chapter  2
21 Pages

2 TheCompanyofSt.UrsulainCounter-ReformationItaly Querciolo Mazzonis

Founded by Angela Merici in Brescia in 1535, the Company of St. Ursula is well known for having provided laywomen a devout life in the midst of the world, as an innovative alternative to monasticism. Throughout its history the Company of St. Ursula has taken a variety of institutional forms and offered new religious and social opportunities to women. At the close of the Council of Trent, the Company expanded in northern Italy under the direction of reforming bishops, assuming new educational and charitable aims and a variety of unenclosed living arrangements. Subsequently, it spread to France, where it became a conventual religious order, combining contemplative life, teaching commitment, and missionary spirit. Thereafter, it expanded to the rest of Europe and the New World.1