under the direction of a Franciscan friar named Arnoldo, who would serve as her confessor.

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

St. Angela recorded her conversation history in her book, titled Book of Visions and Instructions. In this book, she dictated an account of her spiritual progress, and this account is known as the Memoriale, which was transcribed by a Latin man known as Brother A. The Memoriale is the first part of the two sections of St. Angela of Foligno’s Liber. The second section, known as Instructions, consists of 36 instructional texts, a note about her death, and an epilogue.

The instructional texts reflect St. Angela’s teachings during that period, and they are rather in a more conventional tone, with differences in vocabulary and an emphasis on memorial. St. Angela emphasized prayer to reach the summit of perfection. She also encouraged prayer if someone wanted to receive divine light. Basically, she emphasized that to achieve anything, one has to pray. She also emphasized reading the book of life.

Brother A started his work with St. Angela in 1292, and he was with her until 1296. During that time, St. Angela completed the higher and more difficult ten stages of attaining perfection; however, these were impossible for him to understand, so he condensed them into seven supplementary stages, whose descriptions take up a large portion of the memorial. The work was completed in 1298, and Cardinal James and eight minor friars gave their approval; however, Brother A revised it in 1299–1300.

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

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

When St. Angela died in 1309, she was surrounded by a community of her disciples, and many people attributed miracles to her. Her whole doctrine was drawn from the Book of Life.


St. Angela was venerated in the Roman Catholic Church, and she was beatified on July 11, 1701, by Pope Clement XI in St. Peter’s Basilica. Her feast day is on the 4th of January for the rest of the world, 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 religious order, 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 were accomplished at her tomb.

Prayer to St. Angela of Foligno

St. Angela, you were born into a wealthy family and 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 forty, you had a vision of St. Francis and turned your life around. Not long after your conversion, your mother, husband, and sons died. You became a Third Order Franciscan and obtained a Franciscan friar for your spiritual director. He wrote at your dictation about the visions you received from God. Your penitential life attracted followers, and you became the leader of a community without enclosures so that the group could perform acts of charity in the surrounding neighborhoods. Towards the end of your life, you saw Jesus, who promised to come for you shortly. You died in your sleep in early January. St. Angela, you led a life of selfishness and sin before making a confession that changed your life forever. Pray that more people may be led to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to receive God’s mercy and healing. St. Angela, you believed in a life spent in penance, prayer, and service to neighbors. Pray that we may devote ourselves to others with 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 Christ through the grace and wisdom of the Gospels. Amen.Amen.  Angela, obtain for me the favor that I seek through the pious exercise of this Novena. Mention your intention(s) here.

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