Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Pope Speaks: On Angela of Foligno



My favorite female mystic...
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Aside from Teresa and Therese of course - oh, and Margaret of Cortona and Catherine of Genoa too.  The Holy Father spoke about the Blessed Angela at the Wednesday audience yesterday.  Angela was a laywoman - and a Franciscan penitent.
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Wednesday audience:
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Continuing his series of teachings on holy women in the Church’s history, the Pope turned to the 13th-century mystic, Blessed Angela of Foligno in his weekly general audience.
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Blessed Angela’s life has much to teach people today, many of whom are “living as if God did not exist,” the Pope said.
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The Holy Father quoted Blessed Angela's words: “However much more you pray, ever more greatly will you be illuminated; however much more you are illuminated, so much more profoundly and intensely will you see the Supreme Good, the supremely good Being; how much more profoundly and intensely you see it, much more will you love it ... Successively you will arrive to the fullness of light, because you will understand not being able to comprehend." - CNA
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Me and Angela.
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In the monastery (novitiate) I was forbidden to read any female mystic - with the exception of Angela of Foligno.  The novice master wanted to detach me from any dependence I may have developed upon female mystical writers, along with accounts of private revelations.  The prohibition included Carmelite spirituality/mysticism.  Father was wisely seeking to ground me according to Cistercian spirituality - although  female Cistercian mystics were likewise prohibited.  After I left the monastery, Father explained to me he believed my friendship with a Carmelite prioress was unhealthy and that the type of piety she was feeding me was unsuitable for a monk, not to mention how inappropriate it was for a prioress of another community to interfere in a novice's formation.  It turned out he was quite right, and I'm grateful for the good formation Father gave me. 
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I'm not sure why Blessed Angela became the exception to his rule - although I think her treatise was probably deemed  'recreational' reading for me at the time.
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Art:  Angela of Foligno in ecstasy.

4 comments:

  1. Thank God for spiritual directors--many times they can see things that we cannot. Even though the spirituality was good--it's not always good for us. My Spiritual Director suggested that I not read "In Imitation of Christ," for he knows I read things too severely. So I gave the book to a friend, her spiritual director told her to read the book.

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  2. Angela - I love her!

    Signed,
    Angie!

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  3. I often wonder: how do we know what kind of spirituality (-ties) is/are right for us? Is it a matter of simply observing the fruits?

    I found it interesting that you told me to stay close to Little Therese. Been thinking about that alot. It's a very personal thing, I suppose, spirituality.

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  4. I love Angela of Foligno.
    What a great saint!
    Thanks, Mr. Terry!

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