Saint Angela of Foligno

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Saint Angela of Foligno

…In Christ Crucified she contemplated the supreme act of love …

Secular Franciscan mystic


Saint Angela of Foglino is thought of by many as one of the greatest mystics in the history of the Church because of her contemplative experiences of the Uncreated Creator. It is said that while walking up to the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi, she experienced such an elevation of soul that she was taken out of herself in such a way that on entering the basilica she suddenly stopped, in front of what is often now called the Angela of Foligno window, as the experience left her and burst into such a grief of soul that the friars were so alarmed by the disturbance she was making that they called her nephew, a friar, to deal with his aunt because she was upsetting the whole place.

In an attempt to understand this experience one might go to the 12th century English mystics who in trying to find a way to give expression to such an experience turned to an old English word saying they were “oned with God.” Blessed Giles of Assisi also used an expression to explain his reptures where he would become totally still and unmoving saying simply “One and one is one.” Yet for all that, Angela of Foligno, tells us such an experience is unsustainable and we must come back to meditation on Christ Crucified, who is the source of all Christian contemplation.

Pope Francis canonized Blessed Angela of Foligno in 2013 by what is called “equivalent canonization”. In equivalent canonization – a procedure described by Pope Benedict XIV in the eighteenth century – the Pope waives the usual judicial process and declares that a Blessed’s liturgical cult is extended to the universal Church. Pope Benedict canonized St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) by equivalent canonization in 2012, and Pope Francis also canonized St. Peter Faber by equivalent canonization in December. 2013.Equivalent canonization, though not frequent, is not rare in the Church. St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus Maria de’ Liguori, Pope Benedict XIV, St Pope John Paul II all held St. Angela of Foligno in high esteem. In the 1940s, various French bishops petitioned the Holy See for her canonization. In 2010 during his general audience on Angela of Foligno Pope Benedict used word “saint” in speaking about this Secular Franciscan “ la vita di santa Angela” and after this he authorised the preparation of the necessary documentation that was completed by Pope Francis.


If you wish to know more about Saint Angela of Foligno, who was called “The Teacher of Theologians” by St Pope John Paul II, please follow the link here.


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