St Angela de Merici, Virgin & Foundress; Commemoration St Petronilla, Virgin: Missa “Loquébar de testimóniis”
Angela has the double distinction of founding the first teaching congregation of women in the Church and what is now called a “secular institute” of religious women.
As a young woman, she became a member of the Third Order of Saint Francis, and lived a life of great austerity, wishing, like Saint Francis, to own nothing, not even a bed. Early in life she was appalled at the ignorance among poorer children, whose parents could not or would not teach them the elements of religion. Angela’s charming manner and good looks complemented her natural qualities of leadership. Others joined her in giving regular instruction to the little girls of their neighbourhood.
She was invited to live with a family in Brescia (where, she had been told in a vision, she would one day found a religious community). Her work continued and became well known. She became the centre of a group of people with similar ideals.
She eagerly took the opportunity for a trip to the Holy Land. When they had gotten as far as Crete, she was struck with blindness. Her friends wanted to return home, but she insisted on going through with the pilgrimage, and visited the sacred shrines with as much devotion and enthusiasm as if she had her sight. On the way back, while praying before a crucifix, her sight was restored at the same place where it had been lost.
At 57, she organized a group of 12 girls to help her in catechetical work. Four years later the group had increased to 28. She formed them into the Company of Saint Ursula (patroness of medieval universities and venerated as a leader of women) for the purpose of re-Christianizing family life through solid Christian education of future wives and mothers. The members continued to live at home, had no special habit and took no formal vows, though the early Rule prescribed the practice of virginity, poverty, and obedience. The idea of a teaching congregation of women was new and took time to develop. The community thus existed as a “secular institute” until some years after Angela’s death.
St Petronilla, among the disciples of the apostles in the primitive age of saints this holy virgin shone as a bright star in the Church. She lived when Christians were more solicitous to live well than to write much: they knew how to die for Christ, but did not compile long books in which vanity has often a greater share than charity. Hence no particular account of her actions has been handed down to us. But how eminent her sanctity was we may judge from the lustre by which it was distinguished among apostles, prophets, and martyrs. She is said to have been a daughter of the apostle St. Peter; that St. Peter was married before his vocation to the apostleship we learn from the Gospel. St. Clement of Alexandria assures us that his wife attained to the glory of martyrdom, at which Peter himself encouraged her, bidding her to remember Our Lord. But it seems not certain whether St. Petronilla was more than the spiritual daughter of that apostle. She flourished at Rome, and was buried on the way to Ardea, where in ancient times a cemetery and a church bore her name.
INTROIT Ps 118:46-47
I will speak of Your decrees before kings without being ashamed. And I will delight in Your commands, which I love exceedingly. Ps 118:1 Happy are they whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. I will speak of Your decrees before kings without being ashamed. And I will delight in Your commands, which I love exceedingly.
O God, Who willed that through blessed Angela a new family of holy Virgins should flower in Your Church, grant us through her intercession to lead angelic lives, so that, foregoing all worldly pleasures, we may be found worthy to enjoy eternal happiness. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
For St. Petronilla
Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, that as we rejoice in the festival of blessed Petronilla, Your Virgin, so may we be nourished by the food of her heavenly teaching that we may be enlightened by the fervor of her dedicated holiness. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
LESSON Sir 51:1-8; 5:12
Lesson from the book of Ecclesiasticus: I will give You thanks, O Lord, O King; I will praise You, O God my Saviour! I will make known Your name; for You have preserved my body from destruction, from the scourge of a slanderous tongue, and from lips that went over to falsehood; and in the sight of those who stood by, You have been my helper. And You have delivered me, according to the multitude of the mercy of Your name, from those who did roar, prepared to devour; from the power of those who sought my life, and from the gates of afflictions which compassed me about; from the oppression of the flames which hemmed me in on every side, and in the midst of the fire I was not burnt; from the deep belly of the nether world, and from an unclean tongue, and from lying words, from an unjust king, and from dishonest tongues. My soul shall praise the Lord even to death; because You, O Lord, our God, save those who take refuge in You, and rescue them out of the hands of the nations.
GRADUAL Ps 44:8
You love justice and hate wickedness. V. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 44:15-16 V. Behind her the virgins of her train are brought to the King. They are borne in to You with gladness. Alleluia.
GOSPEL St Matthew 25:1-13.
At that time Jesus spoke this parable to His disciples: “Then will the kingdom of heaven be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom and the bride. Five of them were foolish and five wise. But the five foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, while the wise did take oil in their vessels with the lamps. Then as the bridegroom was long in coming, they all became drowsy and slept. And at midnight a cry arose, ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming, go forth to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ The wise answered, saying, ‘Lest there may not be enough for us and for you, go rather to those who sell it, and buy some for yourselves.’ Now while they were gone to buy it, the bridegroom came; and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Finally there came also the other virgins, who said, ‘Sir, sir, open the door for us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Amen I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
OFFERTORY Ps 44:15-16
Behind her the virgins of her train are brought to the King. They are borne in to You with gladness and joy; they enter the palace of the Lord, the King.
May the sacrificial gifts we offer You, O Lord, as we venerate the memory of blessed Angela, beg forgiveness for our sins and obtain for us the gifts of Your grace. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
For St. Petronilla
May the offering made by Your devoted people be pleasing to You, O Lord, in honor of Your Saints, through whose merits they know they have received help in times of trial. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth!
COMMUNION Ps 118:78, 80
Let the proud be put to shame for oppressing me unjustly; I will meditate on Your precepts, on Your statutes, that I be not put to shame.
Refreshed by heavenly food, we humbly pray You, O Lord, through the prayers and example of blessed Angela that, cleansed of every stain of body and soul, we may be pleasing to You. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
For St. Petronilla
You have filled Your people, O Lord, with sacred gifts; ever comfort us, we beseech You, by the intercession of her whose festival we are celebrating. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.