What is the Company of St. Ursula?
We are a group of single lay women, consecrated to Christ in life-long celibacy, who seek to follow the Gospel along the spiritual path of Angela Merici.
What is your mission?
To live deeply our relationship with the God who is love, through Jesus Christ at the center of our lives… to bring this love to others, to be a Gospel presence and to radiate God’s love in our jobs, homes, families, neighborhoods, parishes and civic communities.
What is a ‘Company’?
The word company comes from two Latin words and means “sharing bread,” that is, life. It has a long history of referring to companionship in spiritual groups.
Why Saint Ursula?
Saint Ursula was a leader of women in the early Church. She and her companions were martyred at Cologne, Germany, in about the fourth century. She represents commitment to Christ, courageous witness, and women’s leadership.
Is this a religious community?
What is the difference between this way of life and religious life?
Our life is completely in the world. Each member is financially responsible for herself. There are no established group works or living arrangements. A member lives wherever is suitable for her. Our companionship is based on living the same vocation, following the same Rule (spiritual practices) and gathering regularly in a sisterhood of shared values and spirit.
How do you experience community?
In a spiritual family bound by a common Ursuline vocation and spirit. We gather regularly for prayer and sisterly support. We keep in touch through phone, Skype, email, Facebook…
Is the Company like an association?
No. We are not connected with a religious order. We are not a third order nor a lay association. This is a permanent lay vocation in the Catholic Church, a form of consecrated life. It is a secular institute.
What is a secular institute?
A secular institute is a form of consecrated life in the Catholic Church. Members commit themselves to certain Gospel values called the “evangelical counsels”: consecrated celibacy, poverty, obedience.
How are members supported financially?
Each member is responsible for her own financial support by earning her living.
What is new or innovative about this life?
The Company of St. Ursula was revolutionary in its beginning (1535). It offered an alternative future to women. It was founded by Angela Merici, a lay woman, who composed its Rule of life. The Church approved this Rule in 1546. A lay institute since its foundation, the Company now exists around the world.
Who is Angela Merici?
Saint Angela Merici (ca. 1474-1540) created a way of consecrated life for single lay women. She founded the Company of St. Ursula in 1535 in Brescia, Italy. She composed a Rule, which is a guidebook to this way of life. She composed “Counsels” and a “Testament” to guide the Company’s leaders.
Did you say “celibacy”?”
Consecrated celibacy. Yes.
Consecrated celibacy is a WAY OF LIFE. It is understood as the loving gift of one’s whole self in response to Jesus Christ, who has first loved us. This way of life is supported by deep prayer and by the companionship of other women on the same journey. This celibate love flows outward in service to the world.
What do you DO?
We offer loving service to our world, in the spirit of the Gospel, through occupations and ministries as varied as the women forming the Company. Our times call for special attention to peace, justice, and the integrity of Creation.
Must I leave my job to join the Company?
No. Each member works in her own chosen occupation.
Is there an age requirement?
The 30s and 40s seem to be the best age-range for undertaking this way of life (in Canadian culture). However, we don’t close out the possibility of individual discernment with women a little younger or a little older than that.
How would I explore becoming a member of the Company?
Connect with the Company and other secular institutes worldwide. Explore this form of consecrated life in the Church.
Center of Merician Studies online (Includes Religious Orders and the Secular Institutes)
The Canadian Conference of Secular Institutes (French and English)