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Angela’vision of leadership

Angela’vision of leadership

God granted Angela an exceptional mission, that of founding and governing the Company of Saint Ursula. What was her vision on leadership? How did she govern herself? This will be our first part. Next, we shall study her counsels on leadership given to the superiors of the Company.

1. Angela’s personal leadership

1. What was Angela’s vision about her personal leadership ?

If we look into her life, the first evidence is her reluctance to accept any responsibility of leadership.

Cozzano tells us that she delayed for a long time the foundation of the Company. She was hesitating and continually putting off that mission; she felt unworthy and incapable of accomplishing this great work of His. According to Cozzano,

Although she was inspired, by Divine inspiration, when she was still young, to found the Company… she never wanted to begin, as long as Jesus Christ had not ordered her to do it, as long as he had not cried out loud in her heart, and pushed and forced her to begin and to found it (Epistola Confortatoria, 963r).

To order, to push, to force are strong words, intended to show how much Christ had to intervene, so that she would finally take the decision to found and govern the Company. Some later biographers and artists, like Pompeio Ghiddi, present Christ’s intervention under the form of an angel beating Angela, so as to compel her to accomplish her mission. Cozzano’s description is less dramatic, but it enables us to see that Angela did not feel like taking up a responsability of leadership, and that only a very strong spiritual experience finally persuaded her to accept it, because Jesus Christ was requesting it of her.

She never loses sight of the fact that she has been called to this office through God’s free choice. In the beginning of the Counsels and the Testament, she calls herself an unworthy servant of Jesus Christ, but she immediately states that this unworthy servant is chosen by Him:

He has been pleased in his eternal wisdom to use me as his instrument for this great work of his, even though for my part I am a most inadequate and useless servant. He has also, in his usual goodness, given and granted me such grace and gift as to be able to govern them according to his will, and to provide for their needs and wants, especially those concerned with directing them and sustaining them in the life for which they have been chosen (T Prol 6-9).

In his immense goodness, he has chosen me to be mother, both alive and dead, of such a noble Company, even though, for my part, I am most unworthy of it ; and having chosen me, he has also given me the grace to be able to govern it according to his will.. (Couns. 3, 4-5).

Angela’vision of leadership

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