Strive for Perfection

Feast Day: March 2

St. Angela of the Cross (1846- 1932) founded the Institute of the Sisters of the Company of the Cross in Seville, Spain, and had established more than 20 convents by the time of her death. Known for her humility, Mother Angela, as she was called, lived a life of contemplative prayer and direct service to the poor. However, this is not to say the road to sainthood was easy for her.

A fervent devotee to the rosary from an early age, St. Angela asked to enter the Discalced Carmelites when she was 19. After she was refused admission due to poor health, she began caring for destitute cholera patients during an epidemic, upon the suggestion of her spiritual director, Father José Torres Padilla.

Three years later, she again tried to enter religious life. She approached the Daughters of Charity in Seville and was admitted, though her health was still poor. Despite the efforts of the sisters to help her improve, her condition remained fragile and she left the order during her novitiate.

Convinced that God had a plan for her life, she made a private vow to live the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience on Nov. 1, 1871. In 1873, St. Angela received her mission. During prayer, she saw an empty cross in front of the cross of Jesus. She relates that she immediately understood that God was asking her to join him on the cross and thereby be “poor with the poor in order to bring them to Christ.” Two years later, she was joined by three other women and the community had its birth.

Our tradition teaches us that the spiritual life consists of “faith seeking understanding.” It is only by our believing first and by our living in conformity to this belief that our understanding can open up through the gift of God’s grace. Being poor in spirit, exercising chastity in all of our relationships, and obeying the commandments of Jesus become the “way” for us to enter more deeply into that communion with God for which we were created.